The American Indian Arts and Humanities Project is one of two remaining that will complete Phase I as the anchor in a multiyear, comprehensive "Realizing Great Expectations" capital campaign. That campaign will fully restore and rehabilitate the "Oklahoma College for Women National Historic District" listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The $4.15 million project will restore two historic buildings with interrelated functions - Addams Hall (1939) and the Original Steam Plant (1916, with additions in 1930), the latter now used as the "Art Annex".
Three steps in Phase I already have been completed in the last 48 months: a $2.3 million restoration of the Student Center (1949), a $5.2 million restoration of Sparks Hall (1913), and a $386,000 partial restoration of Senior Hall (1927). We have just completed a $1.1 million restoration of historic Lawson Hall (1935). In conjunction with our historic district rehabilitation efforts, we have also recently finished a privately-financed $13.1 million student apartment complex, the first all-new resident housing since 1939, and an extensive upgrade of our campus heating and cooling infrastructure.
In addition to helping complete Phase I of our "Realizing Great Expectations" capital campaign, The American Indian Arts and Humanities Project is designed to house offices, classrooms, studio and workspace, and overnight apartments for two programs serving both the cultural and educational needs of North American Indians and the citizens of Oklahoma:
Howard Meredith Indian Humanities Center (HMIHC)
The Oklahoma School of Native American Art (OSNAA)
The HMIHC has two functions. First, it will afford the indigenous peoples of North America opportunities to learn about themselves through study and reflection using their own histories, literature, language, oral traditions, and related art forms. Second, and most importantly, it will house a permanent forum for a critical and comparative dialogue between Native American, Western, and other ways of thinking and knowing and forms of expression. This transforming discourse will exist as the basis for formulating integrative educational models relevant to the culturally specific development needs of Native American in Mexico, the United States, and Canada. The HMIHC will further serve to coordinate efforts throughout North America for implementing and sustaining these interdisciplinary teaching-learning models.
The OSNAA addresses the concern of Native American leaders statewide that formal mechanisms are not available in Oklahoma devoted to preserving and teaching traditional and contemporary art forms. Native American arts are inseparably linked to community-based song and dance, oral traditions, literature, and language, and the lively influences of traditional lifestyles. It is imperative, therefore, that native sons and daughters have access to opportunities in Oklahoma to systematically study and use traditional art forms as they creatively define the essence and direction of their own living cultural experiences.
The functions of both the OSNAA and HMIHC rest on a belief that discovery, preservation, and active use of indigenous forms will have a positive and transforming impact on those social and economic conditions affecting Native Americans. The dynamic attributes of a living heritage -- engaged in a lively and rigorous dialogue with Western and world thought -- will kindle the intellectual self-confidence necessary to Native Americans making a powerful social and economic contribution to the larger community in which they live and work.
For more information regarding this project visit - American Indian Arts & Humanities Project