Nestled in downtown Edmond, the Fine Arts Institute has offered educational enrichment in visual and performing arts since 1985. FAI offers quality art experiences in a way that educates both adults and children.
Four mothers kicked things off
Back in 1985, four Edmond-area mothers watched their daughters at a gymnastics meet and began to talk among themselves. “They noticed a lack of arts activities for their children,” Executive Director Shannon Price shared.
Nancy Effron, June McCoy, Gae Rees, and Bonnie Smith started FAI in 1985. “They taught art and music in one classroom at an Edmond church,” Price shared. “Art supplies were kept in the trunks of their cars!”
That first year they had 137 students. Fast forward to the current day, and FAI serves nearly 4,500 students each year.
Edmond loves the arts
Certainly, Edmond has a reputation for being an arts-friendly community, and the Fine Arts Institute has played a significant role in that reputation. Art covers the walls of the main hall. Any given month, you can see paintings, drawings, clay pots, and rotating art galleries.
“Families want to live in a place that features diverse artistic avenues,” Price shared. “In celebrating the individual and creativity, we are inclusive to all people.”
The educational experiences FAI offers cover just as wide a range as their main hall. “You have your choice of oil painting, jewelry making, mask making, sculpting… we’ve got it all!” Price said.
Partnering with others for success
A big part of the success of the Fine Arts Institute has been its partnerships with other organizations.
FAI partners with Edmond Public Schools to bring art to third and fourth graders by the institute’s instructors. They also provide art as therapy at Pepper’s Ranch.
Other partnerships include the Edmond juvenile court system, the City of Edmond, the Downtown Edmond Business Association, the Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce, and multiple foundations, sponsors, and individuals who support the FAI.
Shannon Price’s involvement
A former Putnam City art teacher, Price first became involved with the Fine Arts Institute in June 1994, when she began serving as the Special Event Coordinator and an instructor. In September 2011, she transitioned to Assistant Director.
In 2013, the prior Executive Director retired. Mitzi Hancuff had served for twenty-five years and is the namesake of the FAI’s park, Mitzi Park. “I’m grateful for Mitzi’s vision and leadership,” Price said.
When Hancuff retired, Price stepped into the role of Executive Director. She has served in that role since May 2013.
Price’s enthusiasm is immediately evident to anyone who meets her through her energy and excitement. She is a big believer in the mission of the Fine Arts Institute. “Through the arts,” she said, “we’re enhancing the quality of life. Children and adults feel good when they are creative and inspired by art.”
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About Tim Priebe
Tim is a public speaker, author, publisher of Edmond Business, and the owner of T&S Online Marketing. He helps businesses that are worried they don’t have the expertise or time required to invest in doing their own digital marketing. He helps them plan where and how much to invest and often helps execute the plan.
Tim started the Edmond Business online magazine in May 2020 to fill a need in the community when The Edmond Sun shut down and stopped publishing their monthly magazine, The Business Times.