The message of the annual Fall Arts Luncheon on Tuesday was simple – the link between the business and art communities of Norman should be celebrated.
Several businesses and local arts group gathered at the Studio of the Sooner Theatre at 110 E Main St. to honor individuals and groups in the community who have succeeded in the areas of the arts. The luncheon, hosted by the Norman Chamber every fall, looks to celebrate the positive impact the arts have had on local businesses and the community in Norman.
The Norman Arts Council presented four awards are the event: The Norman Veterans Center won the award for Nonprofit in the Arts, Nancy McClellan won the Special Recognition Award, Little Guys Movers won the Business in the Arts award, and Brandon Kistler won the Business Person in the Arts award.
McClellan, who was recognized for her dedication to the arts in Norman, served as a director for the Firehouse Art Center and played an integral part in forming The Depot on 200 S Jones Ave. The Depot hosts the Summer Breeze and Winter Wind concerts, among other art-related endeavors in the community.
“I am so honored to receive this award,” McClellan said during her acceptance speech. “I have been fortunate to be a part of several art-related projects in Norman, and I couldn't have done it without the support of the community.”
The Norman Chamber of Commerce presented two awards at the ceremony: Douglas Shaw Elder received the Artist Making a Difference award, and local organization Jazz in June won the Arts Organization award.
Elder, who has served as the director of the FireHouse Art Center since 2007, created what he calls “Love Bombs” to help spread art and love around Norman, the state and the country. Love Bombs consists of a small animal made out of foil that is glued onto a card with positive hashtags such as #BeKind and #PayitForward. Elder creates different Love Bombs and leaves them in restaurants, stores and other places he visits.
At the luncheon, he left duck-versions of Love Bombs on every table.
“I really feel this is how we make a better world,” Elder said. “Let's be kind, let's pay it forward and let's spread art all throughout or community and our world.”
Scott Martin, president and CEO of Norman Chamber, said the annual luncheon is a great opportunity every year to honor Norman artists and their contributions to the community.
“I'm very pleased that the business community can partner with the arts community to help emphasize and promote them,” Martin said. “Together, we all win. We certainly win economically, but it also enriches our lives. It's fantastic that we can take a moment, sit back and appreciate the creativity and inspiration that the art community gives us.”
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