W.When we wrote our article “20 Things to Do in Tulsa in 2020” last January, we couldn’t imagine what the year would bring. Some of the items on this list (see “Frozen” in the Tulsa PAC) never came about. Others, like visiting the new Helmerich playground in Tulsa Zoo or the shops at Mother Road Market, we were able to reach safely. And these new attractions are wonderful additions to our city! Despite the pandemic, our community has grown in exciting ways over the past year. Looking ahead, here is a list of key events in Tulsa in 2021.
1. Greenwood Rising
The 1921 centenary of the Tulsa Race Massacre is arguably the most significant local event of 2021, and the opening of Greenwood Rising will be an integral part of the centenary watch. Located in the Greenwood District, this new history center will “honor the legacy of Black Wall Street before and after the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.” Construction should be completed by late spring of this year, according to tulsa2021.org. Visit the website to learn more about the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, how it can support its work, and other ways that the community seeks to observe and learn from this opportunity.
The Greenwood Cultural Center is offering a family study series on the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre in January and February 2021. This weekly series is designed to help parents and caregivers share this event with their children. Follow @GreenwoodCulturalCenter on Facebook for links and updates.
2. Discovery laboratory at the meeting place
If you recently drove past the Gathering Place, you’ve probably seen the progress at the new Discovery Lab location! The new Discovery Lab building will include 20,000 square meters of interactive exhibition and program space. An education center, gift shop and much more will be housed on an additional 30,000 square meters. The new location is scheduled to open at the end of 2021. More information is available here!
3. Release of “Opal’s Greenwood Oasis”
We are very excited about the release of “Opals Greenwood Oasis” this February! This new picture book introduces readers to the Greenwood community just before the Tulsa Race Massacre. Opal’s neighborhood is lively, the residents look out for one another and take care of one another – and it drives the tragedy of the massacre home while being suitable for young readers.
Co-author Quraysh Ali Lansana stated, “We have chosen to highlight the excellence of blacks over blacks’ pain and give children the opportunity to see themselves happy and loved. We decided to end the story shortly before the massacre because we believe the horror and violence was too much for the age group to determine. “
Pre-order this book from The Calliope Group at thecalliopegroup.com/product/opal and read our interview with the authors and illustrators here.
4. Oklahoma Aquarium’s clownfish and jellyfish exhibit
The aquarium unveiled its new 360-degree giant Pacific octopus exhibit last year. In 2021, the Oklahoma Aquarium plans to complete work on its vibrant new clownfish and jellyfish exhibit! Make plans to take your kids to visit all of the “nemos” and fabulous jellies.
5. Route 66 development
Last year we visited the new DECOPOLIS Discovitorium on Route 66. Not only do they carry unique gift items, from science-themed toys to Tulsa memorabilia, the shop design itself is well worth checking out! Owner William the Artist built and painted set pieces and turned the space into an Art Deco Museum, Jurassic Cave, Soda Shoppe … you just have to visit it yourself! Neighboring companies The Sky Gallery and Buck Atoms Cosmic Curios on 66 are also worth a visit.
This year we look forward to developing the train depot at the Route 66 Historical Building. When we visited recently, it looked like construction was progressing well! The depot provides event space and an opportunity to learn more about Route 66.
6. Ahha Tulsa
We asked Ahha Tulsa what was on her radar for the coming year and three things stood out.
Do not miss their exhibition Revisionist future by No Parking Studios (Antonio Andrews) and Alexander Tamahn, due out March 2021. In their work, the artists strive to envision a future in which there is no longer global equality and rooted division. This particular exhibition will draw inspiration from Tulsa’s history and aim to “steer the energies of the past into a more inspiring and just future.” There may also be some fun, interactive elements for children to use.
Next, ahha merged with Mayfest in February 2020 – shortly before the start of the pandemic! We are looking forward to the new ideas that they will bring to the festival this year, which is expected to take place in May 2021.
After all, ahha has some exciting things planned The studio this year. This is a fantastic place for families to create with materials from ahha.
