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Oklahoma Arts Council News

July 2017

Report Shows $872.8 Million Impact of Oklahoma Nonprofit Arts Industry

After nearly eight years, updated data on the economic impact of Oklahoma's nonprofit arts and cultural industry has been released. More than $872.8 million in economic activity is generated by the industry, according to the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 report for Oklahoma.

The study, which includes spending by audiences and organizations, shows the industry supports more than 29,000 full-time jobs in Oklahoma. The last time the study was conducted was 2008-09.

Led by Oklahomans for the Arts (OFTA), 3,823 audience surveys were completed at events across Oklahoma in 2016. In addition, information on the expenditures of 392 Oklahoma nonprofit organizations was collected – an increase from 247 organizations in the previous study.

According to OFTA, the growth in audiences from 5 million visits in 2008 to 12.7 million visits in 2015 is notable.

"Clearly (Oklahoma) arts and culture organizations are attracting larger audiences," OFTA notes on its website.

Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Amber Sharples said she is thrilled to see growth and momentum in the industry, and she is grateful for OFTA's efforts.

"Few if any industry can offer the same spark offered by the arts to ignite our economy while enriching our lives," Sharples said. "We now have a clearer picture of how our industry diversifies and strengthens Oklahoma's economy. My thanks to Oklahomans for the Arts for leading partners from across the state on this important study that shows a significant return on an investment in the arts."

Download the report.

Read a news story about the Oklahoma study.

FAQs about the Oklahoma study.

2017 Oklahoma Arts Conference Theme Announced

"True North" is the theme of the 2017 Oklahoma Arts Conference, set to take place in Enid, October 25-26 with preconference activities scheduled October 24.

The theme highlights how the conference will help artists, organizations, and communities discover where the arts are headed in meeting important needs across society in the 21st century. During the conference, attendees will learn how they can align their principles, goals, and activities with the trajectory of the arts industry to ensure the maximum relevance of their work. 

Plan now to join more than 400 of your peers from throughout Oklahoma in Enid, October 24-26. Details about presenters, panelists, conference events, and more will be announced soon. Registration for the 2017 Oklahoma Arts Conference opens in August.

Visit the Oklahoma Arts Conference page to learn more.

View photos from the 2016 conference in Stillwater.

[true north — the correct course or the right direction. A reference to finding the position of the North Pole so as to navigate properly]

NEA Announces $934,500 in Funding for Oklahoma

Durant, Spencer and Weatherford are among the Oklahoma communities that will directly benefit from the second round of fiscal year 2017 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant, announced June 14. 

The federal arts agency will invest seven grants totaling $934,500 in Oklahoma, serving areas across the state. With the NEA's first round of fiscal year 2017 grants, this is the most the agency has invested in Oklahoma in nearly a decade.

Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Amber Sharples said the investment is welcomed amid a series of state budget cuts for the arts. 

Grantees include:

  • Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma – $10,000 to support a documentary film series on Choctaw art and culture.

  • Bring Back the Music – $75,000 to redevelop abandoned property in Spencer, Oklahoma as a community arts center.

  • Oklahoma State University – $20,000 to support a retrospective exhibition on Oklahoma artist J. Jay McVicker.

  • Philbrook Museum of Art – $20,000 for "The Collective," the museum's teen outreach and engagement program.

  • Tulsa Foundation for Architecture – $75,000 to install temporary public art and program related activities to rejuvenate Tulsa's Deco District.

  • Southwestern Oklahoma State University – $10,000 for a series of cultural events commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Washita River Massacre.

  • Oklahoma Arts Council – $724,500 to support state agency partnership activities, making the arts accessible to Oklahomans statewide.

Read the NEA's announcement.

Learn more about each of the grants for Oklahoma.

Related: Apply for an NEA Our Town grant by September 11.

