Last week I had the pleasure of taking an art class with a well-known Southwest Oklahoma artist.  The class was simply advertised as “Oil Painting Class.”  I have painted with oils for several years now but I know one can always learn more, so I signed up.


The class was great.  The instructions were helpful and the students were very friendly.  I enjoyed the class for the most part, but there was something in my chest that felt uncomfortable, something that wouldn’t go away.  I told myself I was trying new things and getting out of my regular painting habits, but then on the final night I realized what was going on.


The lightbulb came on when the instructor discouraged me from painting a picture I had picked out.  “Oh, that is going to be very difficult to paint.  The shadowing in this photograph is almost impossible to capture in oils.”  Though her advice was helpful, I thought about it and then chose to ignore it and paint what I wanted to paint anyways.

I also realized that the new technique I was trying did not feel right to me at all.  I was doing it correctly, I just wasn’t enjoying it like I should.


When I stepped back and put all this together I realized something great:  I had figured out who I was as an artist!


For years I had watched the best art students do the exact opposite of what the instructor suggested, only to produce a more unique piece.  I, on the other hand, had always stuck with what the teacher said to ensure I was doing things as they wanted.  One of my close friends explained that I have found myself as an artist and established my own style and techniques and because I know what works best for me, specifically, I am now able to stay strong in my own personality of painting and grow in that exclusive style.


Frederick is like that beginning art student.  We’ve been trying different techniques and doing as we are told.  We’ve watched what works for other cities and tried to implement the same ideas but we haven’t had the same success.  We’ve tried to duplicate the model our grandparents and great-grandparents used extremely well, but our results are not coming out near as positive.

Times are changing and our structure as a community must change too or else we will fail.  The best part about Frederick is that we won’t give up.  Our people are strong-minded and willing to do whatever it takes to make things work.  This is exactly the right attitude that a town of our status needs to have.  We just haven’t found our vision yet.  We as a community need to come together to figure out what we want Frederick to look like.  What is our style and personality?  What is our unique fingerprint on the world?  How can we find a model that makes us tick and evolves with us as the world around us changes?


These are the questions the Chamber is asking as we try to boldly move forward into the new year of 2016 and a new generation of leadership, momentum and growth.  Everything is changing, including our community.  You have a choice to get on board and make things happen, or stand back and get out of the way—because either way change is upon us and we must figure out who we are as a community.




Wouldn’t it be nice if there was ONE calendar that encompassed all things Frederick?  What if you could go to one website and find out everything that’s going on around town?   Well guess what, you can!

The Chamber has a Community Calendar on our website.  In fact, we’ve had it for years.  Many event organizers around town use this tool to make sure there isn’t any overlapping of events if possible.  I know when I plan an event I check the Community Calendar as well as the School Calendar because as you know, it doesn’t work well when we split a small crowd into several smaller crowds.

I’ve noticed several events lately that had poor attendance due to an overscheduling of our community events.  What a great problem to have for a town our size!  I love that we are active and entertained!  I just hate to see crowds split between multiple events.

Another reason to check the Community Calendar is to make sure that YOUR events are on there!  If you have an event you are planning, whether you are a Chamber member or not, you can notify the Chamber and we will reserve your spot on the calendar!  That way those looking at visiting Frederick, attending events or even planning events can be sure they are where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be there.

So here’s just a friendly reminder if you’re busy with events: check the Community Calendar first!  www.frederickokchamber.org/community_calendar.html.


A great time was had by all this past Saturday at our eighth annual Cotton Festival and Chili Cook-Off! Congratulations to Anna Woffard, Kent Smith, and the Frederick Firefighters on winning the Chili Cook-Off!  Also, congrats to Tinley and Timber Mefford, our pageant winners as well as Jerri Boyd, the Cow Patty Bingo winner!

For those who didn’t win anything, we wish you better luck next year!  Hopefully those who weren’t competing had a great time visiting with others, shopping with the vendors and touring the Cotton Gin.  There was plenty going on!

Eric Van der Laan and the dairy did a great job orchestrating Cow Patty Bingo this year.  He and many other volunteers made this event the wonderful thing that it was.

Travis Stroud organized the fourteen chili teams, the secret judges and the secret ballots while Michelle Green made sure the Chamber Food booth was stocked full of corn dogs and Frito-chili pie.  Joe Wynn organized the vendors and Harvey Schroeder helped gain sponsorships for prize money and entertainment.

Julie Garza and April Collom might have had the most difficult assignment.  These two ladies organized the pageants and gave seventeen little girls an experience they won’t soon forget!

Kent Smith did the heavy lifting and moving for picnic tables, trash cans, chairs and electrical work.  Jimmy Espinosa and his boys helped set the stage and hang the banners where they were needed. There were also other Chamber Board members helping out throughout the day as well as Historical Society volunteers who opened the museum and taught many minds how to pick cotton.

Our new Coop Manager, Brandon Winters helped organize the Gin Tours and explained why Cotton is so important to our economy.  There were many more excellent volunteers who ran attractions, businesses and other things around town.  It is impossible to name everyone who had a hand in making this event amazing but the Chamber thanks those who were involved.

Events like these are only possible through the many volunteer hours put in by people like you.  If you haven’t volunteered for a local event before, you have an opportunity coming up with the Candyland Christmas Parade on December 17th!  Call the Chamber office today to get involved!