Living Arts has a full line of exhibitions scheduled for the coming year, starting with Project Unity, Hope and Compassion, which opens on January 8th. This exhibit features the painted boards that were installed across downtown Tulsa during last summer’s Trump rally.
Other exhibitions to look forward to are the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Projectwith works selected by the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Project Committee (May 7 – June 19, 2021) and Oh, Tulsa!who have favourited art about Tulsa by Tulsa artists (September 3 – October 8, 2021).
Follow @livingartsoftulsa on Facebook so you don’t miss a thing!
8. Tulsa City-County Library
The Tulsa City-County Library has three major events scheduled for the coming year in addition to all of the daily activities the library offers. Even during the pandemic, the library had virtual stories, zoom book discussions for kids and adults, take-away craft kits, and more. This year they are most excited about the following programs:
Books to treasure
Friday, January 22nd • 7pm to 8pm
Join children’s book illustrator Zachariah OHora for an outdoor conversation live on YouTube that includes an art demonstration and examples of works of art from his childhood! Join OHora here: www.YouTube.com/TulsaLibrary. Funded by the Tulsa Library Trust through a grant from the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation. Visit www.tulsalibrary.org/kids/books-totreasure for more information. For all ages.
Anne V. Zarrow Prize for Young Readers’ Literature
Thursday, May 6th ● 7pm
Place will be announced
Jason Reynolds will receive the Anne V. Zarrow Prize for Young Readers’ Literature in 2021 and will speak about his life and work. Reynolds is the New York Times bestselling writer for All American Boys. the track series, Ghost, Patina, Sunny and Lu; Long way down; For each; and Miles Morales: Spider-Man. He is an American author who writes novels and poetry for young adults and medium-sized audiences, including Ghosts, a finalist for the National Book Award for Youth Literature. The Zarrow Prize officially recognizes a nationally recognized author on behalf of the Tulsa County community who has made significant contributions to literature for young adults. The award, presented by the Tulsa Library Trust, consists of a cash prize of US $ 10,000 and an engraved crystal book. Visit www.tulsalibrary.org/zarrowaward for more details.
2021 summer reading program for all ages
June 1st to July 31st
Visit www.tulsalibrary.org/summer for more details.
9. Tulsa Zoo
The Helmerich Playground at Tulsa Zoo: Behave Like Animals opened quietly towards the end of 2020. He is an incredible addition to our zoo. If you haven’t visited yet, put it on your radar for the New Year. Check out this blog post for a photo tour of the playground. Plus, check out the zoo’s latest additions: Booper, the elephant, Zoe, the giraffe, and Sally the white rhinoceros!
The next big project at Tulsa Zoo will be the African Wilds exhibition, but this project is a little further away.
10. Gilcrease Museum
Phase II of Gilcrea’s exhibition “Weaving History into Art: The Enduring Legacy of Shan Goshorn” opens on January 15th. According to the Gilcrease website, “Goshorn’s hand-woven baskets will encourage the weaving of history into art into engaging, empathetic interactions with difficult situations, such as the loss of native homelands, cultural genocide, violence against native women, and inappropriate cultural appropriation in a non-threatening experience, that promotes an informed dialogue between local and non-local viewers alike. “Don’t miss your chance to see this powerful and thought-provoking exhibition.
During your stay, don’t miss the opportunity to go outside and explore the grounds around the museum.
11. Philbrook Museum
Philbrook is taking a winter break through February 10th to plan for the coming year. In their statement, they write: “Philbrook is taking a winter break to plan and prepare an ambitious list of exhibitions and events in 2021. Virtual and face-to-face participation and the program will restart at the end of February. ”Looking forward to learning more, we recognized the museum’s efforts to ensure the safety of guests while providing fun events for people of all ages.
12. Dismantling racism series
We are excited to continue our series on reducing racism with Quraysh Ali Lansana in 2021. Our discussions so far about the origins of Thanksgiving, diversity and elections, etc. have been meaningful to us at TulsaKids, and we hope for the fellowship as well. Find out here or follow @tulsakidsmagazine on Facebook and Instagram about upcoming events. Many thanks to OSU-Tulsa and Tri City Collective for hosting this series with us.
Which events or new developments are you looking forward to this year?