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Oklahoma Arts Council News

September 2019

Governor Proclaims 'U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo Day'

Representatives of the Oklahoma Arts Council were on hand as Governor Kevin Stitt proclaimed August 27 "U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo Day" in Oklahoma. The proclamation was presented to Harjo at the Tulsa Artist Fellowship studios following a visit between the Governor, Harjo, Oklahoma Arts Council board chair Ann Neal and Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Amber Sharples.

In his proclamation, the Governor said Harjo's role as the nation's official poet affirms Oklahoma's reputation for producing renowned literary figures. The Governor said Harjo's appointment elevates Oklahoma's cultural prominence nationally, enhancing our image as a place that fosters artistic expression and excellence in creativity.

Harjo was appointed the 23rd U.S. Poet Laureate by the Library of Congress on June 19, 2019. A member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, Harjo is the first Oklahoman and first Native American to hold the prestigious title.

Watch the News On 6 video of the proclamation.

See pictures from the Governor's visit.

Schools Can Apply for Classroom Supply Grants through Nov. 1

Applications are now open for schools to request up to $500 to purchase eligible art supplies and materials for their visual and performing arts classrooms. The Oklahoma Arts Council's new Classroom Supply Grants for Visual and Performing Arts program is available to PreK-12 public, public charter, and non-religious private schools statewide. Schools must have at least one part-time arts instructor in the discipline for which they seek funding.

Supplies for programs involving dance, drama and theatre, music, and visual arts (including media arts) can be purchased using grant funding. Eligible supplies include, but are not limited to, sheet music, props, instrument rental, drawing and painting materials, clay, cleaning supplies, and other consumable art materials.

Apply for a Classroom Supply Grant. Deadline to apply is November 1.

See the guidelines here.

Attend the Dedication of 'DNA IV' in Stillwater September 27

The public is invited to attend a September 27 special event dedicating a new work of public art on the campus of Oklahoma State University (OSU) in Stillwater. The event begins at 1:30 p.m. outside the new McKnight Center for the Performing Arts.

Acquired through the Oklahoma Art in Public Places program, the monumental sculpture "DNA IV" by artist Bill Barrett was installed earlier this summer outside the soon-to-be-completed McKnight Center. The center is a state-of-the-art facility that will present world class arts programming beginning in October.

Leading the dedication, OSU President Burns Hargis will be joined by Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Amber Sharples and state and local officials. Perpetual Motion Modern Dance will perform, and a reception and McKnight Center open house will follow. The event is free and open to the public.

Partners on the event include Oklahoma State University, the Oklahoma Arts Council, Oklahoma State University Foundation, the McKnight Center for the Performing Arts, and the OSU Museum of Art.

Learn more about "DNA IV" here.

Tulsa Seeks Artist Proposals for Greenwood Art Project

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum was joined by acclaimed artist and community developer Rick Lowe on August 22 for a press conference announcing a call for artist proposals for the Greenwood Art Project. The project is the art and cultural component of a series of events being planned in conjunction with the 2021 centennial of the Tulsa race massacre. It will support art works that reflect the tragedy, triumph, and future of Tulsa's historic Greenwood district.

Artists, designers, writers, musicians, poets, and others with Tulsa and Oklahoma roots are encouraged to submit proposals. Between 20 and 30 proposals will be accepted. Projects will be temporary art installations and should focus on the history of the district, from its legacy as Black Wall Street to the 1921 Massacre.

With guidance from Lowe, the Greenwood Art Project is being funded through a $1 million grant Tulsa received as one of six cities selected for Bloomberg Philanthropies' Public Art Challenge. Lowe will lead four workshops for interested artists, including workshops scheduled September 20-21 and October 10-11.

Artists have until November 1 to submit proposals.

Read about the project in this Tulsa World article.

Visit the Greenwood Art Project website.

Schools Can Register for Poetry Out Loud

Schools across Oklahoma are encouraged to participate in the 2019-20 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.

Registration will be open soon at

Oklahoma Heritage Preservation Grant Available

The Oklahoma Historical Society has announced a new grant program to assist in the preservation and sharing of collections associated with Oklahoma history. Municipal, county, or tribal governments or nonprofit historical organizations may receive support through the Oklahoma Heritage Preservation Grant Program.

Awards ranging from $1,000 to $20,000 will be granted for projects in in three categories: collections, exhibits, and programs. A 10 percent cash match is required. A list of the project types that may be eligible to be supported is available at

Applications will be available September 9. Deadline to apply is November 8.

Throughout September, the Oklahoma Historical Society will host presentations on the new grant program in different communities statewide. View a list of dates and locations for the presentations here.

NALAC Fund for the Arts Accepting Applications

The National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) is currently accepting applications for the NALAC Fund for the Arts. The program offers support through several categories for Latinx artists/ensembles and for organizations whose primary mission is focused on Latinx arts and culture in any discipline.

Awards of up to $10,000 will be granted. Funding can assist in the development, creation, presentation, and sustainbility or artistic excellence. For organizations, funding can be used for individual projects and programming or operational support.

Among the NALAC Fund for the Arts categories, the NALAC Pod Grant is open to Latinx artists or cultural workers for projects focusing on leadership development and network building.

Deadline to apply is September 25 for projects taking place in 2020. Click here to learn more.

State Farm Offering Good Neighbor Citizenship Grants

State Farm is offering grant funding in two areas that can impact the arts. Through its Good Neighbor Citizenship Company Grants program, State Farm provides support for community development and education.

Community development funding is provided for neighborhood revitalization, small business development, and other efforts that may relate to the arts.

Education funding is directed toward academic performance improvement programs, teacher development programs, initiatives that support underserved individuals, and service-learning programs.

Eligible organizations must request at least $5,000. Nonprofit organizations, chambers of commerce, and K-12 schools are among entities that are eligible to apply.

Applications are available through October 31. Visit for details.

Inspire! Grants for Small Museums

Grants for small museums ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 are available through the Institute of Museum and Library Services' Inspire! Grants for Small Museums initiative.

Part of the Museums for America program, the initiative is designed to help small museums address priorities in their strategic plans.

Project categories include:

  • Lifelong learning

  • Community anchors and catalysts

  • Collections stewardship and public access

Deadline for applications is November 15. Download the grant notice for complete details.

YoungArts' National Arts Competition

Emerging artists in Oklahoma ages 15-18 or in grades 10-12 are encouraged to apply for YoungArts' National Arts Competition. Open to students across the United States, the competition includes 10 disciplines in the performing and visual arts. Submissions are evaluated on merit through a blind adjudication process. Approximately 700 winners were selected in last year's competition.

Winners receive awards of up to $10,000, professional development, and mentorship opportunities. They also receive performance and exhibition opportunties at leading cultural institutions.

Applications are due October 11. Click here to learn more.

A new Oklahoma Arts Council grant program will help Oklahoma teachers buy supplies for their visual and performing arts classrooms. Beginning September 1, eligible schools statewide can apply for up to $500 in funding for qualifying materials through Classroom Supply Grants for Visual and Performing Arts