You may or may not have met the woman behind Fabrics Unlimited, but Linda Whittington is a big player in Oklahoma City’s arts and philanthropy scene. A long-time volunteer for Arts Council Oklahoma City and the annual Festival of the Arts, she has been dedicating her time and resources to the community for many years.
As the Festival of the Arts kicks off its 50th year, we took some time to sit down with the Fabrics Unlimited owner to speak to her about her philanthropic efforts in our community.
Describe your past and current involvement with Festival of the Arts and Arts Council Oklahoma City.
LW: I began volunteering when I was in high school and the event was in Civic Center Park over 40 years ago. I was co-chair of the event in 2013. I have worked on just about every committee and still volunteer today. This year I am co-chairing the committee of Past Festival Co-Chairs. We organize a dinner for the production crew each night for the week leading up to festival. We then host a dinner for the artists on the day before festival and a breakfast one day during festival.
How did your interest in the arts begin?
LW: I was exposed to art as a child and although I was never a creator of art, I appreciate it immensely. I love many art galleries throughout Europe and have enjoyed learning about the creative process and the creation of pieces. I believe the arts are critical in any thriving community. It is most important to young children as they grow and develop.
What drives your passion for the arts?
LW: I enjoy discussing with others how we can come together to further arts within our community, since I appreciate how it drives a prosperous community. As a lifelong resident, I want to see our city continue to prosper and to see the arts drive that home.
How are you personally tied to the mission of Arts Council of Oklahoma, “to bring the arts and the community together?”
LW: I have spoken to groups about the importance of art in our community and the need for volunteers to make it all happen. It really gives one a sense of pride and accomplishment to be part of something that develops our community. I have also worked with the young professional group, the Artisans, of the Arts Council to help them attract more members and grow an interest in giving back.
Describe your involvement in the OKC community?
LW: I have served on numerous boards and have volunteered for numerous agencies in our community. Arts Council of OKC (served on board and volunteer), Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma (currently serve on the board and have been a troop leader, plus chaired a capital campaign and chaired Juliette Low Leadership Society Luncheon), The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital (served on board of the hospital and currently serve on Foundation board. Co-chairing the current capital campaign), Civic Center Foundation (currently serve as a board member), Lyric Theatre (currently serve on the board), OCU Societies (currently president), Myriad Gardens Foundation (served on the board and volunteered for many events), Youth Leadership Exchange (served on the board and volunteered with the youth programming), Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association (served on the board), Sister Cities OKC (current board member). It is also vital to support the performing arts by attending local productions of the Philharmonic, Lyric Theatre etc. I have worked in the oil and gas industry for about 40 years. It has been a wonderful business and has afforded me many opportunities.
What drives your passion for the OKC community?
LW: As a lifelong citizen I want to live in a community that offers a plethora of activities and events for the citizenry to enjoy. I have always believed our city and state are a well-kept secret. The world is now finding out just how great we are. There is a spot on a local station that is “Are we a great state or what?” We are! We are now a destination, not just a stopover. Being able to show people the wonderful place I call home is the best.