Join President Hargis & McKnight Center Director Mark Blakeman for a construction update
After national search, Mark Blakeman, Tucson Symphony president and CEO, chosen to lead The McKnight Center
Artistic residency partnership to include concerts, workshops, masterclasses and lectures by New York Philharmonic musicians, management
Billie and Ross McKnight establish programming endowment, name The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts
The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts will encourage discovery, push educational boundaries and redefine Oklahoma State’s influence in the arts with world-class programming unique to the region. It will be a modern venue for OSU’s talented students, accomplished faculty, and members of the community to enjoy with facilities built for producing world-class talent in mind.
By further building the program fund, we will ensure The McKnight Center’s place as a pre-eminent performing arts center and guarantee the exceptionally talented student musicians, dancers, actors and directors at Oklahoma State University will benefit from interactions with renowned performing arts leaders.
"This is our moment to elevate Oklahoma State University to heights never before imagined, and collectively express our support for this transformational center.”BURNS HARGIS, OSU President
In addition to becoming the home stage for OSU’s outstanding Department of Music, The McKnight Center will host traveling Broadway productions, operas, ballets, choruses, symphonies and more. A traditional season could include classical music productions, a regular pop series, an Oklahoma musicians’ spotlight and more.
The McKnight Center is partnering with top orchestras and other professional music institutions across the country to create once-in-a-lifetime entertainment and masterclass opportunities . Partnerships, including the 2019 artistic residency program with the New York Philharmonic, are made possible by The McKnight Center’s donor-funded programming endowment.
Oklahoma is home to a magnitude of musical superstars. The McKnight Center will celebrate the impressive musical talent from Oklahoma with a special series of programs and performances showcasing artists and music from the state.
The new center will serve as a creative melting pot for Oklahoma State. Theatre and music students will interact with touring artists, attend masterclasses and participate in performances and productions. The center will enrich and enhance all aspects of the Oklahoma State family, attracting students, professors, performers and the art community around the nation together to enjoy and create expressive works of art.
Like any facility, bricks and mortar alone cannot create great programs — people do. And, for decades, the Department of Music has created great programs through rigorous musical education. The long-term vision for The McKnight Center includes a new home for the Department of Music. The new space will allow better collaboration between students and the department’s faculty, which includes several sought-after singers, famous composers and musical theorists who shape the performing arts industry.
"The McKnight Center will elevate students’ musicianship, their playing level, their expectations for themselves and likewise the teacher’s expectations of their students, which I think is fantastic.”BREE AHERN, cello performance graduate
DEMAND FOR THE ARTS AT OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY AND THROUGHOUT THE REGION HAS NEVER BEEN HIGHER. The McKnight Center and its programming will transform the greater Oklahoma State University community by providing a destination for families, friends, children and art lovers to experience world-class entertainment. It will also provide a platform for Oklahoma State and the region to share its artistic talent with the rest of the country, enhancing Oklahoma’s standing in the global arts community.
From families watching performances on the plaza lawn to our most passionate arts supporters dressed in tuxedos and gowns for an opening performance, The McKnight Center will have something for everyone.
More than 50,000 people live in Stillwater when considering both residents and Oklahoma State students. With the addition of The McKnight Center, those who call Stillwater home will be more likely to spend their time and money in town, making companies of all sizes see Stillwater as a community worthy of their business.
The McKnight Center will directly increase recruitment and retention for OSU students, the impressive staff and faculty who teach them and the professionals who choose to plant roots and raise families in Stillwater.
The evolving programming and power of Departments of Music and Theatre will reverberate throughout the community, improving the quality of life and exponentially growing opportunities for everyone.
While the building will forever change the skyline on the southwest side of campus, it will also change the makeup of our welcoming city.
Stillwater and Oklahoma State University are poised to support the center and its programming, which will amplify and energize the community’s existing cultural synergy.
"The McKnight Center will catapult OSU into the international spotlight and will showcase what we already know — Oklahoma State is a treasure of talent and potential.”ROSS MCKNIGHT