Brady boom

As development continues to thrive in Tulsa’s core, the once-languishing Brady District has become a hot commodity, poised to house projects ranging from hotels to art galleries to green spaces. Here is the story of how this historic Tulsa neighborhood gained new life.



Current developments in the Brady District include the Marriott Fairfield Inn & Suites, left, and the Mathews Warehouse and Hardesty Arts Center, right.

(page 1 of 3)

Just a decade or so ago, Tulsa’s downtown Brady District was really showing its age. Littered with a few too many shuttered buildings, weed-infested empty lots and the rusting hulks of obsolete factories and vacant warehouses, the general appearance of the district, at least to the casual observer, was one of decay and decline.

Progress seemed to have passed by the Brady District as Tulsa’s urban core depopulated and economic setbacks saw companies leave downtown. Over time, the area became dilapidated, worn out and neglected.

Signs of life, however, clung stubbornly to the area, thanks to a smattering of restaurants and bars as well as some artsy shops and galleries, a few industrial outfits and, of course, landmarks Brady Theater and Cain’s Ballroom. Even as it languished, the Brady District still managed to attract and retain a core of artists and others drawn to a grittier urban lifestyle with a tangible bohemian vibe.

Well, the times are changing — fast. Today, the approximately 27-city-block Brady District is experiencing a boom not seen since Tulsa’s big-oil era. If you haven’t visited the district in a while, you’re likely to be stunned by all the activity. Yes, big stuff is happening here.

Cranes in the air and construction crews — good signs

Just ask Steve Ganzkow. A longtime Brady property owner and developer, Ganzkow was behind one of the Brady District’s first big developments 12 years ago, the conversion of the former Tribune Building into loft apartments. Now he is the proud developer of the recently completed apartment building called The Metro at Brady Arts District. Located on Archer Street next to the Tribune Lofts, the $12 million, five-story Metro has 75 rental units and a pool — all designed for upscale urban dwellers.

Ganzkow, senior vice president of American Residential Group, couldn’t be happier with the district’s recent explosive growth.

Steve Ganzkow“I don’t think there could be a better time,” he says. “A little while back, I was standing on the roof of the Metro and I counted seven cranes in the air. We haven’t seen that many cranes in the air in Tulsa in over 20 years,” he says.

The district’s revival is evident in the new apartment buildings, parks and streetscaping, as well as an ever-growing number of shops and businesses. After the current wave of development is finished, much of it this year, the Brady District will retain much of its original character, thanks to an ongoing allegiance to constructing low red-brick buildings. Yet the differences in both purpose and content — compared to the original area — will be staggering, too.

A rich history worth saving

The early development of the area now known as the Brady District started in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and was all about fulfilling the commercial needs of a cow town that would rapidly transition into an oil-boom city.

Shoe salesman and shopkeeper Wyatt Tate Brady, after whom the area is named, was one of Tulsa’s earliest movers and shakers, and he relentlessly pursued development in the district, including opening the Brady Hotel at East Archer and North Main streets and another building that became Cain’s Ballroom.

Thanks to the Frisco Railroad, the area became an embarkation point for cattle, grain and other agricultural products. Soon mills, lumberyards and feedlots sprang up trackside, as did a host of other businesses to support the buzzing commerce. With the discovery of oil fields nearby, business and industry became even more concentrated and the area thrived for decades.

Eventually, as America became interconnected via interstate freeways, trucking firms settled into the district, supplanting rail transportation to some extent. By the 1960s, however, urban areas such as the Brady began to decline as more people moved away from the city center. By the 1970s and ’80s, attempts at urban renewal saw some old buildings destroyed and interest in meaningful revitalization remained stagnant.

Tulsa attorney and property developer David Sharp was alarmed at what he saw happening to the historic if rundown old district.

“This is my hometown, and I left in the ’60s to go to college and law school, and when I came back in the late ’70s, I realized the old part of downtown was being removed through urban renewal,” he says. “I was stunned that they were buying and tearing down buildings. I knew that if someone didn’t act quickly, then they would all be gone.”

Motivated to preserve Tulsa’s early history, Sharp went on a Brady District buying spree, knowing that any payoff would be years down the road if ever.

“I just decided to buy properties so that urban renewal wouldn’t take them out,” he says. “I hated to see the historic heart of downtown being wiped out.”

