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Oklahoma Arts Council News

August 2018

Two Featured Presenters Announced for 2018 Oklahoma Arts Conference

The Oklahoma Arts Council is pleased to announce two influential and widely respected individuals in the national arts sector as featured presenters for the 2018 Oklahoma Arts Conference.

Janet Brown is the recently retired president and CEO of Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA), where she gained national recognition for leading GIA's bold racial equity in arts philanthropy work and for her focus on the financial health of the nonprofit art sector.

Arlene Goldbard is a writer, speaker, consultant, and cultural activist who is regarded as one of the most influential people in nonprofit arts. Goldbard has challenged and inspired artists, organizations, and communities nationwide through her uplifting and visionary presentations.

Other Conference Notes

In addition to the featured presenters, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt will provide welcoming remarks at the conference general session.

Dozens of breakout sessions are being planned for the two-plus day event. Sessions will feature national presenters, spotlight the work of local panelists, and more. Tours, networking events, receptions, and more will be part of the annual convening of the state's arts industry.

Taking place October 24-25 in Oklahoma City's Film Row District, the 2018 Oklahoma Arts Conference will serve hundreds of artists, nonprofit administrators, community developers, civic leaders, educators, students, and more. Registration begins soon at

Governor's Arts Awards Nominations Accepted through September 6

Since 1975, the Oklahoma Arts Council has organized and presented the Governor's Arts Awards ceremony as a way to honor individuals and organizations statewide whose efforts have in the arts have made a difference in their communities.

Through September 6, 2018, nominations are being accepted in several categories for the 2019 Governor's Arts Awards. Categories include:

  • The Arts in Education Award 
  • The Business in the Arts Award
  • The Community Service Award
  • The Media in the Arts Award 
  • The George Nigh Public Service in the Arts Award

Nominations require a narrative that addresses the nominee's efforts related to the award criteria. Optional support materials are also accepted.

A nomination form and guidelines are available at

View photos of the 2018 Governor's Arts Awards.

Oklahoma Schools Can Participate in Poetry Out Loud Competition

Schools across Oklahoma are encouraged to register to participate in the 2018-19 national Poetry Out Loud competition. Since 2005, the program has reached more than 3 million students nationwide, encouraging them to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation.

The program begins at the classroom level and winners advance to a school-wide competition for the chance to compete in the state and national finals. State level winners receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip with an adult chaperone to Washington, D.C. to compete in the national finals.

Teachers who are interested in implementing the program can contact Oklahoma A+ Schools, the state coordinator for the program. A teacher's guide, lesson plans, and more are available for download at

Poetry Out Loud was created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. It is administered nationally in partnership with state arts agencies such as the Oklahoma Arts Council.

Click here to learn how to register your school for the Oklahoma Poetry Out Loud competition.

Tulsa a Finalist for Bloomberg Public Art Challenge

The City of Tulsa is one of 14 finalists in the Bloomberg Public Art Challenge. Launched in 2014, the program encourages mayors to collaborate with artists and arts organizations to develop public art projects that address civic issues and enhance the vibrancy of cities.

Tulsa's proposed "Greenwood Art Project" would celebrate the Historic Greenwood District and deepen the collective understanding of its story. Once called Black Wall Street, the area was a thriving hub of black-owned businesses and commerce in the early 21st century that became subject to racially motivated attacks and destructive urban renewal policies. As the centennial of the Tulsa race massacre approaches in 2021, the project will help reclaim the history of the district.

At least three winners will be selected to receive a share of up to $1 million in funding. Winners will be announced in the fall of 2018.

Bloomberg Public Art Challenge projects must be innovative with the potential to positively impact the host city. Partnerships between local governmentt and artists and/or arts organizations are required, and there must a commitment to evaluating outcomes.

View the projects of the finalists here.

NALAC Fund for the Arts Grants Available

The National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) has announced grant opportunities in a variety of programs for Latinx artists and arts organizations in all creative disciplines. The funding is available for programs occurring in 2019.

Grant categories for artists and ensembles include:

  • The Artist Grant category offers $5,000 to Latinx artists or ensembles whose work demonstrates excellence and potential for impacting the Latino arts field.
  • A Mentorship Award of $25,000 will be awarded to a Latinx artist with at least 10 years of experience who has demonstrated mastery of his/her craft. The award supports exemplary mentor-mentee projects.
  • The Adán Medrano Legacy Award in Film in the amount of $10,000 is open to emerging Latinx video/filmmakers in the U.S.
  • The Transnational Travel Award provides roundtrip airfare to Latinx artists or ensembles based in the U.S. (guidelines will be available in August 2018).

