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Oklahoma Arts Council News

March 2020

Survey Deadline: Help Shape the Next 5 Year

This Thursday, March 5, is the deadline to share your ideas for the next five years of the arts in Oklahoma. A 10-minute survey is currently open for any Oklahoman wishing to give their feedback to the Oklahoma Arts Council on ways the arts can be part of moving our state forward.

As a government agency, the work of the Oklahoma Arts Council should respond to the needs of Oklahomans across the state. Your ideas and responses to the questions in our strategic planning survey will help inform us of those needs.

Click here to take the survey. The deadline to complete the survey is Thursday.

Stops in Ardmore, Miami, and Lawton Planned for March

NOTE: Cornerstone Conversations have been indefinitely postponed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Updates will be posted here. Sign up for our newsletter to stay informed.

March dates for the Oklahoma Arts Council's statewide Cornerstone Conversations listening tour include Ardmore (March 3), Miami (March 10), and Lawton (March 30).

Designed to empower Oklahomans of all communities to partner with the Oklahoma Arts Council in creating shared goals for the arts, Cornerstone Conversations sessions are an important building block in the development of the new Oklahoma Arts Council strategic plan. Sessions feature individual and group exercises and discussion, opportunity to provide written feedback, and a 30-minute networking break with light refreshments.

There is no cost to attend a Cornerstone Conversations session, however RSVPs are requested. To reserve a seat at any of the below sessions, please send an email to or call (405) 521-2040.

  • Ardmore (The Goddard Center), March 3, 6:00 to 8:30 p.m.

  • Miami (Coleman Theatre), March 5, 4:00 to 6:30 p.m.

  • Lawton (Museum of the Great Plains), March 30, 5:30 to 8:00 p.m.

More tour stops will be announced soon. Go to for updates, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


The Oklahoma Arts Council wants to accommodate any individual interested in attending a listening session. If you have specific needs, please contact us in advance of a session to let us know how we can accommodate your needs and ensure your ability to fully participate. Send an email to or call (405) 521-2040.

Deadline Nears for OKPOP Public Art RFQ

Artists have until March 16 to submit qualifications to be considered for a new public art project planned for the forthcoming Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture (OKPOP) in the Tulsa Arts District. Total artwork budget for the project is $250,000. The call is open to all artists in all locations.

OKPOP is currently under construction across from historic Cain's Ballroom. When it opens in 2022, the museum will be an international destination that will attract thousands of people from around the world annually. The museum will highlight Oklahoma's creative spirit and the influence of its artists on popular culture around the world. Garth Brooks, Kristin Chenoweth, James Garner, Ron Howard, Leon Russell, Wes Studi, Bob Wills, Alfre Woodard, and dozens of others will be highlighted in the museum's collections when it opens.

The public art is part of the Oklahoma Art in Public Places program, administered by the Oklahoma Arts Council. The program requires that 1.5 percent of eligible State of Oklahoma capital improvement projects be invested in public art representing the history and values of the state.

Download the Request for Qualifications here.

To submit qualifications, click here.

Cultural District Bill Advances in Oklahoma Legislature

Senate Bill 106, a state legislative bill that would formalize the Oklahoma Arts Council Cultural District Initiative, has been passed by the Oklahoma State Senate with bipartisan support with a vote of 41-2. Authored by Senator Julia Kirt of Oklahoma City and co-authored by Representative Judd Strom of Bartlesville, the legislation now heads to the Oklahoma House of Representatives for consideration.

If passed and signed by the Governor, the Cultural Districts Initiative Act would provide additional definition and accountability for the initiative. Programs of the initiative provide funding, guidance, professional consultation and certification of cultural districts across the state. The Oklahoma Arts Council is one of only 15 state arts agencies nationwide with a cultural district program.

Read about the bill's passage here.

New Fine Arts Standards Approved by State Education Board

The Oklahoma State Board of Education voted February 27 to adopt new PreK-12 academic standards for fine arts education in Oklahoma. The vote approved not only updated standards for music and visual art, but for the first time in Oklahoma standards for dance and drama/theatre.

The process of creating the new standards involved months of work by three committees of individuals representing arts and education across the state. Oklahoma Arts Council Arts Education Director Jennifer Allen-Barron served on the Executive Committee. The new standards for dance and drama/theatre were the direct result of work done through the State Policy Pilot Program (SP3), a recent initiative led by Allen-Barron and the Oklahoma Arts Council in collaboration with Americans for the Arts aimed at strengthening arts education through public policy.

The updated standards now advance to the state Legislature to be considered for approval.

2020 Leadership Arts Opens with Quartz Mountain Session

The first session of the Oklahoma Arts Council's 2020 Leadership Arts program got underway February 27 at Quartz Mountain Resort Arts and Conference Center near Lone Wolf in southwest Oklahoma. A diverse group of 34 Oklahomans representing 18 communities gathered to discuss asset-based community development and group dynamics. Curriculum is designed for adult learners across cultural and educational backgrounds.

In addition to artists and nonprofit arts administrators, the 2020 class includes individuals working in regional colleges, a community bank, local chambers of commerce, city and county governments, and a public school district. Class members demonstrated in their Leadership Arts applications a strong desire to learn how to strengthen their communities and schools using the arts.

The 2020 program is the first to be held since the program was placed on hiatus in 2018 due to compounding cuts to the Oklahoma Arts Council state appropriation. Oklahoma Arts Council staff used the hiatus to review and update program goals and curriculum.

