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Oklahoma Arts Council News

August 2020

Grants Available to Help Organizations Provide Arts Programs for Military Community


OKLAHOMA CITY (August 12, 2020) – Organizations interested in offering art programs for Oklahoma’s military community may be able to receive funding from the Oklahoma Arts Council to support their efforts. The state agency’s Oklahoma Arts and the Military Grants program can provide up to $5,000 to nonprofit organizations, local and tribal governments, universities, and public libraries for eligible arts programming including classes, workshops, professional development, performances, exhibitions, and more. Military and veteran support organizations are encouraged to apply. Applications will be accepted August 15 through September 15.

Read the news release.

Funding for Visual and Performing Arts Supplies Available to Oklahoma Schools


OKLAHOMA CITY (August 6, 2020) – Oklahoma schools with eligible fine arts staff can apply for up to $500 in funding from the Oklahoma Arts Council to purchase qualifying visual and performing arts supplies for the 2020-2021 school year. Applications are due September 15.

Read the news release.

Two Grant Programs Opening in August

Two grant programs introduced last year by the Oklahoma Arts Council will open again in August for the current fiscal year. Applications for funding through Oklahoma Arts and the Military Grants and Classroom Supply Grants for Visual and Performing Arts will be available soon.

Oklahoma Arts and the Military Grants are designed to empower organizations to serve military-connected individuals. Up to $5,000 in funding is available for learning-based and audience-based programs. Professional development programs are also eligible. Programs can serve active-duty service members, reservists, National Guard members, veterans, immediate family, and caregivers.

Classroom Supply Grants for Visual and Performing Arts can provide up to $500 to individual schools to purchase non-permanent supplies related to arts education. A wide range of supplies are eligible. Fine arts classes with supplies that can be supported include dance, drama/theatre, music, and visual arts (including media arts).

See examples of supplies that schools can purchase using the grant.

Applications for the grant programs will be available in August. Look for announcements soon.

State Poet Laureate Nominations Accepted through August 31

The Oklahoma Arts Council is accepting nominations for the next Oklahoma State Poet Laureate through August 31. Submissions by poetry socieites, libraries, local arts and humanities councils, colleges and universities, literary organizations, and writers' groups will be accepted.

Every two years, the agency administers the nominating process for the honorary position on behalf of the Governor of Oklahoma. Submitted nominations are reviewed by a committee, which makes recommendations to the Governor for the appointment.

Poets laureate are a tradition that originated hundreds of years ago. Laureates often host readings, workshops, lectures, and other events, promoting a greater appreciation of poetry. Oklahoma's heritage of poets laureate dates back to 1923. State lawmakers formalized the program in 1994, granting the Governor with the appointment authority.

nominations packet with guidelines and a nomination form is available at

Did You Know?

The Oklahoma Arts Council can provide grant funding to help bring the Oklahoma State Poet Laureate to your community or schools. Contact our grants office to learn how.

Oklahoma Arts Conference Rescheduled to May 2021

Originally scheduled this fall, the Oklahoma Arts Conference has been moved to next spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The statewide convening will take place in Muskogee, May 5-7, 2021.

Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Amber Sharples said a spring conference will be ideal to help the state arts sector recover from the pandemic.

"Hundreds of Oklahomans in the arts look forward to the conference for networking, sharing of best practices, and learning about innovative work impacting Oklahoma communities," said Sharples. "We look forward to a safer, more appropriate time when we can convene. In the meantime, the Oklahoma Arts Council will continue organizing virtual and online opportunities to meet needs in the arts sector."

More information about conference speakers, sessions, events, and more will be announced in the coming months. Artists, nonprofits, community developers, civic leaders, educators and others are encouraged to save May 5-7 on their calendars.

Read the announcement here.

Learn about the Oklahoma Arts Conference.

OSDE Releases Guidance for School Fine Arts Programs

A new publication of the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) aims to help arts educators prepare for the delivery of instruction during the 2020-2021 school year. 

The guide takes into consideration the need for arts educators to be flexible as they create and plan curriculum for a year that will likely see interruptions and changes to the learning environment. OSDE stresses that whether arts education is provided in-person or online, content should be grade-level specific, taught by a certified arts educator, and aligned with the new Oklahoma Academic Standards for Fine Arts.

Detailed guidance is offered for individual disciplines (dance, drama/theatre, music, visual art). Ideas relating to social distancing, sanitizing, use of video, HVAC filters, and more are presented. Links to additional resources are included.

Download Return to Learn 2020-21 Fine Arts Guidance.

