So I had barely been in Oklahoma City (hereafter referred to as OKC) for 48 hours when I found myself at a TEDx event. TEDxOU Salon was organized by the Oklahoma University (OU) Institute for Quality Communities around the theme of “The City 2.0.” Three presentations showcased regional innovators who are taking steps to make their cities better places to live, work, and play. Incidentally, the event was held at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art in Norman, which one of my former coworkers in Baltimore worked on as an intern. Small world.
Speakers included Allison Bailey and Kristen Vails of Better Block OKC, Michael Mason of This Land Press, and Jase Wilson of Neighbor.ly. Hearing their stories was a great introduction for me into the cross-section of creative placemaking work specific to this part of the country. In my very short time here it is immediately evident that Oklahomans’ unique sense of identity and rich cultural heritage play an important role in the dialogue about the future of this city and the surrounding region.
As an unexpected bonus (beyond, of course, having the opportunity to attend this function in the first place), I was introduced to the Institute for Quality Communities, about which I was previously unaware. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more from them!