These three people will help make Mayfest happen

Tulsa International Mayfest 2019 is May 17-19 in the Tulsa Arts District.



Each year, Tulsa International Mayfest commissions a local artist to create the annual Mayfest poster. Below, from left to right, are festival posters by Paul Davis (2002), John Hammer (2018) and Kim Doner (2019).

Barbara Firey

Heather Pingry

Nick Karlovich

When Firey first volunteered for Mayfest in 1997, she had no idea how life-changing that decision would be. She quickly became one of the festival’s biggest champions, bringing groups of friends to volunteer each year. When the past volunteer coordinator resigned 18 years ago, Firey agreed to replace her.

Over the years, she has built relationships with her volunteers, and counts many of them as personal friends. She has a standing date with one couple to attend a local fundraiser, and even drove another volunteer to a doctor’s appointment last month. Firey says one thing always surprises the other volunteer: finding out Firey is a volunteer, too.

Firey enjoys the way Mayfest brings together such a diverse group of people. “We can all come together to enjoy local and international artists, music and food,” she says.

A happy accident landed Pingry at Mayfest. She graduated in 2002 with a French degree and a business minor, planning to work in the travel industry. But post-9/11 industry changes led her to a new path: event management in downtown Tulsa.

Pingry worked for Downtown Tulsa Unlimited and was involved with Mayfest from 2003-2009. After DTU closed, she was hired as Mayfest executive director in 2009. This year, the festival will experience its biggest change under her tenure: a change of venue.

“The move to the Arts District will allow more space for local artists in addition to the nationally travelling artists,” Pingry says. “Plus, we’ve been able to build partnerships with the other arts organizations in the area to offer more programming,” including Philbrook Museum inking woodcuts and printing them with a 2-ton steamroller. “I see it as a win-win-win for our guests, Mayfest and local arts organizations.”

 

Mayfest is all in the family for Karlovich. His mother volunteered and brought him to the festival while he was growing up. When an opportunity to serve on the board came up in 2010 through Tulsa’s Young Professionals, he thought it sounded like something he would enjoy. He has been volunteering ever since, and was selected to serve as Mayfest chairman this year.

Mayfest provides space for local music and local artists to shine, Karlovich says, and he expects to see even more growth with the new location in the Arts District.

Since Tulsa has been going through its ‘renaissance’ period, the core arts institutions, with the help of the George Kaiser Family Foundation, have been establishing the Arts District as the go-to destination for the arts in Tulsa,” Karlovich says. “It just makes perfect sense to us that Tulsa’s longest-running arts festival be a part of this area.”

 

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August 2019

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Cost: $15

Where:
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Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

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Telephone: 918-585-1234
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Where:
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Telephone: (405) 236-3100
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View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
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More information

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