Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (December 15, 2011) - At 10:30 a.m. today, Oklahoma Today magazine announced the 2011 Oklahoman of the Year: Mary Beth Babcock, owner of Tulsa’s Dwelling Spaces store and an advocate of the arts across the state. Babcock is featured in the magazine’s January/February 2012 issue of the magazine, its first with a film focus. The announcement was made at Dwelling Spaces.

“I hope the fact that a small business owner was recognized for this award gives many other entrepreneurs hope that they can achieve success if they just put in the passion and have the pride in our state of Oklahoma,” said Babcock.

Babcock, who started Dwelling Spaces in Tulsa’s Blue Dome District in August 2006, has provided a launching pad for several local and statewide artistic endeavors, including This Land Press, a Tulsa media company, Booksmart Tulsa, and the Public Arts Project 66, a collection of eleven murals along Oklahoma’s stretch of Route 66 by Oklahoma artists Rick Sinnett and Jake Harms.

“She rides the Okie zeitgeist like a bronco buster,” said This Land Press founder Michael Mason in Sheilah Bright’s feature, “There’s Something About Mary Beth.” “It’s become something of a Tulsa truism that if you want to get on the scene in Oklahoma, you need to get in front of Mary Beth. She’s one of the few shop owners who has managed to turn her store into a conversation with the community, and it’s earned her the embrace of nearly everyone in Tulsa.”

In June 2010 Babcock opened JoeBot’s Coffee Bar adjacent to Dwelling Spaces. She makes her home in Tulsa’s historic Mayo Hotel, where she was photographed for the Oklahoma Today cover by Tulsa photographer Evan Taylor.

“If there is a more inspiring grassroots supporter of all things Okie than Mary Beth Babcock, I don't know who it is," says Oklahoma Today editor Steffie Corcoran. “In the toughest economy in most of our lifetimes, she has staked a retail claim in the Blue Dome District in Tulsa with her store, Dwelling Spaces. It has flourished and become the talk of the town and the site of enough cool happenings on an annual basis to fill anybody's calendar. And she does it all out of a pure love of Oklahoma.”

A native of Bartlesville, Babcock holds a bachelor’s degree in retail merchandising from Oklahoma State University.  

The Film issue will reach subscribers beginning December 16 and will appear on newsstands December 30. The article can be found in its entirety in PDF format on the magazine’s website and Facebook page. Oklahoma Today’s Twitter feed is @oklahomatoday.

For more information, contact the magazine’s editor, Steffie Corcoran, at (405) 640-0816 or steffie@oklahomatoday.com or on Twitter at @steffiecorcoran.

Photos are availible upon request.

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Oklahoma Dept. of Tourism and Recreation, Travel and Tourism Division 120 N. Robinson, Suite 600, Oklahoma City, OK 73102 United States