$100 million arts center to open at OSU in October

STILLWATER, Okla. – The McKnight Center is two and a half years in the making right on the campus of Oklahoma State University. It will open this fall in October and the executive director promises to bring world-class entertainment.

Oklahoma native and Tony Award-winner Kelli O`Hara and the New York Philharmonic will kick off the opening of the McKnight Center on October 11.

It’s a facility that took two-and-a-half years to build.

“Everything is kind of designed to compel you forward, which I think is really fascinating,” Executive Director of The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts at Oklahoma State University Mark Blakeman said.

The performance hall holds 1,100 seats making every performance an intimate experience.

“From a production standpoint, we can accommodate very large, complex production, but we get to do it in a very intimate environment,” Blakeman said.

The outdoor plaza will be able to simulcast what is going on inside the center onto this 32-foot screen for free.

“It’s an incredible bridge to the community that is an entry point for people to get a taste of what it is that we do on a regular basis,” Blakeman said.

Mark Blakeman came to Stillwater from Nashville to run the center.

He says the program endowment from the McKnight family is what gives the Stillwater venue an edge over the rest.

“The New York Philharmonic would not normally come to a community of 50,000 people and present 20 different events,” Blakeman said.

It promises to become a powerful recruitment tool, recruiting future cowboys with a passion for the arts.

“I know that this was part of President Hargis’ long term strategy to strengthen the brand of OSU by really elevating the arts and cultural offerings we have here on campus,” Blakeman said.

They also have a Cirque Du Soleil show, Christmas concert and classical musicians coming this season.

If you want more information, visit the McKnight Center’s website.

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