Academia OKC is a non-profit arts program.

Programs include various art forms such as music, visual arts, dance, and theater while preserving the arts in Oklahoma.

We believe in enriching children's lives, preserving the arts, and keeping cultural traditions alive. Academia OKC provides culturally relevant art as in-school programs or after school programs with an artist-in-residence approach. Currently providing mariachi, baile folklorico, visual art, photography and a partnership with Dead Center for film.





In 2005, Mariachi Orgullo de America established the first Mariachi in-school programs in Oklahoma with the help of VH1 Save the Music Grant. In 2015 due to budget cuts, 2 of the 3 programs established were cut. As a result, Mariachi Orgullo de America formed Academia OK, a non-profit arts in education program which quickly found a home under Scissortail Community Development Corporation providing artist insertion programs into Oklahoma City Public School, Charters, Private schools and after school programming.

The first pilot project was launched with a summer camp in 2016 with a mariachi specific camp. The camp was a success and generated community interest from the local community and educators. The first official in-school program was established at Shidler Elementary Spring of 2017 with 1 in-school class for 5th graders. In 2018-2019 the program grew to general music programs, orchestra, mariachi, baile folklorico, visual art, and a partnership with DeadCenter offering film. Children served to date is about 1,560.

Academia OKC was awarded several grants to help fund in-school and after school art and music programs and overall operations by Arts Partnership for OKCPS, All Access Arts, Oklahoma Arts Council and the Endowment of the Arts, Inasmuch, Kirkpatrick Foundation and various private donors. The Anita Martinez Mariachi Festival, Cinco de Mayo, and Fiestas Patrias were created to provide cultural awareness and experiences to the community while providing support to Academia programs. The festivals provide families with a cultural experience in music, dance, food, culture, and extended educational development serving in attendance about 10,000-20,000 each festival.

2019-2020 School Year Academia OKC will have mariachi programs in Shidler Elementary, Cristo Rey OKC High School and a community after school program in South OKC. Baile folklorico will be taught in Shidler Elementary and Cristo Rey OKC High School. Photography and visual art will be taught at Cristo Rey OKC High School.

Thank you to our funders:

*Select programming is made possible in part by the Oklahoma Arts Council, which receives support from the State of Oklahoma and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Thank you to our community partners:




For the 2019-2020 School Year, Academia OKC will have 2 elementary mariachi in-school programs at Shidler Elementary, 1 High School Mariachi program in Cristo Rey OKC and an after school program in the OKC Metro area.

We are accepting enrollment for After School Mariachi.

Schedules of classes:
Shidler Elementary
M-F 8am-9am 3rd grade & 9am-10am 4th grade

Cristo Rey OKC High School
M-F 4:10pm-5:40pm 9th and 10th grade

After School Mariachi - South OKC
M-F 5:30pm-7:30pm 5th - 12th grade


Academia OKC has 1 baile folklorico program in Shidler Elementary and 1 baile folklorico program in Cristo Rey OKC High School.

Schedules of classes:
Shidler Elementary
Wednesday 3-4pm 3rd & 4th grade

Cristo Rey OKC High School
Tuesday & Wed 4:30pm-5:30pm 9th & 10th grade

Film Making


Academia OKC has partnered with Dead Center who offers programming throughout the year as one time sessions for schools.

Visual Arts

Academia OKC has 1 visual art program in Cristo Rey OKC High School.

Cristo Rey OKC High School
Monday & Tuesdays 5pm-6pm

narcisco photo.jpg

Academia OKC has 1 photography class at Cristo Rey OKC High School.

Cristo Rey OKC High School
Monday & Tuesdays 5pm-6pm


Board of Directors:
Chairman: Rudy Alvarado, Retired Business and Entrepreneur & Co-Founder Scissortail CDC
Board: Renee Porter , Co-Founder Scissortail CDC
Board: Chad “Corntassel” Smith, Former Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation
Board: Sam Fulkerson, Attorney, McAfee & Taft

Advisory Board Members:
Armando Ayala, PhD Principal at Shidler Elementary
Cristina Good, PhD Leisure Studies
Francisco Ibarra, Partner Supermercado Morelos
Francisco Treviño, Director of Casa de la Cultura Tulsa
Fred Mendoza, Governor Stitt’s Transition Team
Greg Hallman, Education and Entrepreneur
Isabel Chancellor, President, IngenuitE, Inc.
Jay Shanker, Attorney, Crowe & Dunlevy
Joe Cardenas, Business Development Director, Comprehensive Engineering Services
Lance McDaniel, deadCenter
Lemuel Bardeguez, Oklahoma City Community College
Matt Guillory, Exchange Music
Melissa Lujan, Attorney, Lujan Law
Phil Greenwood, St. Lukes
Xavier Neira, Developer

Scissortail President: Robert Ruiz
Academia OKC Program Director: Wilma Maritza Ruiz
Parent Liason: Luis Hidalgo

2019-2020 Teaching Artists:
Aaron Squiirrel - Guitar/Mariachi Ensemble
Alex Irwin - Violin/Vocal/Mariachi Ensemble
Cindy Mason - Visual Art
Jaime Fuentes - Baile Folklorico
Jose Pedro Palacio - Guitar/Mariachi Ensemble
Kaden McSpedden - Flute
Keely Clements - Flute
Kinser Hennessee - Trumpet/Mariachi ensemble
Maritza Ruiz - violin
Narciso Argüelles - Photography
Shana Smith - Baile Folklorico
Shay Sienkiewicz - Violin/Mariachi ensemble
Sonia Ruiz - Violin/Mariachi ensemble

2018-2019 Teaching Artists:
Aaron Squiirrel - Guitar
Aryn Wright - General Music
Caleb Smutzer - General Music
Elizabeth Suarez - Visual Art
Emily Alexader - General Music, vocal
Geo Morgan - Guitar
Gus Weaver - violin
Lorenzo Diaz - trumpet
Maria Belen Ruffin - violin
Maritza Ruiz - violin
Shana Smith - Baile Folklorico
Shay Sienkiewicz - Violin
Stewart Ottersberg - Guitar/Vocal
Wilma Maritza Ruiz - Flute

2017-2018 Teaching Artists:
Aryn Wright - General Music, Mariachi
Elizabeth Suarez - Visual Art
Geo Morgan - Guitar
Maria Belen Ruffin - violin
Sarah Caputo - Visual Art

2016-2017 Teaching Artists:
Geo Morgan - Guitar
Maria Belen Ruffin - violin



“Preservation of one's own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures.” - Cesar Chavez