Bartlesville Community Center

Bartlesville, Oklahoma | C.1982

Photo Credit: Samantha Smith

In the green heart of the Osage Hills in northeast Oklahoma sits the small town of Bartlesville. Surveying its sights, one could easily get distracted by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Price Tower (1956), the only skyscraper ever built to the design specifications of the legendary architect. But most locals would redirect you to its neighbor, the earth-toned Bartlesville Community Center.

The center was designed to be a public nucleus—not merely Oklahoma’s finest performing arts hall, but an intriguing and inviting space for every kind of event: symphonies, beauty pageants, church services, Weight Watchers meetings, and antique shows (to name just a few entries from its community calendar). Some patrons even come to view the original art, including a 25-foot-long mural revealing rural Oklahoma through the four seasons.

Opened in 1982, the building’s modern curves and bold orange interior were the vision of architect William Wesley Peters, a protégé of Wright. That influence is evident in its curving walkway and unique seating arrangement, which wraps around the stage. There is no center aisle in the 1,700-seat hall, so attendees beware: it’s advised that you use the facilities before the show begins.

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