Tulsa Girls Art School has new staff, big projects
Adrienne Duffy takes the helm at TGAS for its 11th year.
Adrienne Duffy, left, Tulsa Girls Art School executive director, talks and creates with students at a TGAS summer camp in June.
It’s a balmy weeknight, and creative energy pours from the Tulsa Girls Art School into the streets. Inside, students’ colorful paintings and intricate sketches represent the capstone experience of the program’s recent high school graduates: the TGAS Senior Art Show.
Now in its 11th year, TGAS is an after-school art program that teaches entrepreneurship, fiscal responsibility, art show curation and public-speaking skills. Its 64 students attend Tulsa Public Schools.
TGAS students start the program in the third grade, continuing through their senior year. “We’re probably one of the longest relationships they have,” says Renee Montgomery, program director since 2017. “So the program is not just artistic, it’s social and emotional.”
Maintaining the program’s consistency was especially important when TGAS founder Matt Moffett retired this past year after 10 years as executive director, says his successor, Adrienne Duffy. “We want to maintain the integrity of what Matt built,” says Duffy, who comes from the for-profit world of helping small businesses build infrastructure.
That background will come in handy as TGAS reintroduces its revised capital improvements campaign this fall to fund the renovation and expansion of its current facility at 2202 E. Admiral Blvd. The project will provide a more efficient configuration, including more room for teaching.
Formerly an assistant museum director in Los Angeles, Montgomery moved to Tulsa and gravitated to TGAS first as a volunteer. “I was very impressed by the amazing resources and support for artists in Tulsa,” she says.
This month, as TGAS students begin another academic year, all four recent graduates will start classes at Tulsa Community College. Duffy is confident TGAS has helped prepare them for this new chapter. “What makes the program so successful is that we see a huge impact in the students,” she says.