Empowering communities through art at the Sunny Dayz Mural Festival.

Cara at the Sunny Dayz Festival

Community involvement is the heartbeat of growth and progress, especially in the vibrant world of art. We come together, share experiences, and create something meaningful that resonates with everyone. An excellent example of this is Sunny Dayz Mural Fest, which celebrates, empowers, and elevates women and gender minorities.

Sunny Dayz Mural Festival filled the streets of Ponca City, Oklahoma, on June 1, 2024 for its fourth festival. This festival, which has previously been held in OKC, Edmond, and Tulsa, is more than just a celebration of art; it’s a testament to community involvement in fostering growth and inclusion.

Through the creation and advocacy of public art, Sunny Dayz Mural Festival is a first-of-its-kind initiative celebrating women and gender minority artists in Oklahoma. From its humble beginnings with an insanely dedicated team, the festival has blossomed into a transformative movement since its inaugural event in Oklahoma City’s Britton District in 2021.

Over the last three years, Sunny Dayz has organized four successful festivals across Oklahoma communities, bringing over 25,000 people into the magical world of public art and supporting historically underrepresented artists. Sunny Dayz has brought together creativity, resilience, and community spirit across Oklahoma’s towns and cities through partnerships with local businesses and institutions, educational programming, mentorship for teens, and the hiring of 122 muralists to create new murals.

The festival’s impact goes beyond the murals filling city walls. It shines a spotlight on the harsh realities faced by women and gender minority artists in the art world. Despite making up nearly 50% of working artists, these individuals often find themselves at a disadvantage. Sunny Dayz challenges this status quo, advocating for creative freedom and a more inclusive artistic future.

“It has been a rewarding experience to participate in Sunny Dayz Mural Festival as a reflection of the collective spirit of community involvement. I experienced the festival’s magic firsthand as a newbie artist, painting alongside my partner, Lauren Mitchell. It’s true, Sunny Dayz magic is real, and I couldn’t get enough. I’ve been a part of all things social media and merch designs since 2022, and I was fortunate enough to take part in the Tulsa festival! This year, I continue to be part of the marketing and design team, learning and growing with the best creatives and experts from all across Oklahoma.”

Having been involved with the Sunny Dayz Mural Festival and a member of the Freestyle team, I have gained a deeper understanding of how community engagement impacts our work. By participating in festivals in Oklahoma, creating social media content, and designing merchandise, I’ve gained firsthand insight into how our company’s values align with Oklahoma’s art scene mission of empowerment and inclusivity. This hands-on experience has not only enriched my skills but has also provided valuable perspectives on the importance of connecting with our community. Through initiatives like the Sunny Dayz Mural Festival, we not only contribute to the cultural vibrancy of our region but also strengthen our brand’s identity as supporters of creativity, resilience, and community spirit.”

Cara Rich, Art Director

A motto of Sunny Dayz is “Elevate Voices, Break Chains: Join Us in Empowering Resilience!” Through public art, we endeavor to elevate marginalized voices and break down barriers. As Oklahomans, we can pave the way for a brighter, more inclusive artistic landscape – one mural at a time.

Community involvement creates empowerment and growth, with every voice, every idea, every brushstroke. As a community, we create art, foster resilience, and build communities that thrive on inclusivity and creativity. Get out there, and get involved with the things you love. It’s worth every moment.