TULSA — The Tulsa Performing Arts Center is keeping the arts alive in Tulsa as the building stays dark.
As many businesses try to figure out reopening plans, the entertainment industry will most likely be the last to get back in business. That means large venues like the BOK Center, Cain's Ballroom, and the Tulsa Performing Arts Center will not have a steady stream of new revenue for the foreseeable future.
But that doesn't mean the arts are dead. In fact, the Tulsa PAC is finding a way to keep the arts alive.
CEO Mark Frie said, "You could be looking at another year before things get back to normal. In the meantime, we're just going to get creative in how we can keep the arts alive."
The thousands of what would be consistently sold-out seats inside the performing arts center have sat empty since March 15.
Frie admitted, "I just felt like enough time had gone by. We've got to get back to celebrating the arts but do so in as safe a way as possible."
So, Frie is moving what would normally happen indoors to the outdoors in the Williams Green area next to the PAC.
"What we're doing is a combination of working with our community partners like Tulsa Opera, Tulsa Symphony, Theatre Tulsa. They're going to have their own night during this Arts in the Air concert series," Frie explained.
The PAC has also booked statewide and regional bands and acts, like Branjae and the Fabulous Mid Life Crisis Band, to bring the arts back to life downtown.
Frie said, "There is something about a shared experience that you can't recreate through a TV. Bringing people downtown and bringing them for a cultural event, it helps every restaurant down here . . . Throughout history, you look at the economic impact the arts has on the community beyond what it does in a cultural way, it's just time for us to try something."
The free "Arts in the Air" concert series starts Friday, September 11 and lasts through mid-November. It is donation based, and masks and social distancing will be required.
Frie said the PAC will slowly start moving to indoor events in late November with reduced capacity and sanitation protocols.
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