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Best of OKC 2019: Arts, Culture & Entertainment 

Best local cover band

My So Called Band

Uncle Zep
Weekend Allstars

Best local original band or singer

Mike Hosty

Kyle Dillingham & Horseshoe Road
Sophia Massad
The Dirty Little Betty’s

Best radio personality or team

Joey and Heather
98.9 KYIS

Lisa and Kent, 92.5 KOMA
Rick and Brad, 100.5 KATT
Shawn Carey, 96.1 KXY
TJ, Janet and JRod, 102.7 KJ103

Best performing arts group

Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
1727 NW 16th St.

Carpenter Square Theatre, 806 W. Main St.
Oklahoma City Ballet, 6800 N. Classen Blvd.
Oklahoma City Philharmonic, 424 Colcord Drive, Suite B
Terre Rouge Burlesque

Best visual artist

  • Photo Alexa Ace

Greg Burns

Greg Burns is a visual artist who grew up in Oklahoma City, attending Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School and University of Oklahoma (OU) before adopting ink drawing and watercolor as a vocation.

Visual art is a very difficult career path in which to make a living. What made you stick it out?
Like most kids, I’ve always drawn. It’s just something that I have always enjoyed. I never really planned on being an artist; it was just something that accidentally happened when I was at OU. I was thinking I was going to be a guidance counselor and use the art as a psychological tool to help children, and then I switched it. I changed from being a psychology major with the art minor to being an art major with a psychology minor. And you know, I never have really had a real job. I’ve fortunately been able to make a living just painting and drawing, what I wanted to do.

How do you choose your subjects, and what is your inspiration?
Mostly photographs, and the reason for that is it takes sitting out and drawing on the site; it gets light and it gets dark, and the light changes all the time. I use photographs for information. I don’t copy the photographs. I use them for the details and to remind me exactly of what I’m doing. It doesn’t have to be a good photograph. It’s just a springboard for me to do something. But I create my own perspective. And I just use the photographs for information. Often, I’ll use 30 or 40 pictures to do a painting, but the pictures have nothing to do with the end result. It’s not a picture of that picture.

How do you begin?
I just sort of get into it. The first line is the most difficult. And then the next line is a little bit easier and the next line is a little bit easier than that until finally you’re finished. The artwork itself takes on sort of a life of its own. When I’m doing something, you go through so many stages. You start from a blank piece of paper, and then you start adding stuff to it, and at certain points, it’s kind of interesting, and I can go any number of different directions. And then at other points, when you get it farther along, it’s kind of the doldrums; you think, ‘Oh, this is kind of getting boring. I’ve got to put 9,000 more leaves on this tree.’ But then it gets exciting again, and then finally when you finish it, there’s a little bit of a letdown because you know you’ve stopped, that you’ve done everything you can. You can’t go any farther. And so it’s a matter of getting another piece of paper and starting the whole process over again.

David Bricquet
Denise Duong
Dylan Bradway
Jason Pawley

Best local annual event or festival

Festival of the Arts
Arts Council Oklahoma City, 500 Couch Drive

Heard on Hurd, 32 N. Broadway Extension, Edmond
Norman Music Festival
Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon
Paseo Arts Festival, 3022 Paseo St.

Best charity event

  • Photo provided

Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon

Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon started 19 years ago to honor the 168 victims of the 1995 Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing. Two Oklahoma businessmen, while on a morning run, outlined the event, according to In its first year in 2001, less than 5,000 participants participated in the Run to Remember. Since then, the marathon has been named among the “12 must-run marathons” by Runner’s World magazine. Today, the marathon annually draws approximately 24,000 runners across six different races. The marathon is also a Boston Marathon-qualifying event on a certified 16.2-mile single-loop course.
In 2018, 24,667 runners participated from all 50 states and 13 countries. Nathan Chamer won his first ever marathon with a 2:33:44 time. Kristen Radcliff, the fastest women’s marathoner, finished the race with a 2:54:52 time.

Other 2018 numbers:
Half marathon finish time — 1:11:09
Fastest women’s half marathoner time — 1:19:03
Relay finish time — 2:42:58
Men’s 5K finish time — 00:18:05
Women’s 5K finish time — 00:22:31

The 2019 Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon was made possible with the help of 4,000 volunteers and 86 sponsors. Of the 24,000 runners, 57 percent were female and 43 percent were male. Again, all 50 states and 13 countries were represented. Dr. David Rhodes, an Integris orthopedic surgeon and father of six, finished the full marathon with a time of 2:39:06. Stephanie Andre, the fastest women’s marathoner, finished at 2:45:07, a new women’s state record.
Gov. Kevin Stitt made history by becoming the first governor to ever run in the marathon. He challenged Oklahomans to form teams to take on Team Stitt in the relay race. The Red Coyote Racing team won the relay with a time of 2:27:57. Team Stitt came in 190th place out of 700 registered teams with a 4:15:58 time.

