Each year, more than 250,000 people come to the Tulsa Performing Arts Center to enjoy performances, concerts and exhibits. But there are several in our community who have never had access to this building or the creation of art that happens inside of it. And while 75% of children from moderate- to high-income families in Tulsa are involved in the arts, only 10% of children from low-income families have that advantage. The Orbit Initiative is changing that.
Through this nonprofit organization, we offer a vibrant schedule of free arts classes, seminars and masterclasses throughout Tulsa to ensure everyone in our community has access to the magic experienced by participating in the arts. We also stage ambitious works of theatre to give those who participate in the classes the opportunity to be involved in actual stage productions, which are presented to the public for free.
Each year, this program engages and educates between 250 and 500 community members from our city’s diverse population. In 2019, 2,880 people reserved free tickets to our full-scale production of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” — 67% of those tickets went to low-income families. By inviting members throughout our diverse community to participate in workshops, take classes, attend performances, join in on the creation of ambitious works of theatre and help bring our communities together, we highlight the beauty of both our similarities and differences as our city takes center stage.
The Orbit Initiative is built around the idea that theatre is a place of possibility where the boundaries that separate us from each other in the rest of life can fall away. In essence, it is inviting the whole city to celebrate itself.
Originally conceived by The Public Theater in New York, our program follows their framework and style while adapting to Tulsa’s needs and desires.