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Oklahoma Arts Council News

January 2018

Wanda Jackson to be Designated as Oklahoma’s Thirteenth Cultural Treasure

OKLAHOMA CITY (January 25, 2018) – The “Queen of Rockabilly,” Wanda Jackson, an Oklahoma City native and 1950s rockabilly music pioneer will be designated as the 13th Oklahoma Cultural Treasure on February 28 at the 2018 Governor’s Arts Awards ceremony.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin will be joined by Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Amber Sharples to confer the designation. The awards ceremony will take place from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the fourth floor rotunda at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2009, Jackson made her mark as an influential rockabilly singer at a time when the genre was dominated by male artists. Initially a country music artist, Jackson evolved her music into rockabilly during the mid-1950s at the encouragement of Elvis Presley.

Read the full news release.

2018 Governor's Arts Awards Recipients Announced

OKLAHOMA CITY (January 10, 2018) - The Oklahoma Arts Council has announced the names of 14 individuals and five organizations that will be honored for their contributions to the arts in Oklahoma during the 42nd Governor’s Arts Awards on Wednesday, February 28, 2018.

The awards will be presented during a special ceremony beginning at 4:00 p.m. in the fourth floor rotunda at the Oklahoma state Capitol. A reception will follow outside the Betty Price Gallery on the Capitol's first floor. The event is free and open to the public.

Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Amber Sharples cited the impact of the awards on generating support for arts programs in communities and schools across Oklahoma.

“Through honoring the efforts of generous and devoted volunteers, professionals, businesses, educators, and others, we offer a small but meaningful acknowledgment about the importance of the many actors required to empower the arts to thrive. The selection committee felt strongly that these honorees warrant our gratitude.”

Read the full announcement with the names of this year's recipients.

NEA Announces its 2018 Grant Deadlines

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has announced its grant program deadlines for 2018. The first deadline is February 15 for the NEA's Art Works category. The category offers support ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 for projects. The deadline for the second round of Art Works is July 12.

Other categories include the Challenge Americagrant program, which provides $10,000 in support for projects that reach underserved populations. Deadline for Challenge America is April 12.

Applications for Creative Writing Fellowships are due March 7. Fellows receive non-matching grants of $25,000.

The deadline for the NEA's Our Town grant program will be announced at a later date. The program supports community-based design projects and cultural planning.

Review all NEA grant opportunities for organizations and individuals on their website at

Attend the Southwestern Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit

Entrepreneurship, art, and equity are the three topics to be explored at the 2018 Southwestern Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit in Denver, Colorado in April. Community and cultural planners, gallery owners, universities, municipal arts departments, social practice artists, Main Street organizations, and others from Oklahoma and regional states are encouraged to attend.

The summit is being produced by ArtPlace America, the University of Denver, and The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking and is being funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

The summit will take place April 6-7, 2018. Register at the earlybird rate of $150 through January 20.

Click here to learn more about the summit and view examples of planned sessions.

National Report with Oklahoma Arts Ed Task Force Work Released

Following three years of planning, research, and convenings that took place in 10 states across the U.S., including Oklahoma, Americans for the Arts has released a summary of findings from its State Policy Pilot Program (SP3). The goal of the program was to lay a foundation for strengthening arts education policies.

Identified in the report, keys to successful implementation of arts education policies include administrative influence, stakeholder engagement, curriculum, and funding. 

Barriers to successful policy implmentation include lack of resources, political divisions, and competing education priorities. 

Download the national SP3 report here to learn about key recommendations and more.

See case studies and research performed by the Oklahoma task force.

Deadline for Schools to Register for Poetry Out Loud

High schools across Oklahoma have until January 15 to register for the national Poetry Out Loud competition. The recitation competition helps students learn about their literary heritage about while building public speaking skills.

Curriculum and standards-based materials are free and available online. The program does not require full class periods.

Students and schools can earn cash prizes. State winners receive an all-expenses-paid trip with an adult chaperone to the national competition in Washington, D.C.

Visit the Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park website to register your school  by January 15. Download the teacher packet to learn more. The state competition is made possible through a partnership involving the Oklahoma Arts Council, Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Foundation.

Schools Can Earn $75k through Vans Custom Culture Competition

Inspiring students to embrace their creativity and bringing attention to diminishing arts education budgets, Vans Custom Culture is a national high school competition that provides up to $75,000 to high school art programs.

Schools that register and are selected as one of 500 across the nation to compete receive blank canvas Vans shoes to use in creating customized designs around two themes.

Art teachers or school administrators must register their schools by January 31. The competition is open to public high schools across the U.S.

Rules, FAQs, shoe templates, lesson plans, and more are available here.

Nominate a Teacher for an Award in Theatre Education

Tell the story of a dedicated theatre teacher who made a difference in your life and he or she could be honored at the 72nd annual Tony Awards®. Submissions for the 2018 Excellence in Theatre Education Award are due February 16.

Sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, the honor recognizes K-12 theatre educators who have demonstrated monumental impact on the lives of students while embodying the highest standards of the profession.

Candidates must be a current, living teacher at a K-12 institution or reputable theatre organization. Submissions requirements include letters of reference and a brief video.

Click here to nominate a teacher.

View award rules and guidelines.

Troy Powell of Union High School in Tulsa received a 2017 Honorable Mention.

Google 'Impact Challenge' to Support Nonprofits' Ideas for Oklahoma City

Four Oklahoma City area nonprofits with innovative ideas for projects that will create economic opportunity will receive up to $100,000 in grants and training through's Impact Challenge Oklahoma City. Eligible arts organizations are encouraged to participate.

Projects will judged in part on their innovative approach and potential to scale. Criteria includes community impact, innovation, reach, and feasibility. A panel of four local advisors will help review and select the winners.

There is no fee to apply. Applications are due January 19.

Learn more and apply here.

Apply for the NALAC Leadership Institute

Latinx artists, arts managers, and cultural promoters in Oklahoma are encouraged to learn about the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures' (NALAC) Leadership Institute, a rigorous week-long program that will take place July 16-21, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas

With an application deadline of February 15, the program delivers innovative and practical strategies for successful business practices in the arts. Curriculum topics include grant writing, capacity building, fundraising, marketing, strategic planning, and more.

To learn more, visit the NALAC website..

Visual, Literary Artists Can Apply for a 2019 Tulsa Artist Fellowship

Unrestricted awards of $20,000, free housing, and studio or co-working space is available to visual and literary artists selected for the Tulsa Artist Fellowship(TAF) program. A program of the George Kaiser Family Foundation, TAF is open to artists across the United States.

Fellowships are merit-based with a one-year term. A mix of local and national artists are sought for the program, and designated spots will be reserved for Native artists.

Apply now by March 1, 2018 for the program beginning January 2019.

Visit the Tulsa Artist Fellowship website for complete details.

Philbrook Museum Earns $75k Warhol Foundation Grant

Tulsa's Philbrook Museum of Art is one of 48 organizations nationwide selected to receive grant funding from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. The museum will receive $75,000 to support exhibition programming over two years.

Read the fall 2017 grant announcement.

Grants from the Warhol Foundation are available for scholarly exhibitions at museums, curatorial research, visual arts programming, artist residencies and commissions, and more. 

The next deadline to apply for funding from the Warhol Foundation is March 1, 2018. Click here for grant guidelines.