Archive for May, 2011
On June 16th, we will honor Bill Ross and son Bob Ross as our 2011 Urban Pioneers. As many know, their involvement in the community through the Inasmuch Foundation and the numerous organizations they work with personally has been so instrumental to the growth of our city on so many levels–education, health, the arts, beautification and so much more. We honor the Ross Family for their commitment to our inner city and the projects they have empowered to progress and strengthen the inner core.
Born and raised in Oklahoma City, William J. Ross attended Rosary Grade School and graduated from Classen High School in 1948. His childhood home, built by his grandparents in 1908 is located on the corner of 16th and Blackwelder Ave, just across the way from the New State Ice House building, now Velvet Monkey Salon. Bill spent his youth growing up on the 16th Street Plaza District. His family used the nearby businesses–the cleaners, bakery, and movie theatre at the Plaza Theatre for their needs, as the bustling commercial district served the end of the trolley line and the growing neighborhoods around it.
Decades later, the neighborhood began its decline in the 1980s, and after years blight, crime, and neglect, neighbors around the area stepped up to start it’s revitalization. The Plaza District Association began working with the City of Oklahoma City, community leaders and volunteers and progress began as City Councilwoman Ann Simank helped the area gain the beautiful streetscape now spanning NW 16th Street. The association and city leaders also began working with Lyric Theatre, who purchased the dilapidated Plaza Theatre, a neighboring building and the old Humpty Dumpty grocery on the corner of NW 16th and Indiana. The capitol campaign for the entire project including the theatre, administration offices and the Thelma Gaylord Academy building resulted as they successfully raised 10 million for the renovations and an
endowment fund. During this campaign, Bill Ross and Bob Ross returned to the neighborhood, run down, dangerous and falling apart–yet saw the vision for theatre, and the neighborhood.
Thankfully, the Inasmuch Foundation’s support of Lyric Theatre at the Plaza was vital, and instrumental for the Plaza District. Though an effort of many, their support fueled the growth of the neighborhood and we are becoming the Plaza District of today thanks to their vision and commitment.
Four years ago, Jeff Struble purchased the Ross Family home and fully renovated it as a mixed use space in the Plaza District. Struble, the Plaza District Association board member and the Plaza District Association offices moved in to the house for offices. We invited the Ross family to tour the home shortly after. The entire family–children, grandchildren and all visited and recalled stories of the old neighborhood to us. It was my first few months in my position with the district, and it was truly inspiring to be there, really seeing how the neighborhood has come back full circle. Today, as I work on plans for the Urban Pioneer Awards, I am even more inspired by the widespread good they have brought to this city. It’s just amazing.
Please view these photos sent to us by Bill Ross, including childhood photos of the home and new photos from their last visit. We are thrilled to name these two to our significant list of Urban Pioneer Awards honorees including Tom McDaniel, Lou Kerr, Meg Salyer, Ann Simank, Mark Funk, Mike Turpen and Steve Mason.
This morning started out pretty stressful. Drowning in a sea of email from the weekend, coordinating plans for LIVE on the Plaza, scheduling meetings, working for our awards luncheon coming up in June, and trying to make my list of what HAS to get done this week. I was thinking, it’s Monday at 11 am and I’m already behind…and the stress set in.
Then I noticed MIDWESTMEDIA, one of our creative businesses, had posted the video for their upcoming show this Friday. For the last year or so, MIDWESTMEDIA has created @1614, OKC’s own Art 21–beautifully filming local Oklahoma City artists from all backgrounds and points in their career, then showing their work in a reception during LIVE on the Plaza. This month, @1614 featured artist Juuri and it is a beautiful film for beautiful work.
During this film, I was just overcome with the talent we have in this district. Talented videographers, designers, visual artists, performers, business owners all emerging and some established. As Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots plays in the background, I think of DNA, Collected Thread and I’s usual afternoon Chinese Checker break when Wayne Coyne, our neighbor, frequently stops by to say hello. Its amazing how we all come together and I am so thankful to be a part of it. There will always be a stack of work on my desk, but I’m never too busy to stop and appreciate our district…and take the time to tell you all about it too.
