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NEA Arts Leadership Conference Taps Mark Parker
Mark Parker, dean of the Bass School of Music at Oklahoma City University, has been named to the six-member “dream team” representing the state at the National Endowment for the Arts’ July 15-17 Arts Education Leaders Institute in Chicago. Oklahoma’s arts leaders will meet with multidisciplinary teams from Colorado, Rhode Island, Louisiana, and Michigan to work on strengthening state arts education programs. "By addressing these varied state challenges, we support state arts educators as they participate in the national conversation on public education," said Sarah Cunningham, education director for the NEA. In addition to Parker, team members representing Oklahoma at the NEA institute are Sandy Garrett, state superintendent, and Glen Henry, director of Arts in Education, Oklahoma State Department of Education; Jean Hendrickson, executive director of Oklahoma A+ Schools; Ann Tomlins, fine arts coordinator for Tulsa Public Schools; and Susan McCalmont, executive director of the Kirkpatrick Foundation. Parker specializes in building arts education partnerships between academia, corporations, cultural groups and the community, as well as across international borders. He was the first academic dean in the world to be selected as an Apple Distinguished Educator. He has been recognized in Oklahoma with the Governor’s Arts and Education Award and nationally by Sigma Alpha Iota’s highest honor, National Arts Advocate. Under his leadership, Oklahoma City University’s music school has doubled its size, become an all-Steinway School, and forged partnership agreements with the American Academy of Dramatic Arts of New York and Los Angeles, the Tianjin Conservatory in China, and the Hed School: Israeli College of Contemporary Music in Yehud, Israel. The NEA Education Leaders Institute convenes teams comprised of educators, legislators, policymakers, educators, professional artists, consultants and scholars. Together, these teams will discuss a shared arts education challenge, and jointly create strategies to strengthen their state's arts education policies and programs. The first NEA Education Leaders Institute was held earlier this year with teams from Alaska, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. Oklahoma’s commitment to the arts and creativity was recognized recently by the election of the state as the only U.S. member of the World Creativity Forum. Joining with participants from Belgium to Shanghai to Quebec, the groupaspires to advance creativity and innovation in the world's economy and culture.