I attend a lot of festivals in Oklahoma City and it’s interesting how markedly different the crowd is at each one. Today, I attended the Plaza District Festival and was so impressed at how many people from the surrounding neighborhoods seemed to be strolling down the street, especially young families.
(All original photos via JenX67.com)
There is a lot of racial diversity in the neighborhoods surrounding the Plaza District (Gatewood and Classen-Ten-Penn). There are still pockets of urban blight in this area, which is one reason residents banned together more than a decade ago in hopes of bringing renewal and revitalization to the area.
It was absolutely wonderful seeing all the kids getting exposed to the arts. The Oklahoma City Philharmonic was host of the instrument playground, which I loved! Other tents featured mural painting and crafting animals out of tin foil.
The Plaza District Festival has a lot of great attributes. I think it shines brightest as a neighborhood festival for people who might never attend Red Earth, the Oklahoma City Arts Festival, or the Paseo Arts Festival, etc. It’s also home plate for Oklahoma City’s emerging artists. For Generation Y and Z, it’s like an incubator of innovation and possibility.
When I graduated from college 20 years ago, there were no districts like this in which to gather with friends let alone family or your own young children. I can’t remember ever seeing a group of Generation Xers walking down a street in Oklahoma City like Gen Y and Gen Z walked down 16th Street today. Certainly, there were Xers and Boomers at today’s event, but they were outnumbered by younger generations of Oklahomans. The community stands to gain so much from their early exposure to the arts and culture, not to mention the seeded conviction that diversity is something to celebrate and not resist.
What are some of your favorite Oklahoma City festivals or festivals where you live?
This is a photo I took recently of a wonderful “yarn bomb” in the Plaza District. It’s featured in a different post on the Oklahomans for the Arts site.