The time has come: Downtown Stillwater Cultural District

By Ann Houston, Friends of the Stillwater Community Center, Inc.

We didn’t coin the phrase that links these facilities into a familial unit “Stillwater Cultural District Sisters.” Julie Couch and Shirley Weeks get that credit in a NewsPress article.

And, we didn’t come up with the original idea of how cool and important an official “cultural district” would be for downtown. Our fore- “parents” have been working on this for decades.

But the wheel is beginning to turn for an important area of downtown that is and will become known as Downtown Stillwater Cultural District.

The area, according to several city-backed plans, is comprised of the Sheerar Museum of Stillwater History anchoring on the north, Stillwater Public Library on the south with Stillwater Center for the Arts (formerly MultiArts) and Stillwater Community Center in between, along Duck.

In 1991, then chairman of the Main Street Design Committee David Kulick was quoted in the NewsPress supplement “Outlook 2010:  Looking into the 21st Century.”

Kulick said, “One of the most important and exciting recommendations of the Downtown Plan calls for the creation of a cultural district in the blocks from Seventh to 12th, between Duck and Duncan streets.”

Since then, the cultural aspects of the area continue to progress with Oklahoma State University Museum of Art now located at the old Postal Plaza building on Husband and Hazel Modella Art Gallery on Main Street.

In mid-August, representatives of these anchors decided it was time to meet to discuss the importance of working together to find mutual areas that will enhance the downtown Stillwater cultural experience.

Members of the group are learning about each other’s activities, facilities and events to co-market where possible and begin branding the area with the help of Visit Stillwater – and each other.

Downtown Stillwater is a happening place. The stars are aligned, the time is right for Downtown Stillwater and its Cultural District.


Team Downtown Stillwater Cultural District Speaks


“Modella Gallery enjoys the downtown’s vibrancy and reciprocal effects with each of these groups.”
Valerie Zayat-Bloodgood
Modella Gallery
“The Stillwater Community Center is home to many of the city’s cultural assets. Our hope it to make the arts more prominent and unified in Stillwater, becoming a creative, cultural community.”
Stephanie Kinder, Manager
Stillwater Community Center
“The creation of the Downtown Stillwater Cultural District is one way local organizations can work together for greater community impact. For a small history museum, joint advertising like this is huge.”
Amy Loch, Director
Stillwater History Museum at the Sheerar
“I see the Stillwater Public Library as an integral member of the Downtown Cultural District serving our community’s diverse cultural and informational needs and providing a gathering place that is welcome to all.”
Lynda Reynolds, Director
Stillwater Public Library
“As a cultural group, we can join our voices and welcome many more to become involved in and participate with our many vibrant community-based programs. There is much that our organizations offer that is underwritten by donors and is available at little or no cost.”
Victoria Rowe Berry, Director and Chief Curator
Oklahoma State University Museum of ART
Rebecca Brienen. Director
Stillwater Center for the Arts