Sharp’s large portfolio of Brady District properties came to include the Fox Hotel Building (built in 1906), 201 N. Main St.; the Hercules Engine Co. Building, the building housing Caz’s Chowhouse, 18 E. Brady St., and Club Majestic, 124 N. Boston Ave.; the Main and Boston Street Apartments; and the Robinson Packer Building, 210 N. Main St., now the site of apartment lofts developed by the George Kaiser Family Foundation.

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February 2019

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Cost: $12.50 adult entry

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Cost: $12.50 adult entry

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Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
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1700 NE 63rd Street
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As Lakota artist Oscar Howe wrote in 1958, “There is much more to Indian art than pretty, stylized pictures.” This exhibition highlights this depth and the 20th century American masters who...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

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Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
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Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
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Cost: $45 entry fee for up to 5 images ($5 for each additional image)

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Telephone: +1 212-226-4151
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Winter's Grace Publishing, of northeast Oklahoma, is holding its inaugural Dead of Winter Flash Fiction Contest. It opened January 1 and it closes February 28. It's open to all creative writers...

Cost: $15 per story

Where:
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Sponsor: Winter's Grace Publishing
Telephone: 918-852-6311
Contact Name: C.D. Smart
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Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
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More information

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Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »

More information

Few animals conjure the power and symbolic presence of the North American bison. Whether painted on a tipi or an artist’s canvas, minted on a nickel, or seen grazing in Yellowstone National Park,...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles — both “over there” and on the home front — in helping the Allies win World War I. The American Expeditionary Force (AEF)...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
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View map »

More information

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Cost: $15 per story

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Winter's Grace Publishing
Telephone: 918-852-6311
Contact Name: C.D. Smart
Website »

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Cost: $45 entry fee for up to 5 images ($5 for each additional image)

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530 W 25th St.
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View map »


Sponsor: Agora Gallery
Telephone: +1 212-226-4151
Contact Name: Carolina Carilo
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Few animals conjure the power and symbolic presence of the North American bison. Whether painted on a tipi or an artist’s canvas, minted on a nickel, or seen grazing in Yellowstone National Park,...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »

More information

The Museum’s Dickinson Research Center is home to more than 700,000 photographs, 44,000 books, and perhaps unexpectedly, at least 1,000 horses. Meet some of the herd in Horseplay, the new...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles — both “over there” and on the home front — in helping the Allies win World War I. The American Expeditionary Force (AEF)...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »

More information

As Lakota artist Oscar Howe wrote in 1958, “There is much more to Indian art than pretty, stylized pictures.” This exhibition highlights this depth and the 20th century American masters who...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »

More information

34th Chelsea International Fine Art Competition—Opens on February 5th, 2019   Agora Gallery is pleased to invite artists from across the globe to enter the 34th Annual Chelsea...

Cost: $45 entry fee for up to 5 images ($5 for each additional image)

Where:
Agora Gallery
530 W 25th St.
New York, NY  10001
View map »


Sponsor: Agora Gallery
Telephone: +1 212-226-4151
Contact Name: Carolina Carilo
Website »

More information

Winter's Grace Publishing, of northeast Oklahoma, is holding its inaugural Dead of Winter Flash Fiction Contest. It opened January 1 and it closes February 28. It's open to all creative writers...

Cost: $15 per story

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Winter's Grace Publishing
Telephone: 918-852-6311
Contact Name: C.D. Smart
Website »

More information

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Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa
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The Museum’s Dickinson Research Center is home to more than 700,000 photographs, 44,000 books, and perhaps unexpectedly, at least 1,000 horses. Meet some of the herd in Horseplay, the new...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »

More information

Few animals conjure the power and symbolic presence of the North American bison. Whether painted on a tipi or an artist’s canvas, minted on a nickel, or seen grazing in Yellowstone National Park,...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »

More information

As Lakota artist Oscar Howe wrote in 1958, “There is much more to Indian art than pretty, stylized pictures.” This exhibition highlights this depth and the 20th century American masters who...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles — both “over there” and on the home front — in helping the Allies win World War I. The American Expeditionary Force (AEF)...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »

More information

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34th Chelsea International Fine Art Competition—Opens on February 5th, 2019   Agora Gallery is pleased to invite artists from across the globe to enter the 34th Annual Chelsea...

