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Steve Liggett

Tulsa, OK      

Living Arts was organized for the development and presentation of contemporary art in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We are interested in newly evolving ideas, in the creation of art forms, in exploring the relationship of art to other disciplines and fields of knowledge and in sharing its interests with the community by encouraging the public to attend and participate in creative workshops, performances, exhibitions, films, demonstrations of current art, lectures, related educational activities and research.

We consider art as a basic and functional essential to each person’s full development. Living Arts strives to help create an environment in which art may thrive. We are aware, informed and actively participate in cultural history-in-the-making.

Living Arts sends out a “Call for Proposals” annually and accepts proposals from local and national communities at large. Proposals from the community are presented by the Artistic Director to the Myers Gallery, Performance, New Music, Video, Education, New Genre Festival and Day of the Dead Committees, who then decide what they wish to present the following season.

Living Arts is a nonprofit and open organization, encouraging the involvement of any person. Our facilities provide barrier-free accessibility to the public with handicapped facilities. Living Arts does not discriminate in any way and takes an active stance on anti-racism and LGBT-friendship by providing programs which build “cultural bridges” between differing communities in Tulsa such as: Women in Video, Día de los Muertos Arts Festival, Issues of Race, Voices of Whole People and Drawing on Memories and many others.

Living Arts of Tulsa is the longest continuously run non-profit contemporary arts organization in Oklahoma. Formed in 1969 by a group of differing disciplined artists, among them Chuck Tomlins, Virginia Myers, Carl Coker and Max Mitchell. The group was incorporated in 1970 and received its non-profit status in 1976 with a mission of the “development and presentation of contemporary art forms” with specific definitions for each of these words.

On September 26, 1969, Tulsa Urban Renewal allowed Living Arts to create the original “Living Arts Center” in the old Dedmon Furniture Store, 124 S. Main Street, on a month-to-month basis. After the closing of the original “Living Arts Center”, Virginia Myers led the group from 1970 to 1990. Under her leadership, many important artists came to Tulsa (John Cage, Philip Glass, Joan Jonas, Robert Bly, Pauline Oliveros, Deborah Hay, Meredith Monk among the many greats) and many local artists were given opportunities to present their work, especially in the areas of New Music and Poetry. The group was housed in many locations during this time.

When Virginia passed away in 1991, the Board made Steve Liggett Artistic Director and in 2008 Steve Liggett became the first full-time employee.

In 2005, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts made a site visit and invited us to apply to them for a programming grant. Living Arts was the first in Oklahoma to receive such a grant and subsequently this led to a capacity building grant which helped Living Arts grow dramatically. In 2008 we were made Partners of the National Performance Network.

Living Arts is one of the few homes for new music artists as they route between Kansas City, St. Louis, Dallas and Denver. Its success as a regional hub for new arts is what drew the Warhol Foundation. Living Arts includes new music in all its youth arts education programs in its facilities and in its residencies in schools. It’s the only organization in Tulsa that teaches students to present interdisciplinary arts. 

Among Living Arts other new music programs are: OK Electric, Vox Novus (voxnovus.com), a young composers concert, and new music collaborations within its eMerge Dance Festival. 


New Music event at Living Arts.

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