Originally the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa, ahha was founded in 1961 to bring arts to the community through innovative programming and to facilitate collaboration amongst the various arts organizations in Tulsa. In 1969, ahha opened its offices in the historic Harwelden Mansion at 2210 South Main along Riverside Drive. Over the years, ahha expanded its partnerships to work collaboratively with eight area school districts, a local health care system, state and regional government agencies, and over 100 member arts and humanities organizations.
In 2012, ahha opened the Hardesty Center in the Tulsa Arts District. The center houses offices, galleries, and classrooms as well as a darkroom, printmaking suite, and artist studios. The center allows ahha to reach the public with programs like First Friday art crawls, Classes & Workshops, and Open Studio Hours. Ahha continues to offer flagship outreach programs including Artists in the Schools, Community Arts Partnerships, and Any Given Child-Tulsa. We also serve artists by providing access to state-of-the-art equipment, exhibition opportunities, and professional development. Last year ahha’s programs reached over 130,000 school children, youth, and adults in the greater Tulsa area.
Federal and state funding for the arts has decreased significantly in recent years, but the need is ever present for high-quality arts programming for children, youth, and adults. Arts and cultural programming are often the first to be cut from school budgets, leading to inequity in arts education access for students. Our programs meet this need, and we partner with other organizations to ensure that everyone in the greater Tulsa area, regardless of socioeconomic status, has access to the arts.
More recently, our mission has compelled us to embark upon exciting new creative initiatives. New program models encourage exploration, learning, and creative problem solving among all visitors as well as provide new opportunities for artists. Creativity isn’t limited to the fine arts, and it’s what drives us forward as an organization.