Considerations for Your Online and Virtual Programming

From impromptu works captured by a smartphone and shared through social media to works that are scripted, choreographed, and professionally produced, a wide range of new content has emerged as artists and organizations have taken their services online in response to COVID-19.

To help Oklahomans navigate the quickly evolving landscape of online arts programming, the Oklahoma Arts Council has published a set of considerations for successfully engaging audiences in the virtual space.

Beginning with goal-setting, the guide encourages consideration of intended audience, projected content lifespan, budgeting, issues of diversity, equity and inclusion, and more. Links to additional resources are included.

Download Virtual Content, Digital Engagement, and Distance Learning Considerations.

Continue Taking COVID-19 Survey Monthly

State arts and cultural leaders are continuing to analyze trends in the impact of COVID-19 on the state's arts sector. Data is important in showing public and private funders how the pandemic is leading to sizable losses in revenue, jobs, and overall economic impact in Oklahoma.

To help the Oklahoma Arts Council and others track state-level data, cultural organizations, artists, and creative workers are urged to take the Americans for the Arts' (AFTA) COVID-19 Impact Survey once every month.

There is a survey for artists and creative workers, and there is a survey for organizations. Both require about five minutes to complete.

Click below to take the survey:

Commit to taking the survey monthly by adding a reminder to your calendar.

COVID-19 Aid Available Through Allied Arts

Cultural nonprofits serving and headquartered within the corporate limits of Oklahoma City can apply for funding from Allied Arts to assist with expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Up to $24,000 in assistance is available per organization.

Programming, services, and operations occuring within 12 months from the declaration of the COVID-19 national emergency on March 13 can be supported.

Funding is being provided by the City of Oklahoma City through COVID-19 related Community Development Block Grants of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Allied Arts is the administrator of the grant program.

Apply by August 10 at 5:00 p.m. CST.

Read the announcement here.

Literary Arts Emergency Fund Grants Available

Nonprofit literary arts organizations and publishers can apply through August 7 for emergency funds being provided through The Literary Arts Emergency Fund. One-time, unrestricted grants between $5,000 and $15,000 are available. Amounts will be determined by financial need and projected loss due to COVID-19. Considerations of diversity, equity, and inclusion and other factors will be used to determine grants. Eligible organizations may include:

  • Poetry organizations

  • Publishers (literary magazines and presses)

  • Literary or writers' center, book festivals, Writers in Schools programs, and literary presenting organizations

Funded by the Mellon Foundation, the program has been established through a collaboration of the Academy of American Poets, Community of Literary Magazine and Presses, and the National Book Foundation.

View guidelines and apply here.

Cultural Districts Could Benefit from New Grant Program

The HartBeat of Main Street Grant Program is a new program being offered to help older or historic districts that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative is designed to support brick-and-mortar businesses as they reopen.

Businesses and nonprofits in Oklahoma cultural districts are encouraged to look into the funding opportunity. Up to $15,000 will be awarded on a competitive and first-come, first-served basis, with a minimum of 50 percent of grants benefiting diverse-owned businesses as defined by the Small Business Administration.

Expenses eligible to be paid through the grant include physical improvements to meet reopening requirements, equipment to comply public health and safety guidelines, rent, payroll, and more.

Deadline to apply is August 23. Click here to learn more.

Oklahomans Awarded Artistic Innovations Grants

Oklahoma artists and arts organizations are among the list of Mid-America Arts Alliance Artistic Innovations Grants recipients for 2021. Three Oklahoma applicants will receive awards to support new, original works that will feature at least two events for the public.

Oklahoma grantees are:

  • Chamber Music Tulsa ($9,985) – In support of a piano trio commemorating the Tulsa Race Massacre, featuring original compositions and performances by Barron Ryan.

  • AutismOklahoma ($15,000) – "Duets" will pair artists on the autism spectrum with a locally recognized visual artist to complete a painting. Works will be exhibited during a showcase event.

  • Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition ($15,000) – Art 365 will support five Oklahoma artists developing inventive artistic projects that will culminate in an exhibition and a series of free workshops.

Artistic Innovations grants are designed to encourage experimentation and collaboration. Click here to learn more about the grant program.

Oklahomans Win Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award

Simon Han and Brent Newsom of Oklahoma have been selected by Poets & Writers as winners of the 2020 Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award. Han was recognized for his work in fiction, Newsom for poetry.

The award program aims to provide promising writers a network for professional advancement. Winners receive opportunities to meet with literary professionals, and they are offered a one-month residency at the Jentel Artist Residency Program in Wyoming.

Past winners have had their books published, received fellowships, secured teaching positions, and more. The program has helped launch the careers of best-selling authors.

Learn more about the two winning Oklahomans and the award program.