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Oklahoma Arts Council News

September 2016

Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Amber Sharples Elected to National Arts Board

OKLAHOMA CITY (September 24, 2016) – Oklahoma Arts Council executive director Amber Sharples has been elected to the 2017 board of directors of the National Assembly of State Agencies (NASAA), the nonpartisan organization that represents and serves the nation’s state and jurisdictional arts agencies. Read more...

Conference Earlybird Rate Ends September 16

The earlybird rate of $85 for the 2016 Oklahoma Arts Conference ends Friday, September 16. After September 16, registration will be $135.
Offering more than two days of sessions and panels, networking opportunities, tours, performances, and more, the conference is the one event each year that brings Oklahoma's arts and cultural community together in one place.

On October 25-26, join hundreds of artists, arts administrators, community developers, educators, civic leaders, students, and others from across the state in Stillwater for the 2016 Oklahoma Arts Conference.

View the schedule.

Register now for $85.

Take Our Arts Education Survey

The Oklahoma Arts Council is seeking input on the needs of schools and arts organizations that provide arts education programs for students in our state.
Through the Oklahoma Arts Council's Arts Education Survey, we aim to examine ways in which our grants and services can benefit Oklahoma students, and we aim to gain a better sense of community/school partnerships that currently exist.

The survey is designed for two groups of people:

  • those affiliated with schools (faculty, staff, administration, or parents)

  • those affiliated with nonprofit organizations that provide arts education programming

If you fall into one of the above groups, please complete the brief survey and consider passing along the link to others who can provide valuable feedback for this important effort. Broad participation is crucial to gathering useful feedback from the field.

Take the Oklahoma Arts Education Survey.

For questions related to the survey, please contact our Arts Education Director, Jennifer Allen-Barron at (405) 521-2036 or

Arts in Education Week is September 11-17

Designated by Congress in 2010, National Arts in Education Week is a celebration of the transformative power of the arts in education.

This year, National Arts in Education Week will be celebrated September 11-17, and Americans for the Arts is offering tools for communities, schools, arts centers, education programs, and others to use in recognizing the impact of arts education and sharing the message.

From raising awareness of the cause through Twitter hashtags (#ArtsEdWeek) and Facebook posts, to using the Arts Education Navigator tool, ideas for celebrating National Arts in Education Week are available here on Americans for the Arts' website.

Submit a GRAMMY Signature Schools Application

GRAMMY Signature Schools is a program of the GRAMMY Foundation that rewards public high schools across the U.S. for keeping music programs alive despite budget complications or other issues.

Through October 22, schools can submit applications to be a 2017 GRAMMY Signature School. Selected schools earn a GRAMMY Award and a cash prize of up to $10,000. Schools may be selected based on excellence or need.

Read an overview of the program here.

Apply to be a GRAMMY Signature School.

Partnership Aims to Formalize Creative Youth Development

An effort to advance creative youth development (CYD) as a formal field of practice is underway as the power of the arts and creativity to positively influence young people's lives gains increasing recognition.

Led by the National Guild for Community Arts Education, Massachusetts Cultural Council, The President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, and Americans for the Arts, the goals of the new Creative Youth Development National Partnership are to:

  • strengthen community-based organizations working in youth development and the arts, sciences, and humanities

  • develop and support adults practitioners in the field

  • increase access to creative youth development opportunities nationwide

To implement the agenda, partnership members are embracing a collective impact strategy that involves shared systems and actvities, cross-sector engagement, and continuous communications.

In order to organize and accelerate the CYD movement, partnership members recently launched three projects:

  • A National Blueprint for Creative Youth Development

  • The Creative Youth Development Toolkit (set to launch in 2018)

  • The website

Learn more about the partnership here.

National Art Education Foundation Grants Offered

Funding opportunities are being offered in several categories by the National Art Education Foundation (NAEF). Including professional development, research, art equipment, projects, and more, needs may be met through various grants ranging from $500 to $10,000. Funding is available to eligible NAEF members. The grant program deadline is October 2, 2016.

Click here to view 2017 NAEF Grant Guidelines.

Arts Participation Report Released

A complete state-by-state perspective of how Americans participate in the arts has been released by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the report reveals that recent national rates of participation are holding steady. NEA Chairman Jane Chu called the recent trends "encouraging," after a noticeable decline in arts participation between 2002 and 2012. The survey, conducted annually since 2013, inquired about:

  • arts attendance

  • literary reading

  • arts education for adults

  • personal performance

  • creation of art

State-level estimates show Oklahoma's participation to be below the U.S. average in all categories. Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Amber Sharples said recent efforts in Oklahoma are aimed at changing this.

"Arts education is the basis for developing a population that actively attends arts events, performs and creates art, and seeks out continued learning opportunities in the arts. This is why our new strategic plan emphasizes arts education," Sharples said. "In our efforts, we are leading Oklahoma's team as one of ten states selected for Americans for the Arts' State Policy Pilot Program to strengthen arts education. In time, we will see dividends from our investments in this area."

Read more about the NEA's arts participation research.

Funding Available for Arts Research

Funding for the support of research that investigates the value and/or impact of the arts is available through National Endowment for the Arts' (NEA) Research: Art Works grant program. Eligible projects may fall under one of two areas:

  • Value and Impact – projects that examine the value and/or impact of the arts by using data and methods appropriate to research questions.
    Grants range from $10,000-$30,000.

  • Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs – projects that test causal or inferred-causal impact of the arts by using experimental design methods.
    Grants range from $30,000-$100,000.

The first deadline for Research: Art Works grants is October 11.

For more information, visit the NEA's website.

Levitt Foundation Grant Brings Music to Your Community

Applications are open for the 2017 Levitt AMP [Your City] Grant Award. Each year, up to 15 communities around the country are selected to partner with Levitt AMP to present a free, outdoor concert series featuring a diverse and family-friendly mix of respected musicians.

Nonprofit organizations operating in small and mid-sized towns are invited to apply. An online public voting process will decide the Top 25 finalists. Each grantee selected by The Levitt Foundation will receive matching funds as well as a Levitt AMP Toolkit with resources necessary for hosting the 10 to 12 week series.

To begin the application process, visit the Levitt Foundation website.

Applications will close October 10.

Plan Now for National Arts & Humanities Month

October is National Arts & Humanities Month, and Americans for the Arts is inviting individuals and organizations working in the arts to plan now for taking part in the month-long celebration.

How to get involved:

Americans for the Arts has created a resource page with toolkits and ideas for ways to celebrate National Arts & Humanities Month. Ideas include Creative Conversations, an open house, special performance, a Community Vision Forum, and more.

Join the celebration online:

To join in the discussion online and increase awareness of National Arts & Humanities Month, Americans for the Arts is inviting the public to use #ShowYourArt and share related images in their social media posts during October.

To connect with Americans for the Arts on social media, and to learn how you or your organization can celebrate National Arts & Humanities Month during October, visit

$100K RFQ Issued for Norman Public Art

The Norman Arts Council, on behalf of the City of Norman, is seeking artists to create a significant work of public art for a new community aquatic center.
Open to professional artists with experience working on public art projects and site-specific works, the project budget is $100,000. Applications are due Monday, September 26. The project is part of the Norman Forward Percent for Art program, an initiative approved by residents in 2015 to fund quality of life projects.

View the application guidelines.