Thursday, November 21, 2019

Arts Council OKC Receives National Recognition for the Environmental Protection Strategies

Arts Council OKC (ACOKC) is committed to bringing the arts and community together by providing access to arts to all through free and low-cost programming and events. The largest ACOKC event each year is Festival of the Arts, which brings more than 700,000 people from around the state to the heart of downtown OKC. The festival features 144 artists, 160 musical performances, and over 50 local restaurants and chefs to celebrate the visual, performing and culinary arts.

From its inception in 1967, ACOKC has provided innovative leadership for the arts community in Oklahoma. One of the most notable and challenging manifestations of this innovative spirit is the commitment to stewardship of natural resources and to minimize the environmental impact of the Festival of the Arts. ACOKC conducted extensive research of best practices from major festivals throughout the country and organized a Go Green committee with subject matter experts from local businesses, nonprofits and government agencies. The committee developed a five-year plan in 2009 to create a strategy that would divert as much waste as possible from landfills and set a goal to become a regional leader in environmental stewardship and an example for other organizations to follow.

To carry out this mission, ACOKC supported recommendations from the Go Green committee to require food vendors to only use compostable and recyclable containers for serving. Additionally, a comprehensive waste management plan ensures strict guidelines are followed from production to the last day of the festival. With open entry and exit to the festival, waste stream contamination from outside sources can be a challenge. To avoid excessive mixing of materials, the ACOKC and the Go Green committee dedicate resources to carrying out a communication strategy that involves media outreach, signage, volunteers and public announcements during the festival.

ACOKC has received national recognition for the environmental protection strategies and has shared best practices to numerous event organizers and nonprofit organizations to support similar efforts. ACOKC is proud of the continuing impact their work has had on Oklahoma City and beyond.