MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

July 2, 2013

FGHS’ Morton studies with nationally renowned artists


Times staff reports

— LONE WOLF — Years of hard work and dedication have paid off for Fort Gibson High School student Tanner Morton.

He earned a spot at the prestigious Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain (OSAI), held June 15–30. Morton studied acting at OSAI with nationally renowned artists from across the United States. Morton received a full scholarship to the program, worth more than $2,500.

“Being accepted into OSAI is a very big deal to me considering it was my first time ever to audition,” Morton said. “Getting accepted to OSAI gave me more confidence as an actor.”

At OSAI, Oklahoma high school students spend at least six hours a day studying one of nine artistic disciplines in the literary, visual, and performing arts. In the evenings, they attend a variety of performances, lectures, and demonstrations that give them an appreciation of the arts outside of their chosen discipline. Students from different disciplines, towns, and backgrounds study, reside and eat meals together.

This is the program’s 37th year, and since its inception, many famous artists have taught at OSAI. Former faculty artists include recipients of the Academy, Emmy, Grammy and Tony awards. This year's faculty includes A. Dean Irby from New York. Irby’s television credits include “The Cosby Show” and “Another World,” and he also served as the acting coach for “The Cosby Show.”

“I think OSAI will be a very good opportunity for me to grow as an actor and also meet new people,” Morton said.

Morton was chosen to attend OSAI through competitive statewide auditions, with more than 1,100 students auditioning for 270 spots. Morton’s scholarship is provided by the Oklahoma State Department of Education, Brattain Scholars Fund, and Harris Foundation, with additional funding provided by the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department, Sharna and Irvin Frank Foundation, and Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation.

OSAI culminates in ONSTAGE Weekend, June 28 and 29. The weekend consisted of concerts, performances, film screenings, and gallery exhibitions where every OSAI student had a chance to display their work.

Information: www.oaiquartz.org or (405) 605-7500.