Cost: $45 entry fee for up to 5 images ($5 for each additional image)

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View map »


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Telephone: +1 212-226-4151
Contact Name: Carolina Carilo
Website »

More information

Winter's Grace Publishing, of northeast Oklahoma, is holding its inaugural Dead of Winter Flash Fiction Contest. It opened January 1 and it closes February 28. It's open to all creative writers...

Cost: $15 per story

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Winter's Grace Publishing
Telephone: 918-852-6311
Contact Name: C.D. Smart
Website »

More information

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Cost: FREE

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Sponsor: Sweets & Cream
Telephone: 918-633-3182
Contact Name: Erik Collins
Website »

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Cost: Free

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Cost: Tipping encouraged

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The Colony
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Website »

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Cost: 150.00

Where:
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Tulsa, OK  74120
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Sponsor: Lindsey House
Telephone: 918-933-5222
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Cost: $50, $75, $100

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More information

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Cost: $25.00 for adults, $22.50 for students & seniors with ID

Where:
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110 E. 2nd St.
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View map »


Sponsor: American Theatre Company
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Contact Name: Meghan Hurley
Website »

More information

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Cost: $1

Where:
Holland Hall Primary School
5666 E. 81 St.
Tulsa, OK  74137
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Sponsor: Holland Hall
Telephone: 918-481-1111
Contact Name: Heather Brasel
Website »

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The Orbit Initiative, produced by The Tulsa Performing Arts Center and Trust, resumes its FREE community satellite adventures at seven local community centers this Saturday, January 12th, and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Various
Various
Tulsa, OK  Various
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Sponsor: The Tulsa Performing Arts Center and Trust
Telephone: 918-596-7119
Contact Name: Jeremy Stevens
Website »

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As Lakota artist Oscar Howe wrote in 1958, “There is much more to Indian art than pretty, stylized pictures.” This exhibition highlights this depth and the 20th century American masters who...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
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Do you and your pup have "cabin fever"? Come out to the Botanic Garden during our "Dog Days of Winter" - Fridays and Saturdays during January and February only when four-legged...

Cost: Free for Garden members & their dogs. Admission + $4 per dog for non-members.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
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Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson

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Men and women from across the American West played critical roles — both “over there” and on the home front — in helping the Allies win World War I. The American Expeditionary Force (AEF)...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
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Few animals conjure the power and symbolic presence of the North American bison. Whether painted on a tipi or an artist’s canvas, minted on a nickel, or seen grazing in Yellowstone National Park,...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
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The Museum’s Dickinson Research Center is home to more than 700,000 photographs, 44,000 books, and perhaps unexpectedly, at least 1,000 horses. Meet some of the herd in Horseplay, the new...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
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Pain Management Class Non-medical Treatments for Pain Non-medical treatments may be used to treat chronic pain, along with pain medicines. They might also be used alone for mild pain or...

Cost: Free and Open to the Public

Where:
Glenpool Library
730 E. 141st Street
Glenpool, OK  74033
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Sponsor: Success Skills
Telephone: 405-401-3519
Contact Name: Ron Watkins

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34th Chelsea International Fine Art Competition—Opens on February 5th, 2019   Agora Gallery is pleased to invite artists from across the globe to enter the 34th Annual Chelsea...

Cost: $45 entry fee for up to 5 images ($5 for each additional image)

Where:
Agora Gallery
530 W 25th St.
New York, NY  10001
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Sponsor: Agora Gallery
Telephone: +1 212-226-4151
Contact Name: Carolina Carilo
Website »

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Winter's Grace Publishing, of northeast Oklahoma, is holding its inaugural Dead of Winter Flash Fiction Contest. It opened January 1 and it closes February 28. It's open to all creative writers...

Cost: $15 per story

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Winter's Grace Publishing
Telephone: 918-852-6311
Contact Name: C.D. Smart
Website »

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Youth members of the six area Boys & Girls Clubs compete for college scholarships in the Annual Youth of the Year competition. The winners are announced at this banquet. Volunteers making a...

Cost: $75

Where:
ORU Global Learning Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
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Sponsor: The Salvation Army
Telephone: 918-587-7801
Contact Name: Samantha Knappen
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Cocktails, dinner and program with live and silent auctions followed by a Casino and dancing.

