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Community Focus: Making art accessible in Oklahoma City

The Second Annual Anita Martinez Mariachi Festival runs from February 1st through February 10th, 2018. (AMMF)

A big push to make art more accessible to Oklahomans is happening now. Three major organizations come together to celebrate mariachi music, and raise money for the arts.

Financial limitations for Oklahoma schools mean the arts are often less available for students in our state.

The Anita Martinez Mariachi Festival works to bring the arts within reach of children and families in Oklahoma City.

“Many times when you have a big influx of first generation families, like we have here in Oklahoma, there can become a gap between the parents and the children. So, what we need to do is be able to offer opportunities for the children to have culturally relevant education to be able to learn some of those traditions, art forms, to be able to maintain those family ties,” says Robert Ruiz, Scissortail Community Development Corporation President.

The Anita Martinez Mariachi Festival serves as an opportunity to celebrate the Mexican culture, and it's also a Scissortail Community Development Corporation fundraiser to pay for instructors to come into schools, so that children can learn about mariachi music and other performing arts.

This week long event, is put together in conjunction with the newly formed Oklahoma Latino Cultural Center and the Oklahoma Contemporary Art Center.

“Is Oklahoma ready? Are we ready? And the consensus is, yes. I think it is time to speak out,” says Narciso Arguelles, Oklahoma Latino Cultural Center Executive Director,

Corazon is a student art exhibit currently on display at the Oklahoma Contemporary Art Center, and the theme is mariachi. It is another way these groups are making art a more everyday occurrence in the lives of families.

“When we conceptualize art, often we think about it as something that is separate, superfluous, or extra, when in fact I think that art is the true way that human beings express themselves,” says Jeremiah Matthew Davis, Artistic Director for Oklahoma Contemporary Art Center

Saturday, February 10th, the art center will host a family friendly make and take art opportunity.

“We give them the tools, and a lot of our projects can be open ended, so we don't want it to be perfect. We want it to be their perfect,” says Christine Gibson, education manager with Oklahoma Contemporary Art Center

Families will have the chance to make guitars and flower bracelets during this free event.

The make and take and the student are exhibit are both at the same location, so you'll get the opportunity to both see and make art that celebrates mariachi music.

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