Learn more about Leadership Arts.

View the list of 2020 Leadership Arts class members.

OFTA sets April 22 as Oklahoma Arts & Culture Day at State Capitol

Oklahomans for the Arts (OFTA) has announced April 22 as Oklahoma Arts & Culture Day 2020. The event will take place in the 2nd floor rotunda of the Oklahoma State Capitol beginning at 8:30 a.m. and ending at 1:30 p.m. The day includes advocacy training, a group rally, and opportunities to visit with legislators. There is no cost to register.

Go to OFTA's website to register for Arts & Culture Day 2020.

OFTA is a nonprofit organization that advocates for public investments in arts, culture, and arts education in Oklahoma.

Kendall Whittier a National Main Street Semifinalist

Tulsa's Kendall Whittier district is a semifinalist in the 2020 Great American Main Street Awards. Considered a top honor within the commercial district revitalization field, the award recognizes programs that model a comprehensive, preservation-based approach to revitalization.

Located two miles east of downtown Tulsa, Kendall Whittier has a mix of artist and creative studios, independent retailers, and local eateries. Anchored by historic Circle Cinema and the Tulsa Girls Art School, the district is one of seven Oklahoma Arts Council Certified Cultural Districts. Since 2013, 36 new businesses have opened and 292 jobs have been created in the district.

Winners of the awards will be announced May 18 during the Main Street Now Conference in Dallas. Read about the awards here.

Challenge America Grants Can Benefit Small Organizations

The Challenge America grant program of the National Endowment for the Arts provides $10,000 in support of projects presented by small and mid-sized organizations. The goal of the Challenge America program is to extend the reach of the arts to populations the have limited access to the arts due to geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability.

Involvement of artists and arts professionals is essential to Challenge America projects. Three types of projects are eligible for support:

  • Projects featuring guest artists

  • Collaborative marketing campaigns (including cultural tourism)

  • Public art projects that include a meaningful community engagement process

Eligible applicants include nonprofit organizations, units of local government, school districts, and federally recognized tribes. Deadline to apply is April 9.

Learn about Challenge America grants here.

RELATED: Applications for Creative Writing Fellowships ($25,000) from the National Endowment for the Arts are due March 11. Learn about the fellowships here.

Arts Organizations Have Vital Role in Oklahoma Census Count

April 1 is official launch date for the 2020 United States Census, and Oklahoma arts and cultural organizations are urged to help spread the word. The count is crucial to ensuring our state receives its proper investment of federal funding from agencies such as the National Endowment for the Arts. In fiscal year 2019 alone, the total federal arts funding impact in Oklahoma was $878,650.

Oklahoma arts and cultural organizations can play a vital role in the count by educating audiences about the role the Census plays in funding for the arts in our state. Here are some ideas:

  • Make an announcement before a show

  • Promote the 2020 Census on social media (use the hashtag #OKLetsCount)

  • Download and share information with your audiences from the OK, Let's Count! Census 2020 website.

Important facts:

  • The 2020 Census is easy and confidential. It will include only nine questions.

  • It can be taken online, by phone, or by mailing back the paper form.

  • By law, information cannot be shared with anyone - not the FBI, IRS, ICE, or any other agency.

For every Oklahoman not counted, the state loses $1,675 in federal support. In 2010, Oklahoma had the second-lowest response rate. The Oklahoma Arts Council urges arts and cultural organizations and others to promote the 2020 Census.

Learn how nonprofits can support the Oklahoma 2020 Census effort.

Gilcrease Awarded $500,000 Mellon Foundation Grant

Tulsa's Gilcrease Museum has received a sizable boost in their efforts to research and assess its large collections of Native American art. The museum has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation. The grant will fund two new full-time curatorial positions. Individuals hired for the new positions will work closely with tribal representatives in researching museum holdings and identifying objects to be featured in future exhibitions. Staff with knowledge on pre-1920 Native American art and history may be sought. The museum wants to present a wider range of stories from diverse perspectives about America's past.

The Gilcrease is home to more than 350,000 objects related to the art, history and culture of North America. Its holdings include nearly 14,000 works of Native American art and 250,000 Native American archeologial and anthropological objects.

Read the announcement about the Mellon Foundation grant in the Tulsa World.

RELATED: Funding for new positions is not the only new development for the Gilcrease. Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum announced in February that a new facility for the museum would be built as part of the voter-approved Vision Tulsa plan

Positions Open With the Oklahoma Arts Council

The Oklahoma Arts Council seeks enthusiastic and creative people with entrepreneurial spirits to contribute to our team of public servants. Applications are currently being accepted by the Oklahoma Arts Council for the positions of Finance Director and Executive/Finance Assistant.

Duties of the Finance Director include supervising internal controls for receipts and expenditures, preparing agency payroll, serving as the agency's Certified Procurement Officer, managing office inventory, and more. Candidates should have a comprehensive knowledge of accounting principles and practice and be versed in GAAP for state governments. A working knowledge of Oklahoma's PeopleSoft accounting system is essential.

Duties of the Executive/Finance Assistant include assisting the Executive Director with day-to-day needs, working with the Finance Director to support the agency's financial administration, meeting needs of general office management, and supporting efforts of major the agency events and programs.

The Oklahoma Arts Council strives to build a diverse team comprised of the best and brightest individuals to support our mission. For detailed position descriptions and application instructions, go to the jobs page at

he Oklahoma Arts Council is an Equal Opportunity Employer.