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Oklahoma Arts Council News

May 2018

Oklahoma Cattle Ranching Gets Tribute in Painting Unveiled at State Capitol

OKLAHOMA CITY (May 4, 2018) – A new painting for the Oklahoma State Capitol Art Collection that pays tribute to the history of family ranching in northeast Oklahoma was unveiled on Wednesday, May 2 on the floor of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. The privately funded commission of “Rocking Chair Ranch, Osage Co.” was led by Oklahoma State Representative Earl Sears of Bartlesville and facilitated by the Oklahoma Arts Council.

Read the news release.

Stabilized Budget for the Arts in FY19 Budget

Signed by Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin on April 30, the state's fiscal year 2019 budget is the first in several years that maintains stable funding for most state agencies, including the Oklahoma Arts Council.

Dating back to fiscal year 2009, a series of budget cuts has reduced the Oklahoma Arts Council's budget by 46 percent, leading to steep reductions in the agency's grant investments in schools and communities and resulting in the suspension of programs such as Leadership Arts.

Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Amber Sharples commented on the fiscal year 2019 budget.

"For the foreseeable future, we will continue to deal with the fallout of compounding, multi-year budget cuts to our agency. However, members of our board and staff are hopeful that the worst is behind us. We remain devoted to the need to invest in the arts as essential tools for strengthening education and bolstering communities across Oklahoma."

Read about the FY19 budget in this news article.

Oklahoma Arts Council Seeks Next State Poet Laureate

The Oklahoma Arts Council is now accepting nominations for the state's next poet laureate. Submissions will be accepted through June 30 from poetry societies, writers' groups, colleges and universities, local arts and humanities councils, and libraries.

Every two years, on behalf of the Governor, the Oklahoma Arts Council accepts nominations for the honorary position of Oklahoma State Poet Laureate. The history of poets laureate in Oklahoma dates back to 1923. The state Legislature formally codified the position in statute in 1994.

A nominations review committee coordinated by the Oklahoma Arts Council and comprised of individuals with experience in the literary arts will make a recommendation to the Governor. The Governor has the authority to make the final determination and appointment.

For guidelines and a nomination form, download the nomination packet.

For more information about the program, visit our website.

NOTE: Due to Oklahoma Arts Council budget cuts, direct compensation in the form of honoraria is no longer provided to the Oklahoma State Poet Laureate. However, Oklahoma Arts Council grant funding may be available to support organizations and schools with presenting the laureate.

Disaster Response Resources for Artists, Arts Organizations

With recent wildfires affecting thousands of Oklahomans and tornado season quickly approaching, spring is a good time for artists and organizations to review their plans for protecting their work.

In the event a disaster affects you and/or your work, the Oklahoma Arts Council (OAC) is prepared to help. From offering flexibility with your OAC grant application to connecting you to state and national organizations that may offer assistance, our agency is meant to be a resource for you. Below are additional resources to bookmark as you review your disaster response plan:

National resources

CERF+ – "The Artists Safety Net," CERF+ is a national nonprofit organization that uniquely focuses on safeguarding artists' livelihoods.

Joan Mitchell Foundation – offers emergency support to visual artists who have suffered significant losses after natural or man-made disasters.

Pollock-Krasner Foundation – Emergency Relief Grants may be available from this foundation, which has assisted artists affected by recent hurricanes and wildfires.

Statewide resources

Organizations with a statewide reach may be valuable resources following disasters:

Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition (OVAC) – supports Oklahoma visual artists by offering education, exposure, and funding.

Oklahoma Museums Association (OMA) – supports Oklahoma museums by offering professional training and technical information.

In the rare occasion a disaster affects you or your work, the staff of the Oklahoma Arts Council is available to connect you to vital national and state resources.

Deadlines Approaching for Two NEA Grant Programs

Two grant programs of the National Endowment for the Arts have upcoming deadlines. Oklahoma organizations presenting arts and cultural programs or planning creative place-based design projects are encouraged to apply.

Deadlines are approaching in two grant categories:

  • Art Works – grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 are available to support a wide variety of activities across disciplines. Deadline to apply for an Art Works grant is July 12. 

  • Our Town – grants ranging from $25,000 to $200,000 can support the engagement, planning, and design of projects that feature art and cultural assets as tools for improving quality of life in communities. A partnership between a nonprofit organization and a local government entity is required. Deadline to apply for an Our Town grant is August 9.

