FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                    August 11, 2008 


            Displayed with more than 165 photographs for the weekend, the Runnymede Hotel in downtown Alva was the perfect location for the Northwestern Creativity Project to play host to 58 participants in its first “Picture My Weekend” event on Aug. 1 and 2.

Participants for the Northwestern Creativity Project first event, “Picture My Weekend,” pose for a group photograph.  This photograph was framed and presented to the recipient of the People’s Choice Award who, in turn, gave the framed photograph to Rod Murrow for organizing the successful event.

Lori Irwin of Aline, pictured with Rod Murrow, won the People’s Choice Award for her photo titled “Another Sun-day Morning.”  

Valarie Case of Alva, won People’s Choice-Honorable Mention with her “Independence Day” photo.  Case is pictured with Rod Murrow, associate dean of graduate studies at Northwestern.

            Participants arrived from many different Oklahoma cities including:  Alva, Aline, Buffalo, Cherokee, Dacoma, Enid, Guthrie, Helena, Isabella, Jet, Kingfisher, Medford, Mooreland, Oklahoma City, Vici, Waynoka, and Woodward to participate in the event.

            “The response to our first ‘Picture My Weekend’ photography show and workshop was overwhelming,” said Dr. Rod Murrow, associate dean of graduate studies. “We’d hoped that we might have as many as 20 participants, but by the time the registration closed, we had 60.”

      Facilitators for the event spoke and gave suggestions at round-table discussions throughout the day.  These facilitators brought their expertise from different areas of the state.  Facilitators for the event included Jim Richey of Alva; Mike Klemme of Enid, who was the official Oklahoma Centennial photographer; Jim Apel of Oklahoma City; and Cody Dopps of Enid.

      “I was really impressed by the vision shown by all of the students,” Apel said.  “The creativity shown by the students was equally impressive.”

      “It is the support from the facilitators of this event that really enabled it to be so successful,” Murrow said.  “They donated their time, travel, expenses and enthusiastic support to make it happen.”

      Beginning Friday night, participants prepared photographs for display.  The public was encouraged to attend the Photography Show and vote for their favorite photo.  Entries for the People’s Choice Award were accepted until Saturday afternoon and winners were then determined.

      “Many folks returned to various images several times before casting their votes,” Murrow said.  “It was especially gratifying to see them give such attention to the images, studying and comparing them one to another.”

 Lori Irwin of Aline won the People’s Choice Award for her photo titled “Another Sun-day Morning,” and Valarie Case of Alva won People’s Choice-Honorable Mention with her “Independence Day” photo.  Irwin creatively photographed a bright, large sunflower, and Case artistically captured fireworks photographed at nighttime from the Fourth of July.

“Virtually everyone who attended ‘Picture My Weekend’ was enthusiastic about the event, and they are looking forward to the next one,” Murrow said.

“’Picture My Weekend’” would not be possible without the support and enthusiasm of many volunteers, whose help we deeply appreciate,” Murrow said. 

“I can’t help but think that Dale Brown was looking down at us and smiling, maybe even laughing,” Murrow said. “It was her dream for the old Runnymede Hotel to become a community arts center, and ultimately, we have her to thank for such a grand occasion as this.

 “Picture My Weekend” will become an annual event that will continue to bring the photographic arts to Alva and northwestern Oklahoma.

To make a donation to help fund next year’s event or for questions regarding the Northwestern Creativity Project, please contact Murrow at (580) 327-8589 or or visit



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Northwestern Oklahoma State University
Steve Valencia, Director
Office of University Relations
709 Oklahoma Blvd., Alva, OK 73717
Phone: (580) 327-8478  Fax: (580) 327-8660

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