Dunlap Codding (OK)Contribute to the Economy & Quality of Life
Feeling A-OK! Arts in Oklahoma City
Dunlap Codding, an Oklahoma City intellectual property law firm representing clients across the world and 2016 BCA 10 Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts winner, shares their success in inviting the arts in their world.
In 2013, Dunlap Codding moved their operations into a warehouse in Oklahoma City’s historic Film Row District—an area which had, as recently as 2007, been referred to as “skid row.” While the District is now recognized as an emerging arts and innovation area, this outcome was only a dream when they purchased a building in 2011.
In surveying clients, friends, and others on their unmet needs, a common theme arose: Oklahoma City simply did not have spaces for people to come together to create, explore, and innovate as a community. These observations led Dunlap Codding to the conclusion that they could use their infrastructure and community‐minded employees to directly serve the needs of the arts and creative industries.
As part of their efforts, they constructed a large outdoor gathering place where a surface parking lot once stood. Community input led to the design of an open and flexible space with built‐in seating and intimately sized areas which encourages conversation, collaborative work, and artistic expression. The outdoor space connects directly to the interior of the building via a glass commercial garage door that encourages guests to remain in contact with the Oklahoma skyline. The interior space focuses on creation and includes a large open concept kitchen, natural indirect light, and lounge areas punctuated with modular tables and chairs on wheels, making for a space that is customizable no matter the genre - culinary, visual, spoken, or performance arts.
The firm offers the use of this space, free of charge, to anyone within the community who desires to create or bring people together—arts and creativity groups/organizations, community, civic, and charitable organizations, and to individuals with a bright idea or a passion for changing the world.
As director Douglas Sorocco has said, “We wanted to be a good neighbor to everyone within the community. We wanted to offer Oklahoma City a place in which people could get together and work to make things better utilizing creativity and the arts.”
Since 2013, the firm has hosted/facilitated well over 150 arts and creativity programs and has donated approximately $100,000 in direct support. In addition, the amount of in‐kind donations such as food, drink, and professional services including pro bono legal services and advice to artists, musicians, as well as to arts and creativity organizations are beyond measure.
Promoting arts and creativity activities has also made recruiting and retaining young and civically engaged employees significantly easier—they have become “the firm” that Millennials want to join. Employee feedbackdirectly correlates with an improved quality of life and work environment leading to opportunities for networking, leadership, volunteerism, and personal growth.
The arts have also become a differentiator and way to market themselves to clients in an industry—law—that is typically seen as lacking creativity and originality.
As part of the World Creativity Forum in 2015, they facilitated brainstorming sessions that fused creative expression with pressing Oklahoma social issues. The firm’s employees participated in “Parklet Day” and converted two street parking spaces into a science and art laboratory for children.
With its proficiency in community building and placemaking, Dunlap Codding is using arts and creativity to strengthen the quality of life for arts in Oklahoma City as well as their own corporate objectives which is a victory for both the community and business.
Photos: Dunlap Codding community event space; Third Friday art walk Film Row District live music. Photos courtesy of Dunlap Codding.