The George Kaiser Family Foundation intends to open the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa’s Brady District by the end of 2012. The foundation has purchased the folk singer and activist’s comprehensive archives — including hundreds of notebooks, diaries and scrapbooks containing letters, 581 artworks, novels, essays, unpublished short stories and lyrics to some 3,000-plus songs — from the Guthrie family for $3 million.
For the planned center, a kickoff celebration is slated for March 10 that will feature Woody’s son Arlo and other musicians.
Even years after succumbing to Huntington’s disease in 1967, the Dust Bowl troubadour remained a polarizing figure in Oklahoma for his supposed commie leanings. It wasn’t until 1998 that the first Woody Guthrie festival was hosted in his hometown of Okemah, and 2006 that Guthrie was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.