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Oklahoma Arts Council News

December 2020

Oklahoma Arts Council Announces Investment of $3 Million in Relief Grant Awards for State Arts and Cultural Industry


OKLAHOMA CITY (December 16, 2020) – Nearly 170 organizations serving 48 Oklahoma communities will receive a share of $3 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding made available to the arts and cultural sector by Oklahoma Governor J. Kevin Stitt. Administered as Oklahoma Arts and Cultural Industry Relief Grants by the Oklahoma Arts Council, the funding will bolster organizations whose arts programs are vital to economic development, quality of life, and education in Oklahoma.

Read the full news release...

Arts and Cultural Industry Relief Grant Applications Due December 8

Organizations have until December 8 to apply for part of $3 million in funding allocated by Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt for the state's arts and cultural sector. Administered by the Oklahoma Arts Council, Oklahoma Arts and Cultural Industry Relief Grants ranging from $2,500 to $100,000 are available to nonprofit arts and cultural organizations, museums, historical societies, colleges and universities, public libraries, tribal nations, and departments of city and county government.

Applicants must have a current-year operating budget of at least $10,000 and must present arts programming. Funding must be used for eligible expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Expenses dating from March 15, 2020, to December 30, 2020, are eligible. Payroll for COVID coordinators, distance learning, business interruption, personal protective equipment, sanitization, and other COVID-19 related expenses are eligible for reimbursement through the funding.

Organizations that are new to Oklahoma Arts Council grants must request a login to our grant system by December 4. 

Applications for the relief grant must be submitted by December 8.

New Home for Betty Price Gallery at State Capitol

Since 2007, the Oklahoma State Art Collection has had a permanent home in the Betty Price Gallery on the first floor of the Oklahoma State Capitol. After more than 13 years in the space, the gallery will soon have a new home on the building's second floor, as Capitol restoration work continues to redefine the historic building.

In November, the Oklahoma Arts Council and the Oklahoma State Legislature announced the change of venue for the gallery that displays a collection of more than 400 works of art by Oklahoma's most notable visual artists. In its new space near the rotunda and Grand Staircase, the gallery will have enhanced visibility and foot traffic. The "Beyond the Centennial" mural will provide a dynamic backdrop. The move, which was unanimously approved by the State Capitol Repair Expenditure Oversight Committee, will cost about $1.3 million.

Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Amber Sharples expressed thanks to legislative leaders.

"By securing a permanent and museum-quality space in the Capitol for the Betty Price Gallery, leaders have demonstrated a commitment to the creative spirit of our people and the unique perspectives of the world around us seen through the eyes of Oklahoma artists," said Sharples.

Download Lessons From Oklahoma Online Fine Arts Curriculum

As thousands of Oklahoma students continue learning from home during COVID-19, the Oklahoma Arts Council has made new resources available for meeting their arts education needs.

Oklahoma Online Fine Arts Curriculum is the result of the Council's efforts in coordination with Oklahoma teaching artists to provide curriculum tailored to a wide range of grade levels across artistic disciplines. Developed to align with the Oklahoma Academic Standards for Fine Arts, the curriculum is free to download for use in distance learning or in the classroom.

Students can learn through activities in curriculum such as "Creative Movement: Exploration of the Elements" (dance), "Mighty Magnificent Monarch Butterfly" (visual arts), "Dimensional Thinking: Poetry/Perspectives," "Molding Music: A Young Beginner's Guide to Composition," and more. All are designed by Oklahoma artists.

Click here to visit the Oklahoma Online Fine Arts Curriculum page.

OVAC Opens Second Round of Visual Artists Emergency Grants

The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition has opened its second round of Oklahoma Visual Artists Emergency Grants through its partnership with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Deadline to apply is December 14.

Visual artists across the state who have experienced financial hardship due to the current economic crisis may be able to receive help through the program.

Through its two rounds of funding, a total of 80 grants will be awarded. Each $1,000 grant will be awarded through a lottery system. Artists must demonstrate that they are practicing artists and must attest to having experienced financial hardship due to the crisis. A short written description of the personal impact of the crisis is required.

Find out how to apply here.

Oklahoma One of Five States Eligible for Thoma Foundation Grants

Oklahoma is one of five states where cultural organizations are eligible to apply for up to $100,000 through the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation's new Digital Changemaker Grant program. Geared for small to mid-size arts and cultural organizations, the grants will be provided to organizations to execute digital projects that refine or evolve their digital strategy. Funds may be used for projects such as curating digital exhibitions, improving audience engagement, digitizing collections, improving accessibility to content and services, and more. Museums, cultural heritage centers, tribal organizations, libraries, and local councils are among the potential types of organizations that can receive funding.