Oklahomans Earn Innovation Grants from M-AAA

Three Oklahoma projects have earned funding through the Artist Innovations grant program of the Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA). The program provides support to individual artists and arts organizations in the region for the creation of new artworks that result in public engagement. Regional states include Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Oklahoma projects funded through the program include:

  • Lance McDaniel (Oklahoma City) – $15,000 to produce a collection of three short films, titled The Waving Wheat Trilogy, that will use artists to tell stories about life in rural Oklahoma.
  • Sheryl Martin (Norman) – $15,000 to produce the first in a series of documentary theater projects focusing on the lives and food-related issues of the citizens of Norman.
  • Classen Ten Penn Neighborhood Association (Oklahoma City) – $15,000 to employ artists and student artists to create new and original works of public art as a means of addressing safety and public perception issues faced by theneighborhood.

Learn more about the Oklahoma projects.

Related: M-AAA Regional Touring Program grants can help you present regional artists.

Community Facility Grants Available from USDA Rural Development

Funding to support the development of community facilities in rural areas is currently available through the USDA Rural Development office. Planning efforts for facilities that would offer arts and cultural programs may benefit.

The Community Facilities Technical Assistance and Training Grant program enables communities to hire specialized personnel, pay for studies, retain consultants, and identify and plan for long-term community facility needs. Technical assistance offered through the program helps communities improve their ability to qualify for loans and grants.

Eligible areas include rural communities and tribal lands outside the boundaries of a city with a population of 20,000 or more people.

Public entities, nonprofit organizations, and federally recognized tribes are eligible to apply for the program. Funding of up to $150,000 is available.

Visit the USDA Rural Development website for details. A downloadable program factsheet is also available. Deadline to apply is July 24, 2017.

Bring a Music Series to Your Town Through Levitt Grants

Small- and mid-size Oklahoma towns interested in bringing a music series to residents are encouraged to learn about Levitt Amp [Your City] Grant Awards.

Nonprofit organizations serving communities with populations of up to 400,000 can apply for the program, which provides $25,000 in matching funds to present a minimum of 10 free outdoor concerts. The award can enhance already existing concert series.

Communities that have benefited from past awards include Denison, Texas; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Chattanooga, Tennessee; and, other cities.

Grant recipients are responsible for booking talent, however Levitt AMP does provide a toolkit that includes a list of talent managers and agents from across the country who represent high-quality artists.

The goal of the program is to amplify community pride, enrich lives, and illustrate the importance of vibrant places.

Deadline to submit an application is October 2, 2017. Learn how to apply here 

APAP Offers Young Performers Chance to Advance Careers

Each year, the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) supports the brightest emerging starts in classical music from across the nation through its Young Performers Career Advancement (YPCA) program.

Designed to support classical musicians in the formative stages of their careers, the program gives an overview of the presenting and touring industry and provides expert instruction in developing audience engagement skills. Artists who are selected to participate in the program attend intensive seminars at the APAP conference in New York City and meet established presenters, agents, managers, and other artists.

Artists can be soloists, duos or any combination of artists comprising an ensemble. Participants must be in the first 10 years of his/her professional career.

APAP's annual conference will take place January 12-16, 2018.

Download the YPAC 2018 Guidelines and Application Preview. Deadline to apply is July 20, 2017.

Support Available for Projects Addressing American Art

Through its Responsive Grants program, the Luce Foundation seeks to support the development of and address important needs in the field of American art. Letters of inquiry for funding through the program are accepted year-round from eligible 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations.

Projects that can be supported through the program include, but are not limited to, permanent collection reinstallations, digitization, and archives of American art material.

Additional information about Responsive Grants from the Luce Foundation are available on the foundation's website.

Governor Appoints New Oklahoma Arts Council Board Members

Governor Mary Fallin has made six new appointments to the board of the Oklahoma Arts Council. Appointments include William E. Beckman Jr., Fred Hall, Judy J. Hatfield, Charles N. Moore Sr., Becky J. Frank, and Roshan Pujari. New members represent Muskogee, Oklahoma City, and Tulsa.

The 15-member board oversees agency activities, including the investment of public funds through agency grant programs. Members are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the state Senate.

Read more in the Governor's announcement.