VIBES Edmond’s First Thursdays was honored to receive the 2021 Outstanding Community Building Effort Impact Award from the Urban Land Institute at the Annual Impact Awards last Thursday, May 12th.

Each year, three finalists are selected by the ULI for the Outstanding Community Building Effort Awards to recognize projects or programs that encourage gathering, catalyze revitalization, and creatively increase social access, inclusion and advancement. For 2021 the three finalists selected were Poles Apart, Showboat Concert Series, and VIBES Edmond’s First Thursdays. “Being chosen as the winner of this prestigious award from an organization like ULI reinforces that we at Edmond Fine Arts achieved exactly what we set out to do when creating VIBES benefitting & enhancing the arts, our downtown business area, and the entire Edmond Community,” stated Edmond Fine Arts Director, Savannah Whitehead.

VIBES Edmond’s First Thursdays utilize unique placemaking strategies to enhance the physical area of Downtown Edmond by using the arts to create an inviting and inclusive event on the first Thursday of each month, April through October. The seven events combine the efforts of over 100 entities, including businesses, artists, performers, sponsors, and volunteers. It is estimated that during the 2021 Season of VIBES the event series had over a half-million-dollar economic impact on the City of Edmond.

“It is no surprise that all three of the finalists for the award included activation of a specific area using the arts.” Said Edmond Fine Arts Executive Director, Shannon Price. For the past 37 years, Edmond Fine Arts Institute has provided visual and performing art opportunities to the community. Typically an event like VIBES would be overseen by a district, city, or economic development group. Still, when a conversation about bringing an art walk type event to Edmond began, Shannon knew FAI was the correct entity to lead the project in collaboration with the City of Edmond and with the support of amazing sponsors.

If you haven’t attended a VIBES event, mark your calendars for the first Thursday of the month through October. The next VIBES is Thursday, June 2nd.