Depending upon the type of artist(s) you are seeking for your program, it might be helpful to contact them prior to creating your budget in order to find out if they are available and inquire about their fees. Some artists (or agents that represent artists) may be open to negotiating their fees.
If you need help finding artists to hire for your program, you can refer to the Oklahoma Performing Artist Roster or the Oklahoma Teaching Artist Roster for ideas. The Mid-America Artist Registry also provides a list of artists from the region that are available to tour Oklahoma.
Once details for artistic services are confirmed, create and send a contract to the artist(s). The contract should include the following: description of artistic services with date time and location, any agreements in regards to travel/lodging/per diem and a deadline for when the signed contract must be returned to you. You may also need to send a W-2 form with the contract since the artist will be hired as a contract employee. The contract should include the signature of someone representing your organization as well as the artist (or representative of the artist, such as an agent.) Make sure you also provide the artist with a copy of the signed contract.
If your project is reliant upon uncertain factors such as financial assistance yet you wish to move forward with the artist agreement, you can create a letter of intent to send the artist to begin the agreement process. For example, if your project requires financial support through a grant from the Oklahoma Arts Council, the letter of intent should still include the details about the requested artistic services, but the letter should also include a clause that states the agreement will be confirmed once the grant from the Oklahoma Arts Council has been approved. After the grant has been approved, you can proceed by sending the artist a formal contract.