OKLAHOMA CITY (June 21, 2024) — After just four years in its spectacular Downtown Oklahoma City location (itself a work of art entitled “Folding Light” by Rand Elliott Architects), Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center has taken bold strides toward claiming its place in the national arts landscape. The Center and its mission driven exhibitions, performances, classes and other offerings are also further cementing the center of the United States as an arts and cultural powerhouse, along with institutions like Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, its Bentonville, Ark., neighbor to the northeast.

On May 9, the Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center Board President Molly Tolbert announced the appointment of Trent Riley as its new executive director. Riley most recently served as Oklahoma Contemporary’s chief development officer. He is widely recognized for strategic leadership positions in arts development, membership engagement and community involvement and comes to his role of executive director with an impressive financial track record. As Riley begins his tenure as executive director, the organization is placing a renewed emphasis on mission, financial growth and providing contemporary art experiences to local, regional and national audiences. Riley holds a master’s degree in public history with an emphasis in museum studies and has written numerous articles for magazines and journals about art, history and culture.

“Trent’s successful tenure as chief development officer at Oklahoma Contemporary and deep roots in the culture of Oklahoma made him standout from an impressive field of candidates,” said Tolbert. “Our board is especially confident that Trent’s collaborative style and advancement expertise will help our state’s leading arts center fulfill its mission to encourage artistic expression through education, exhibitions and performance.”

“With arts education in schools at a critical point in society – and contemporary art the language of our time – our mission has never been more important,” said Riley. “At Oklahoma Contemporary, we have one of the most engaged and exciting arts campuses in the region, and I look forward to working with the staff, board and community partners to elevate its impact.”

“We are extremely happy that Trent has accepted the top position at Oklahoma Contemporary,” said founder and chairman Christian Keesee. “Trent consistently exceeded our expectations. His genuine commitment to arts education and the culture of our state made him an excellent candidate for this position. We congratulate him and look forward to working with Trent as this exciting new chapter at Oklahoma Contemporary begins to unfold.”