Velvet Monkey Salon Monkey Shines: 2nd Anniversary Fashion Show & Art Extravaganza
DNAgalleries: Featured Artist Tessa Raven
Saints Restaurant & Pub: Soft Opening
Midwest Media & Marketing @1614: JUURI Rowlands Artist Reception,
Chaparney: Featured Artist Don Narcomey, live music Howard Brady and the Rexall Rangers
Cafe Evoke / 1708: Live music by Black Fisher, 8pm
Everything Goes Dance Studio: Do the CHa CHa Slide Dance Class. $2 all ages
Coffys Café: open mic
Convergence: local artwork and SCAVENGE family friendly scavenger hunt
Bad Grannys Bazaar: live music by Ofedelis with Ali Harter and Ryan Lawson, 8pm
No Regrets Tattoo: live music by Baron Von Swagger and Rude Amps
Matt Joseff Studio: Grand Opening
Wildflower: Featured Artist: Gina McKinnis
Open house: Gallery 1612, Collected Thread, Warpaint Clothing, Paula & Co, PhotoArt Studios, Curiouser & Curiouser, Lyric Theatre
Outdoor Artist Market
Dog Rescue Corner
Big Truck Tacos, Kona Ice, Atomic Dogs
LIVE on the Plaza is proudly sponsored by:
Lots of room for celebration at LIVE on the Plaza this month! Velvet Monkey Salon is celebrating the 2nd anniversary for the Plaza location; the historic New State Ice Company factory built in 1927. Each stylist is featuring a collection of hairstyles & fashion wear on 3 to 7 models. DJ c.hill and his musical stylings, along with art and jewelry on display from local artisans will fill out the evening truly making this affair a fashion and art extravaganza. In 2009, the original Velvet Monkey Salon & Vintage Boutique moved from its location on NW 23rd Street to the Plaza District after two arduous years of renovations. “People called it the White Elephant of the Plaza District just because of all the repairs needed just to make it a functional and livable space.” says Estrella Evans, owner and resident, “No one wanted to buy this building because it was going to be such a big project.” Never one to shy away from a challenge, Evans forges ahead purchasing the building in 2007 and transforming 3700 square feet of this historic monolith into a funky and eclectic salon, vintage boutique and loft-style living quarters. Monkey Shines is a celebration of this revitalization. Come out and celebrate!
Come out and celebrate! Cause for more celebration, why yes! Saints Restaurant & Pub will celebrate their soft opening in the Plaza District during LIVE. The menu is comprised of traditional Irish cuisine with a fresh and healthier approach. You will see items such as, Ireland’s baked version of fish and chips, features a corn meal batter, or Baked white fish with roasted fingerling potatoes. “We have a simple menu with nightly dinner and casserole specials,” Ireland said. “We will also be serving a late night menu until midnight Tuesday through Sunday.” In addition to great food, Saints will be home to a full bar comprised of fine cocktails, beers and wine. Live Music from 8-10pm by Local musician Clinton Avery Tharp, from The Grown Up’s followed by Brother Bear! Stop by and welcome Saints to the Plaza District!
For the family, Convergence will host the Plaza Districts’ first SCAVENGE! On the Plaza, a family-friendly photo scavenger hunt. There will be a list of photos to take and the best photographer of the evening will get a free Keep It Local card. Photos can be taken with a phone, digital camera or any device that can upload pictures. Stop by Convergence to get all the info of what to take and how to send them in. Families can also enjoy learning the Cha-cha slide together at Everything Goes Dance at 6pm!
In addition to all the anniversary, grand opening and family fun, the Plaza District will host the usual assortment of live music, featured artists, outdoor arts market and more!
more info: 405.367.9403 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Wow, what a great Plant the Plaza we had. So many people to thank for helping us get fresh, clean and green!
RED Dirt Plants- Provided all the fabulous plants! Thank You! Red Dirt Plants is a local, wholesale greenhouse providing plants to many of the places you shop– Farmers Market, Ace Hardware and more. Keep an eye our for them!
Lowe’s-provided soil, and even when we ran out a Lowe’s employee (Thanks Mel!) ran over to get more soil for us!
Home Depot-provided most of the mulch!
Quik Print on NW 23rd provided printing of our posters (and the donation came after an error on Plaza mom’s part…thanks for saving the day Quik Print!)
Cafe Evoke Catering hosted a full coffee bar for our awesome volunteers, and home base for our volunteers as well! Thank you!
More thanks to Susan Hogan, Stephen Kovash, Kelli Epperson and Kelsey Karper for donations!
Schwab Meat Co provided hot dogs for our volunteers
and a HUGE thanks goes out to Lora Newton, who led the Plant the Plaza committee, organized volunteers, rounded up materials, picked up donations and so much more. This would not have been possible with you Lora, thank you!!
More thanks to our awesome volunteers who actually did Plant the Plaza! You guys are awesome! Thank you! Please check out our Plant the Plaza album on Facebook!