Michelle and Clark Wiens to be honored by OCCJ
Circle Cinema creators will be recognized at the upcoming Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice’s 60th annual awards dinner.
With a shared vision for arts, culture and social justice, Michelle and Clark Wiens have left a mark on their city. That mark includes the creation of the Circle Cinema and involvement in myriad arts organizations.
Their commitment and the theater’s mission will be recognized at the upcoming Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice’s 60th annual awards dinner.
OCCJ President and CEO Moises Echeverria says the couple exemplifies the organization’s mission of respect, understanding and community involvement.
“Rooted in a foundation of mutual respect, our program challenges biases and preconceived notions all of us have developed throughout our lives,” Echieverria says. “Similarly, Circle Cinema brings diverse Tulsans together through the medium of film to expand community consciousness. Their intentional curation of films not only entertains, but challenges us to explore our understanding of the world, and in the process, expands our own humanity to those who are different than us.”
Michelle’s involvement with the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa (now ahha Tulsa) began when she was 15 with a role in the Tulsa Children’s Theatre summer production. A few years later, she worked with Andy and Amy Trumpeter of Blackbird Puppet Theater, its artists-in-residence, presenting traditional and avant-garde puppet shows and studying the art of puppet making. As an adult, she spearheaded Harwelden’s outdoor renovations.
Michelle has interviewed Holocaust survivors for the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation and has helped the Jewish Federation of Tulsa and the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art in Holocaust education and events. She made the films for the museum’s Holocaust exhibit.
“Art is something that I enjoy so much and that continues to enhance my life in so many ways,” Michelle says. “Art becomes a way of life. It is an experience I wish for every child.”
Both Michelle and Clark have been devoted to Circle Cinema’s neighbor, Tulsa Girls Art School. Over the years, the theater has welcomed TGAS artists for special films and events, as well as hosting TGAS exhibits.
Clark co-founded Circle Cinema in 2001 with George Kravis.
“We hope the honor being bestowed on the Circle is in light of our success in bringing community consciousness through film,” Clark says. “We can always do better and we shall.”
Clark, who was a founder of Cedar Creek Lumber Co., is a filmmaker, OCCJ board member, co-founder of Sapulpa Arts and has been involved with Starlight Concerts for 30 years.