Visit the NEA's grants page for more information.

$10,000 Grants for Photographers

Grants of up to $10,000 are available to artists working in photography and photo-based art through the Aaron Siskind Foundation's Individual Photographer's Fellowship Grant program.

Recipients will be selected by a panel of judges based on artistic excellence, accomplishments, and the promise of future achievement in the medium of photography. Applicants must be at least 21 years of age.

Applications are due May 18. Applications require work samples, an artist statement, career summary, and more.

Click here to learn more about the Individual Photographer's Fellowship program.

Call for Entries for VSA Emerging Young Artists Program

A Jean Kennedy Smith Arts and Disability Program, the VSA Emerging Young Artists Program recognizes and showcases the work of emerging young artists with disabilities.

The program is currently featuring a call for entries for artwork from individuals ages 16-25 who have a disability and are residing in the United States. From painting and drawing to sculpture, folk art, photography, video, and graphic arts, all forms of artwork are eligible. Artwork should reflect the theme, Detour.

Awards of up to $20,000 will be provided to selected winners. Winning artwork will be exhibited in a year-long national touring exhibition. Artists will also attend an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. for a professional development workshop.

Eligible emerging young Oklahoma artists are urged to apply by the May 31 deadline.

View the call for entries.

Become a Blue Star Museum this Summer

Museums across Oklahoma are urged to be part of this summer's Blue Star Museums program, providing free museum admission to active duty military and their families throughout the summer months. Oklahoma museums can be among the more than 2,000 that participate nationwide each year. The program is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense and Blue Star Families.

To become a Blue Star museum, visit this sign up page on the NEA's website (museums that previously participated will need to register again).

NEA Chair Jane Chu says that the Blue Star Museums program, "sends our nation's military families a clear signal that the museums of the nation recognize and honor their contributions by opening their doors to share the treasures of the nation with those who have been serving so long and so faithfully."

Visit the Blue Star Museums page to learn more.

See Oklahoma museums that have already signed up.

Present Regional Artists through M-AAA's Touring Program

Accepted on a rolling basis, applications for the Regional Touring Program of the Mid-America Arts Alliance may be submitted by presenting organizations wishing to showcase artists from outside of Oklahoma.

Awards of up to 50 percent of the artist's fee are available to present artists listed on the touring rosters of states in the M-AAA region.

Awards of up to 25 percent of the artist's fee are available to present artists who are not listed on the touring rosters of states in the M-AAA region.

An additional 10 percent of the artist's fee may be awarded to presenters located in rural areas.

Grant applications and guidelines for projects happening between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019 will be available in May 2018. It is recommended that organizations apply early in the fiscal year as funding is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Click here to learn more.

Become an Artist-in-Residence at a National Park

Artist residencies in America's national parks offer unforgettable experiences that can inspire the creative spirit and broaden an artist's horizons. Residencies are now available at select parks across the country through the National Park Arts Foundation.

Oklahoma visual artists, writers, poets, songwriters, screenwriters, and others are encouraged to explore available residency opportunities.

Upcoming opportunities include residencies in Hawaii, New Mexico, Pennsylvania (Gettysburg), and Florida. Most residencies feature a $2,000 stipend and lodging.

Application deadlines and residency calendars vary. Check each individual park's residency information for details. View current residency opportunities here.

Save the Dates: Oklahoma Arts Conference is October 23-25

Oklahoma City's Film Row district will be the epicenter of the state arts community when more than 400 individuals from Oklahoma communities far and wide convene for the 2018 Oklahoma Arts Conference on October 24-25. Pre-conference activities will take place October 23.

Mark the dates on your calendar now and plan to experience firsthand the ongoing resurgence of this western downtown Oklahoma City district.

Among the district's cultural assets are the 21C Museum HotelThe Jones AssemblyIAO Gallery, the Oklahoma City Girls Art School, and numerous individual studios and creative spaces. The district is blocks away from the Civic Center Music Hall, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, the Myriad Gardens, and the forthcoming Oklahoma City streetcar route. It is also within a diverse urban core that features Historic Capitol Hill , the Deep Deuce District, and the Jewel Theater.

Stay tuned for updates on featured conference speakers, sessions, pre-conference offerings, and more.

Visit the Oklahoma Arts Conference page to learn about the annual event. Follow the conference Instagram page to see photos.