Red Earth announces move of annual festival, push for statewide movement

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) - Red Earth is hoping to ensure Native American culture is shared statewide.

On Monday, the non-profit announced the move of the annual Red Earth Festival from the Cox Convention Center Downtown to the Grand Event Center at the Grand Casino Hotel and Resort in Shawnee.

It's all part of their mission this year to transform from a single brick and mortar location to numerous off-site offerings.

The news came in a press conference with a number of big announcements, including that the Red Earth Art Center will be moving to the ground floor lobby of BancFirst Tower - of course, after construction is done in 2021.

Now, native dancers, princesses, and artists are preparing for a bigger stage.

"I think it will be good for the visibility of Red Earth, get more people involved, just cultural awareness of Native Americans in Oklahoma," said artist Yonavea Hawkins.

After focusing on their annual Red Earth Festival in Downtown Oklahoma City for nearly four decades, Red Earth announced they're working to share that culture across the state.
State leaders are hoping it will also help tourism.

"Any tourist in America today and internationally is looking for an authentic American experience in America and if you want to see America, you have to see Oklahoma," said Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell.

The Red Earth Festival will move from the Cox Center to the native-owned Grand Event Center at the Grand Casino Hotel & Resort in Shawnee.

Mayor David Holt says Red Earth had to make the decision because they knew the Cox Center won't be around forever.

"Obviously we have other options for them, the state fair, the new convention center and we'll continue to have those conversations," Holt said.

OKC will continue to play host to the Red Earth Parade in October, kicking off the city's Indigenous People's Day and the Red Earth FallFest at the Myriad Botanical Gardens among other events throughout the year.

The Red Earth Youth Art Show and Competition will be held in October during Fall Fest at the Myriad Gardens.

"It's really important to have cultural touchstones here in the city and Red Earth has always provided that," said Mayor David Holt.

Additionally, Red Earth is working on collaborations with tribal and arts organizations in Bartlesville, Tulsa, Wewoka, and Claremore.

"It's kind of like taking Red Earth statewide - imagine that," said Red Earth board member Barby Myers.

Other events include MVSKOKE VOICES, a collaborative art show with the Seminole Nation Museum in Wewoka, running April through mid-June, the Red Earth Spring Market April 18 at the Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore, and a contemporary art exhibition at Tulsa Community College in October.


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