A green to envy
On the verge: A fresh look at developments, news and issues facing Tulsa
Brady Park stage canopy
For well over a year, I’ve reported several times on the progress being made by the George Kaiser Family Foundation and others to transform the Brady District.
As we enter fall 2012, the renderings become real. Nowhere is this change more visible than the recently christened Guthrie Green, a new public space officially opening Sept. 7-9. Filling one square block between Brady and Cameron streets and Boston and Cincinnati avenues, the Green is comprised of a performance stage, usable green space, splash pads, a pavilion and a new restaurant concept from the popular Cherry Street eatery, Lucky’s.
Sorely needed for years, the Guthrie Green has the chance to fill a need no other park or public space — save, perhaps, certain stretches of River Parks — in Tulsa can deliver.
Woodward Park is beautiful, no doubt about it. But outside of senior pictures and weddings, how much time does the average Tulsan spend just hanging out there? My guess is not much.
LaFortune Park? Perfect for those endorphin-addicted souls that need to be active through golf, walking, running, etc. But where can you go if you just want to … be? You can run down the list of parks and public spaces in and around this city and never find anything close to what the Guthrie Green aspires to become.
Surrounded by (meaning walkable) local eateries, bars, ONEOK Field, and the variety of arts organizations currently in or coming soon to the former Mathews Warehouse (The University of Tulsa/Gilcrease, the Philbrook Museum of Art, Brady Craft Alliance and the Woody Guthrie Archives), this patch of land is the social sun in the center of the Brady universe. It both absorbs and reflects the goals, dreams and hopes of the city and the district that deserve it so.
With state-of-the-art audio-visual capabilities, the Guthrie Green will be alive with performances and activity throughout most of the year, weather permitting. In several strategic partnerships with the Tulsa Performing Arts Center Trust, Tulsa Roots Music and others, the Green will be rocking and rolling from the get-go.
When I heard opening weekend would include a performance by the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” with fireworks, it all seemed like a perfect fit. This deserves bombast. Bring on the pomp and circumstance.
One of the stipulations laid out by the GKFF in regard to events in the park: they must be free. Yes, that’s right, FREE! No barriers, no reason to stay on the couch or not make that drive from south Tulsa.
“We really wanted to make the Green accessible for everyone,” says Aaron Miller, GKFF program fellow.
It’s easy to gush about the foundation and the work it does in our city. But without the willingness and the participation of the best and brightest Tulsa has to offer, the Guthrie Green would still be an ugly lot filled with 18-wheelers.
My point? This place is ours. And all we really have to do to show our appreciation is enjoy ourselves. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.