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Oklahoma Arts Council News

March 2018

Wanda Jackson Becomes 13th Oklahoma Cultural Treasure

The "Queen of Rockabilly," Wanda Jackson became the 13th person designated as an Oklahoma Cultural Treasure on February 28 during the 42nd annual Governor's Arts Awards at the Oklahoma State Capitol. Governor Mary Fallin and Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Amber Sharples presented Jackson with a commemorative plaque to mark the designation. A Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Jackson's career has influenced female artists such as Rosanne Cash, Adele, Bonnie Raitt, and Cyndi Lauper, among others.

The ceremony featured award-winning Oklahoma singer/songwriter Carter Sampson paying tribute to Jackson, performing two of Jackson's songs. Nineteen other individuals and organizations from throughout Oklahoma were presented with awards in various categories. View photos from the ceremony here.

Grant Opportunity for Administering Poetry Out Loud Contest

The Oklahoma Arts Council is seeking bids from organizations interested in administering the state's Poetry Out Loud contest.

A recitation competition involving millions of students across the U.S. annually, Poetry Out Loud was launched in 2006 by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in partnership with the Poetry Foundation. The program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.

The Oklahoma organization that submits the successful bid will receive a grant ranging from $13,500-$17,500 (contingent on NEA allotment for the program). Eligible organizations include 501(c)3 nonprofits, public universities, public libraries, and city, county and tribal governments.

Organizations should have the capacity to implement the contest statewide for high school students, and bids should demonstrate how Poetry Out Loud aligns with the organization's mission. Deadline to submit a bid is April 20.

Download the Invitation to Bid for complete guidelines.

Click here to learn more about the national Poetry Out Loud program.

Regional Placemaking Conference to Feature Oklahomans

Oklahomans are playing keys roles in an upcoming regional summit focused on place-based design. In addition to the Oklahoma Arts Council's serving as a partner in the Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit in Denver, April 6-7, two Oklahoma Leadership Arts graduates will be featured as presenters.

Cayla Lewis of Oklahoma City and Kelly Tompkins of Enid will present a workshop titled Telling Your Story: Data Collection to Demonstrate Local Impact. Lewis is the former executive director of Oklahoma City's Plaza District and current executive director of Preservation Oklahoma. Tompkins is director of Enid's Main Street program.

Lewis will also participate in a rondtable discussion titled Culture in Place: Building Cultural Districts through Entrepreneurship and Equity. The session will address the question of how a cultural district can prosper economically while enriching its community.

See the summit agenda for information about workshops, roundtables, and more.

Register for the southwestern region Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit. (NOTE: Oklahomans interested in attending can receive a 10 percent discount on registration using the code Partner2018.).

Oklahoma Organizations Earn NEA Grants

Six Oklahoma organizations are among the latest to receive funding through National Endowment for the Arts grant programs. The federal arts agency recently announced a total investment in Oklahoma of $125,000 in this round of funding.

Grantees in the Art Works category include:

Applications for Art Works grants are due July 12, 2018.

Grantees in the Challenge America category include:

  • Choregus Productions - $10,000 to support a performance of "Black Wall Street" with related educational activities.

  • Tulsa Symphony Orchestra - $10,000 to support a concert and related community engagement featuring the music of Eric Whitacre.

Applications for Challenge America grants are due April 12, 2018.

Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships

Five fellowships of more than $25,000 each will be awarded to young poets in the U.S. through a competition sponsored by the Poetry Foundation. The Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship program is intended to encourage the further study and writing of poetry.

Applicants must be at least 21 years of age and no older than 31 years of age as of April 30, 2018.

Submissions should include a 250-word introduction of the poet's work and 10 pages of poems, among other materials. Deadline to apply is April 30.

Visit the Poetry Foundation website for details.

Scholarships for High School Seniors Who Will Pursue Art

Scholarships of $1,000 each are available to three graduating high schools seniors in central Oklahoma who will major in an arts-related field at the college or university level. Students in music, drama, dance, art, photography, sculpture, and other related fields are eligible. The scholarships are being offered by the Oklahoma City chapter of the MacDowell Club of Allied Arts.

Applicants should demonstrate a need for help with private lessons, music, instruments, art supplies and other related materials. Applicants should also be prepared to demonstrate how they have been active in school and community services.

Deadline for submission is April 21, 2018. Complete guidelines are available at

Mayors Can Submit Proposals for Public Art Challenge

Through the Bloomberg Philanthropies' Public Art Challenge, mayors across the U.S. are invited to submit proposals for temporary innovative public art projects that enhance urban identity, encourage public-private collaborations, and strengthen local economies.

Elevating the creative sector's role in developing solutions to urban issues, the challenge will provide up to $1 million each to at least three cities over a two-year period. Proposals will be judged on their potential for positive impact, commitment to evaluating outcomes, and audience engagement strategies, among other criteria. Projects must include clear partnerships between local government, artists, and/or arts organizations.

Mayors of communities with populations of 30,000 or more are eligible to submit proposals. Deadline to apply is April 19.

Past winners include Gary, Indiana; Albany, New York; and, Spartanburg, South Carolina. Click the links to learn about their projects.

Click here to learn how to apply.

Fine Arts Director Sought at Department of Education

The Oklahoma State Department of Education is seeking a Director of Fine Arts to provide leadership and input regarding the long-range implementation of fine arts in curriculum based on the Oklahoma Academic Fine Arts Standards. Based in Oklahoma City, the position requires the provision of technical assistance to requesting districts and sites throughout the state.

Minimum qualifications required include a master's degree or National Board Certification, possession of a valid teaching certificate in Fine Arts, and experience teaching or coordinating the instruction of Fine Arts.

Read the full job description here.

Click here to apply.

Tulsa Artist Earns Oklahoma's First NALAC Grant

Oklahoma's Adrienne Dawes of Tulsa is among 40 Latinx artists nationwide who will receive grants from the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) for projects taking place in 2018. Dawes is the first Oklahoma artist to receive funding from the NALAC.

A playwright, Dawes will receive $5,000 to support research and development of an original performance piece exploring mixed-race identity. Dawes will incorporate the visual culture of casta painting, which was a unique genre of 18th century portraiture that depicted racial mixtures arranged according to a hierarchy of race and status. Information about Dawes' work is available at her website,

The NALAC Fund for the Arts was launched in 2005. In the announcement of this year's grantees, NALAC President and CEO María López de León said, "NALAC is committed to directly supporting artists who continue to create new work amplifying the stories of our diverse communities and identities."

Read about the projects being supported in 2018.

OFTA's 'Arts Day' Planned for April 11 at the Capitol

Oklahomans for the Arts (OFTA)—Oklahoma's statewide nonprofit arts advocacy organization—is inviting art supporters from across the state to gather at the Oklahoma State Capitol on Wednesday, April 11, for the annual Oklahoma Arts Day event.

Convening nearly 400 artists, arts and museum administrators, community leaders, nonprofit board members, educators, and others, Oklahoma Arts Day features a kickoff rally in the morning and presentations of performances throughout the day. Registration for the event is free and open to the public.

Details about OFTA's Oklahoma Arts Day, including instructions for parking and more, are available at