Latinx arts organizations may be eligible for grants of up to $10,000, depending on organization size.

Applications are due Thursday, September 6, 2018.

Learn more about NALAC grants here.

Business Leadership Program for Native Artists

Inspiring Native artists to fully honor their cultural creativity and its impact, First Peoples Fund's Artists in Business Leadership program is a one-year self-directed program offering technical support, professional training, and working capital needed to start or grow a thriving arts business.

Oklahoma artists who are enrolled members of a federally recognized tribe or are of Alaska Native or Native Hawaiian descendancy can apply through September 30.

Since its launch in 2004, the program has benefited artists across a wide variety of disciplines, including photography, painting, basket weaving, hip-hop, and more. 

Artists who are selected for the program receive up to $5,000 to support specific entrepreneurial initiatives.

Find out more by visiting

RELATED: First Peoples Fund's Cultural Capital Fellowship Program supports the work of culture bearers in their efforts to pass along art, culture, and ancestral knowledge. Applications are due September 30.

Community Innovation Lab Workshops Offered by EmcArts

Building on the success of its Community Innovation Labs, EmcArts is offering two new workshop series in 2019 to help communities utilize the arts in grappling with complex community challenges.

Arts in Complex Community Change features six half-day interactive workshops over three to six months. Geared for teams comprised of community agencies and arts organizations, the series strengthens participants' ability to work adaptively to address community challenges and support lasting change through the arts.

Artists as Changes Agents within Complexity features four whole-day sessions over two to four months with locally-based artists who are interested in using their artistic practice to help foster community change.

Costs for workshops have been underwritten by the Kresge Foundation. Local partners are required to match a portion of the investment. Applications are due October 15 from communities interested in hosting workshops.

Visit for details.

Oklahoma Tribes Awarded IMLS Grants to Preserve Tribal Heritage

Oklahoma tribes have earned two of 22 recently announced grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) that are being invested toward the preservation of tribal culture and heritage.

The Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma and the Tonkawa Tribe of Oklahoma each earned awards of more than $70,000.

The Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma will apply the funding to launch a digital storytelling project that will sustain the stories of their elders for future generations.

The Tonkawa Tribe of Oklahoma will use its award to hire instructors to teach members how to craft traditional regalia for men and women.

Click here to learn more about these and other Native American and Hawaiian museum programs being supported in this round of IMLS funding.

GRAMMY Museum Grants Can Assist with Preservation, Research Projects

Archiving, preservation, and research projects related to the music and recorded sound heritage of North America may be eligible for support through the GRAMMY Museum Grant Program. Individuals and organizations may benefit from applying.

Preservation Implementation awards of up to $20,000 are available to help individuals and large organizations (budget greater than $1,000,000) enhance their ability to preserve their collections.

Preservation Assistance awards of up to $5,000 are available to help individuals and small to mid-sized organizations (budget less than $1,000,000) in the planning, assessment, and preparation of recorded sound collections.

Scientific Research Grants of up to $20,000 are available to support efforts by individuals and organizations to study links between music and early childhood education, the impact of music therapy, and more.

Letters of inquiry in all categories are required no later than October 15, 2018.

Capitol's First Sculpture Celebrated Following Restoration

The Oklahoma Arts Council joined Governor Mary Fallin, members of the Capitol Centennial Committee, and others on July 31 to celebrate the restoration and reinstallation of "Tribute to Range Riders," the Capitol's first exterior work of art.

Installed in 1930, the sculpture needed extensive repair following nearly nine decades of exposure to the harsh urban outdoor environment. Private funds raised by the Capitol Centennial Committee made the restoration possible. The Oklahoma Arts Council managed the process.

In her remarks at the event, Governor Fallin said the sculpture is an important part of Oklahoma history and there is an obligation to be good stewards of the Capitol artwork.

Thanking Governor Fallin for prioritizing the restoration of the sculpture, Amber Sharples, Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director, said, "As Oklahoma's Capitol is recognized nationwide for the amount of artwork on display for the public to experience, it is as much a museum as it is the center of state government."

Watch a video of the event.

Following the sculpture celebration outside, a new painting of the Oklahoma State Capitol was unveiled in the second floor rotunda. Commissioned by the Capitol Centennial Committee, the painting, "A Century of Service," was created by Oklahoma City artist Kenny McKenna. The piece will be installed in the lobby of the Governor's offices after the area undergoes renovation in the coming months. The commissioning was managed by the Oklahoma Arts Council.