A Labor Day tradition for 37 years, Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC) has announced it is ending Arts Festival Oklahoma due to a variety of factors.
“This was a very tough decision,â€ said OCCC President Jerry Steward. “Arts Festival Oklahoma has provided our community with a wonderful way to enjoy the arts. But with the current economic landscape, we have to focus funding our core mission of learning and teaching, and OCCC’s core mission is the academic enterprise.â€
Multiple factors led college administrators to make the decision. Over the last five years, the festival saw yearly declines in attendance and revenue.
The 2011 festival served 24,198 patrons. The 2015 festival saw only 16,041 patrons, a 34 percent decline. Festival revenues were also in a state of decline. Since its inception, the college has absorbed some of the expense of putting on the festival. But in the last three years, OCCC lost an average of $118,000 per year.
Most pressingly, the state’s unprecedented budget shortfall was one of the biggest factors in the festival cancellation. With a $1.3 billion shortfall at the state level, OCCC has seen midyear cuts totaling almost 10 percent. The college is bracing for the 2017 budget to be reduced significantly.
“As much as we value AFO, we made a difficult, but responsible financial decision that will serve the best interest of our students,â€ said Steward.
OCCC enrolls more than 20,000 students and has more than 90,000 participants in its various community programs annually. OCCC offers a full range of associate degree programs that prepare students to transfer to baccalaureate institutions while other degree and certificate programs prepare students for immediate employment. At OCCC, students receive a quality education with small class sizes, dedicated professors and leadership opportunities. Students can choose from more than 80 major fields of study and participate in any of the 40+ clubs and organizations. For more information about OCCC, visit www.occc.edu.