Sharing your story: Lance McDaniel

Lance McDaniel, Executive DirectorLance McDaniel, Executive Director of deadCENTER Film Festival, shared with us how the arts have impacted his life and the lives of his family members. This is his story.





“I was raised in Alva, Oklahoma to parents who believed in the importance of the arts. My two older brothers and I sang in the Alva Boys Choir; played instruments in the school marching band; took dance, painting and piano lessons; built pinewood derby cars for Boy Scouts; joined Show Choir; and attended every concert, play and musical put on by our local university.

Boys Choir Duet- Lance

We gained confidence singing in front of churches and dancing in front of our peers. We developed discipline practicing piano and waking up at 6:00 am to march with the band. We honed business skills selling peanut brittle and concert tickets to pay for our trips. And, through all of these various activities, we learned how to collaborate with people from different walks of life.

Now that we are grown, my brothers and I have very different lives and careers but the skills we gained from participating in the arts continue to fuel our confidence and creativity to this day.

My brother Mark is a senior attorney at Devon Energy. He and his wife, Stacy, recently founded a non-profit, Cleats for Kids, which provides thousands of pairs of athletic shoes and equipment to kids in need around the state.

My brother Randy is a State Representative that has helped reduce Oklahoma’s pension liability by several billion dollars. He is a fantastic financial advisor. And, he recently wrote a book about the history of pensions.

deadcENTER logo 2011I am an independent filmmaker that has worked on 14 feature films, including Oscar winner Million Dollar Baby. I am currently writing a movie musical to film in Oklahoma this summer and I run Oklahoma’s largest film festival.


When you give to Allied Arts, you are doing much more than inspiring future artists. You are creating opportunities for kids to think differently, work collaboratively, and move confidently in the direction of their own dreams.”


Thank you, Lance, for sharing your story with us! The testimonials you provided are great examples of the importance of the arts. There is no doubt that the arts develop critical skills in children that lay a foundation for their future endeavors – no matter what career path they choose to follow. Thank you for this reminder!