A Crowd for Creativity in Tulsa: Summit Founder Pleased with Inaugural Event

Article excerpt

Response to the city's first Tulsa Leadership Summit on Creativity was a pleasant surprise to Rodger Randle, the event's founder and moderator.

The summit analyzed the current state of the creative environment in Tulsa and considered options for how the climate can be further improved in the future.

Randle, a former Tulsa mayor, said news of the summit spread by word-of-mouth. Randle is currently director of the University of Oklahoma's Center for Studies in Democracy and Culture.

"We were surprised at the response," Randle said. "All we did was send out a few emails, asking people to pass it along to those they thought needed to hear it."

Randle and organizers counted on 50 to 60 people attending the first summit. They originally planned to have the event at the Circle Cinema.

"We thought with the topics and having it in the middle of summer that we would do well to have 60 people," Randle said.

Nearly three times that number registered. Organizers moved the event to the Philbrook Museum of Art, where 150 people came to listen to leaders from the arts and business communities discuss the climate for creativity in Tulsa.

Randle has already decided there will be another creativity summit next year.

"This year we focused on the arts, but we need to consider the importance of our creative environment for Tulsa's future," Randle said. "We had broad discussions of exactly where we are - what creative areas we are strong in and areas that are less strong."

In the future, the summit will examine what can be done to make the community more supportive of creativity and diversity, Randle said.

"We need to accept diversity," Randle said. "All the things that make creative people mean they are not like the rest of us. So if a community accepts creativity, it must accept diversity."

Government's role in creativity should be reserved for physical planning and developing areas of the city that stimulate creativity, Randle said. …