Other 2019 numbers:
Half marathon time — 1:10:21
9,441 total half marathoners
Fastest women’s half marathon time — 1:20:38
Men’s 5K finish time — 00:17:04
Women’s 5K time — 00:20:00
47,000 people attended Health & Fitness Expo

Next year’s marathon will finish in Scissortail Park. Registration is already open for the 20th OKC Memorial Marathon on April 26, 2020. Visit

Boots & Ball Gowns, Infant Crisis Services
Crown of Beauty Gala, The Dragonfly Home
Hero Awards, Oklahoma Humane Society
Red Tie Night

Best free entertainment

Paseo Arts Festival
3022 Paseo St.

Dust Bowl Dolls
Festival of the Arts, Arts Council Oklahoma City, 500 Couch Drive
Heard on Hurd, 32 N. Broadway Extension, Edmond
Sonic Summer Movies, Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave.

Best bar for live music

VZD’s Restaurant & Bar
4200 N. Western Ave.

51st Street Speakeasy, 1114 NW 51st St.
Blue Note Lounge, 2408 N. Robinson Ave.
JJ’s Alley Bricktown Pub, 212 E. Sheridan Ave.
Saints, 1715 NW 16th St.

Best concert venue

Chesapeake Energy Arena
100 W. Reno Ave.

The Criterion, 500 E. Sheridan Ave.
The Jones Assembly, 901 W. Sheridan Ave.
The Zoo Amphitheatre, 2101 NE 50th St.
Tower Theatre, 425 NW 23rd St.

Best public art/mural

Plaza Walls
16th Street Plaza District

Flamenco by Jonathan Hills, The Paseo Arts District
Life in The Light by Denise Duong, Film Row
New Zealand OKC Thunder player Steven Adams by Graham Hoete, Film Row
The OKC Ring, City Center

Best place to buy local art

  • Photo Alexa Ace

The Paseo Arts District
3022 Paseo St.

The Paseo Arts District is the best place to by local art, executive director Amanda Bleakley said, partially because of all the area businesses that offer something else entirely.

“There’s more than one thing that somebody is going to come to the district for,” Bleakley said. “We want people to come spend time here, walk around, eat at one of the restaurants, go buy art at a gallery, shop at one of the many retail stores … just have that whole experience.”

The many artists whose galleries double as studio space are also key to the district’s success.

“I think what makes Paseo special is that we have so many artists working here during the day,” Bleakley said. “We’re the most concentrated place in Oklahoma that has this much art happening at all times. … It’s just a really great place to be right now. There’s a creative vibe that has continued on from the ’60s, the ’70s, the ’80s. The creativity is still here. I feel like we’ve just grown up. … Everyone is welcome, and there’s a diversity here. I like to think of us as being a cultural hub. You can walk through, and you can you can feel that something special is going on.”

On the first Friday of every month, galleries stay open until 9 p.m. and food, live music and other activities are available “so people can feel comfortable walking into an art gallery and not be intimidated,” Bleakley said.

“There’s never any pressure for anybody to buy anything,” Bleakley said. “I think what the Paseo District is all about is just welcoming people to experience art and be exposed to it. … Artists in their nature are very welcoming and want to show people what the world is about through their art, so there’s not a better way to do that than by having a place where you can hang your work and express what you want to say to the world.”

Galleries and shops offer contemporary art, landscapes, photography, sculpture, stained glass, pottery and more at prices ranging from $10 coffee mugs to paintings that cost thousands of dollars.

“If you’re going to put art in your house or your office or your apartment or whatever, there’s not a better way than to find something that’s an original piece of art from a local artist in Oklahoma,” Bleakley said. “We’re just striving to continue to be the best place to buy art in town. That is something we take very seriously, and we make a point of trying to be a place where people feel comfortable.”

16th Street Plaza District, 1715 NW 16th St.
Artspace at Untitled, 1 NE Third St.
DNA Galleries, 1709 NW 16th St.
Festival of the Arts, Arts Council Oklahoma City, 500 Couch Drive

Best art gallery

DNA Galleries
1709 NW 16th St.

Artspace at Untitled, 1 NE Third St.
Individual Artists of Oklahoma (IAO), 706 W. Sheridan Ave.
JRB Art at the Elms, 2810 N. Walker Ave.
Little D Gallery, 3003 Paseo St.

Best museum

Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St.
Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, 620 N. Harvey Ave.
Sam Noble Museum, 2401 Chautauqua Ave., Norman
Science Museum Oklahoma, 2020 Remington Place

Best local district

16th Street Plaza District
1715 NW 16th St.

Midtown, northeast of the downtown business district
The Paseo Arts District, 3022 Paseo St.
Uptown 23rd District, N. Broadway Street to N. Pennsylvania Avenue on NW 23rd Street

Best casino

Riverwind Casino
1544 W. State Highway 9, Norman

Grand Casino Hotel & Resort, 777 Grand Casino Blvd., Shawnee
Newcastle Casino, 2457 Highway 62 Service Road, Newcastle
Remington Park Racing & Casino, 1 Remington Place
WinStar World Casino and Resort, 777 Casino Ave., Thackerville

Best LGBTQ+ bar or club

The Boom!
2218 NW 39th St.

HiLo Club, 1221 NW 50th St.
Partners, 2805 NW 36th St.
The Copa, 2200 NW 40th St.
Tramps, 2201 NW 39th St.

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(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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