Learn more about the Digital Changemaker Grant program.

March 11, 2021 is the deadline for applications.

Click here to apply

RFQ for Tulsa Airport Mural Project

Oklahoma artists are being sought for a mural project at the Tulsa International Airport. Administered under the Oklahoma Art in Public Places program, the project is a partnership of the Oklahoma Arts Council, Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell, and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.

For the mural, artists will add their creative lens to the new official state brand, creating a colorful and visually impactful artwork that will greet visitors coming to Oklahoma from around the world. The mural will be created in a prominent, highly trafficked concourse, with the goal of highlighting Oklahoma as a dynamic place to live, work, and play.

Artists or artist teams selected to create the mural will receive $6,000. Artist qualifications may be submitted through the deadline of December 15. Submit qualifications here.

Click here to download the RFQ.

Tulsa Artist Fellowship Accepting Applications for 2021-2023

Oklahoma artists and artists from across the nation can apply through January 15 for the 2021-2023 term of the Tulsa Artist Fellowship. Established in 2015 by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, the program is a globally recognized model for mobilizing communities with the transformative power of art.

Artists accepted into the program receive a $40,000 stipend over two years, subsidized housing in the Tulsa Arts District or Greenwood District, fully subsidized studio space with access to shared facilities, and other benefits.

Artists or arts workers of any medium and/or discipline with five years of professional experience are eligible. The merit-based program encourages fellows to engage the community through activities such as readings, symposiums, exhibitions, performances, and more. Virtual or outdoor platforms for community engagement are being used during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Tulsa Artist Fellowship is committed to fostering an equitable environment where a diverse and inclusive community of artists and arts workers have the opportunity to thrive professionally.

Visit for details.

Apply for the program here.

Reminder to Take the AFTA COVID-19 Survey in December

State arts and cultural leaders are continuing to analyze trends from the impact of COVID-19 on the arts sector. Data is important in showing public and private funders how the pandemic is resulting in 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:

Remember to take the survey monthly and add a reminder to your calendar.

Oklahoma's Joy Harjo To Serve Rare Third Term as U.S. Poet Laureate

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, United States Poet Laureate Joy Harjo "has shown how poetry can help steady us and nurture us," according to Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. Now in her second year as the nation's laureate, Harjo has been appointed to a third term by Hayden. The term begins in September 2021. 

A resident of Tulsa and member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, Harjo is the first Native American U.S. Poet Laureate. She will be only the second laureate appointed to a third term since the position was established 77 years ago.

Harjo said she has been honored to serve as laureate during the COVID-19 pandemic, citing poetry's place and value during an extraordinary time of transformation.

Read about Joy Harjo's reappointment as U.S. Poet Laureate.

Performers Sought for Libraries' Summer Reading Programs

Each summer, libraries across Oklahoma serve communities through programming for children and teenagers. Coordinated by the Oklahoma Department of Libraires (ODL), activities offered through the Oklahoma Summer Reading Program encourage young people to read during their out-of-school time.

Oklahoma performing artists are a featured part of many of the activities offered by individual libraries as part of the program. ODL is currently seeking submissions from artists interested in participating.

Up to five programs may be submitted by performing artists for the libraries to consider as they begin booking programs for 2021-2024. Each year focuses on a different theme. For 2021, "Tails and Tales" are the focus in a theme about animals.

Artists can submit their programs here for considerations

Harvey Pratt's Memorial Design Opens in Washington D.C.

Oklahoma artist Harvey Pratt's (Cheyenne and Arapaho) design for the National Native American Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., was dedicated during a special virtual ceremony on Veterans Day, November 11. Pratt's winning design, "Warrior's Circle of Honor" was selected from among more than 120 entries submitted for the memorial, which had been planned for nearly 20 years. The memorial is located at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, near some of the nation's most recognized iconic monuments.

View the dedication program for the new memorial here. The program honors the service and sacrifice of Native veterans. It includes a virtual tour of the memorial.

Oklahoma Arts and Cultural Industry Relief Grants to Support Organizations in Pandemic Response

OKLAHOMA CITY (December 1, 2020) – The Oklahoma Arts Council is pleased to announce that Governor J. Kevin Stitt has allocated $3 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to support Oklahoma’s arts and cultural sector. The funding is being made available to organizations statewide beginning December 1 through Oklahoma Arts and Cultural Industry Relief Grants administered by the Oklahoma Arts Council ranging from $2,500 to $100,000.

Read the full release...