Cost: $200 per person, sponsorships available

Where:
The Mayo Hotel
115 W. 5th Street
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: Tulsa CASA, Inc.
Telephone: 918-584-2272
Contact Name: Paula McKay
Website »

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Dancing, cocktails, Cajun and jazz...all of the goodies that Mardi Gras has!  Come join New Hope Oklahoma in a night of Mardi Gras fun!  New Hope Oklahoma strives to end generational...

Cost: TBD

Where:
The Bond
608 E 3rd St
Tulsa, OK  74120
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Dancing, cocktails, Cajun and jazz...all of the goodies that Mardi Gras has!  Come join New Hope Oklahoma in a night of Mardi Gras fun! New Hope Oklahoma strives to end generational incarceration,...

Cost: TBD

Where:
The Bond Event Center
608 E 3rd St
Tulsa, OK  74120
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Cocktails, dinner and program;  silent and live auctions followed by a Casino and dancing.

Cost: $200 per person, sponsorships available

Where:
The Mayo Hotel
115 W. 5th Street
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa CASA, Inc.
Telephone: 918-584-2272
Contact Name: Paula McKay
Website »

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Support youth leaders emerging from Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Tulsa. Each candidate is competing for higher education scholarships. Our goal is for youth leader to be a winner and advance with...

Cost: $50 Individual Tickets and Sponsor Levels

Where:
Global Learning Center at ORU
7777 S Lewis Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74171
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Sponsor: The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Tulsa
Telephone: 918-587-7801
Contact Name: Samantha Knappen
Website »

More information

America’s LARGEST interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa Broken Arrow! At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: 59.95

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa- Broken Arrow
420 W Albany St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
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Telephone: 866-496-0535
Contact Name: The Dinner Detective
Website »

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6-10:30 p.m. Southern Hills Country Club, 2636 E. 61st Street. The 2019 Lunar New Year Gala at Southern Hills Country Club will be an elegant evening of candlelight, fine dining, children’s party...

Cost: $150, individual tickets; $1,000-$25,000, sponsorships.

Where:
Southern Hills Country Club
2636 E. 61st Street
Tulsa, OK  74136
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Sponsor: Dillon International
Telephone: 918-748-5613
Contact Name: Marcia Graham
Website »

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COOKING UP COMPASSION FACT SHEET ABOUT THE EVENT:  Long time donors Margo and Kent Dunbar are Honorary Chairs for the event. Now in its fourteenth year, Cooking Up Compassion raises funds for the...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tulsa Ballroom at the Cox Business Center
3rd & Houston
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74135
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Sponsor: Catholic Charities
Telephone: 918-508-7115
Contact Name: Jennifer Allen
Website »

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Winterset is an annual formal event of the Osteopathic Founders Foundation which brings together the osteopathic profession and their community partners to benefit projects which improve the health...

Cost: $300

Where:
Hyatt Regency Tulsa
100 E 2nd St
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: Osteopathic Founders Foundation
Telephone: 918-551-7300
Contact Name: Michele Caine
Website »

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Sunday in the Park with George follows painter Georges Seurat in the months leading up to the completion of his most famous painting, "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte." Consumed...

Cost: $25.00 for adults, $22.50 for students & seniors with ID

Where:
Tulsa Performing Arts Center
110 E. 2nd St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: American Theatre Company
Telephone: (918) 747-9494
Contact Name: Meghan Hurley
Website »

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TULtalk


Art film meets dance at Oklahoma Dance Film Festival

This year's program features more than 20 films from around the world, presented on Sunday at the Central Library.

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2.4: #KnopeLife — Anna America

Anna America took the helm at Tulsa’s Parks and Recreation department in the fall of 2018, but she is certainly no stranger to life in the public eye.

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7 strategies to help you make the A-LIST

The competition is tough for small businesses on our annual readers' choice survey, but a few smart strategies can help you get ahead.

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“Sunday in the Park” is no walk in the park

American Theatre Company prepares for the Oklahoma premiere of the very technically challenging “Sunday in the Park with George,” Feb. 15-24

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2.3: Get that “Woo!” — Tom Basler

A conversation with dueling piano phenom Tom Basler about his many reinventions, both personal and professional.

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