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Oklahoma Arts Council News

October 2020

Deadline Extended for 2021 Governor's Arts Awards Nominations

OKLAHOMA CITY (October 15, 2020) – The Oklahoma Arts Council has extended the deadline for submitting nominations for the 2021 Governor’s Arts Awards. Nominations for the awards will be accepted through Friday, November 6, 2020. Recognizing individuals and organizations whose contributions to the arts have impacted communities and schools in Oklahoma, the awards will be presented by the Governor during a special ceremony at the state Capitol in the spring.

Click to read the full release.

Register for Upcoming 'Table Talks' Conversations

In response to this unprecedented time, with a global pandemic keeping Oklahoma's arts community from gathering in person, the Oklahoma Arts Council is pleased to announce the launch of Table Talks, a series of conversations centered on various themes in the arts.

Open to anyone who is interested in participating, these 90 minute casual forums will be held online (Zoom), with the goal of empowering open discussion, problem-solving, idea exchange, and more. In addition to helping Oklahoma's arts community learn how others are navigating the challenges of COVID-19, Table Talks are an opportunity to catch up with friends from across the state. Register using the links below.

Upcoming Table Talks:

Visit for more information.

Governor's Arts Awards Nominations Due October 23

Nominations for the 2021 Oklahoma Governor's Arts Awards must be submitted by October 23. Since 1975, the Oklahoma Arts Council has partnered with the Governor of Oklahoma to present awards to individuals and organizations whose efforts have been instrumental in helping the arts thrive in our state. Awards are presented in categories including community service, education, business, media, and public service.

Full-time Oklahoma residents and organizations that work in and for the benefit of Oklahoma are eligible to be nominated. Nominations require a two- to three-page typewritten narrative that addresses the nominee's efforts and their impact in the arts. Support material such as letters of recommendation and news clippings can be included (up to three pages).

Nominations may be submitted one of two ways:

Learn more about the Oklahoma Governor's Arts Awards.

View photos of the 2019 ceremony.

Reports Reflect Feedback for New Oklahoma Arts Council Plan

Two new reports published by the Oklahoma Arts Council highlight feedback gathered as part of the agency's strategic planning process.

Cornerstone Conversations: A Qualitative Analysispresents a content analysis of feedback provided during a series of listening sessions held by the Oklahoma Arts Council in nine communities across the state in late 2019 and *early 2020. The analysis was performed by the University of Oklahoma's Hope Research Center.

The Oklahoma Arts Council 2020 Strategic Planning Survey Report shows findings from nearly 600 responses received through an online survey related to agency programs and priorities. The survey was administered in early 2020 in partnership with the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.

To learn more about the Oklahoma Arts Council's process for creating its new five-year strategic plan, view this blueprint.

*Additional planned Cornerstone Conversations sessions were not held because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Artists Selected to Create Public Art at First Americans Museum

Two artists have been selected through the Oklahoma Arts Council's Oklahoma Art in Public Places program to create large-scale works of public art for the forthcoming First Americans Museum near downtown Oklahoma City. 

Joseph Erb is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation and a professor at the University of Missouri School of Visual Studies. Erb will create "Indigenous Brilliance," an illustration that will depict the relationship between the land and the people of Oklahoma on a double-heighted copper wall on the museum's interior.

Jeri Redcorn, known internationally for reviving traditional Caddo pottery, will create an enhancement to the exterior walls of the museum's Origins Theater. Titled "Ayo Wahdut Kuku (Sky Earth Water)," the work representing a Caddo ceramic pot will acknowledge the Caddo as one of the original inhabitants of the land now recognized as Oklahoma.

Located at the intersection of three major interstate highways, First Americans Museum(previously the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum) will celebrate a shared history of America through the lens and collective stories of the 39 distinct Tribal Nations present in Oklahoma today. The museum is anticipated to attract travelers from across the globe when it opens in September 2021.

Read more about the public art projects here.

Schools Can Register for Oklahoma Poetry Out Loud Competition

The annual national Poetry Out Loud competition will be taking place in 2020-2021, with accommodations being made to keep students safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Oklahoma schools can register for the competition through December 1. The program encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation contest for high school students nationwide.

For 2020-2021, state and national contests will be conducted through a video submission virtual contest. Participating schools can hold their classroom competitions in person or online.

Oklahoma A+ Schools will host a free Poetry Out Loud workshop for teachers and coordinators on November 14. 

Oklahoma's competition is managed by Oklahoma A+ Schools in partnership with the Oklahoma Arts Council. Launched in 2005, the contest is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Poetry Foundation and state and jurisdictional arts agencies.

Schools can go to to register for the Oklahoma Poetry Out Loud contest. Downloadable teacher guides and requirements for virtual competitions are available on the website.

Accessibility Microgrants Can Expand Program Access

Funding of up to $1,000 from Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA) is available to help organizations provide increased access to programs for individuals with disabilities and individuals with limited English proficiency. Arts Access Microgrants can provide reimbursement for eligible sign language interpretation fees, audio description service fees, captioning fees, language translation fees, costs associated with creation of large print or braille materials, purchase of assistive technology, and more.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, due four weeks before the activity, if possible. Eligible applicants include 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, units of state or local governments, and federally recognized tribal communities.

In-person art experiences and live streaming online programming is eligible (during the COVID-19 pandemic). Programs must be at least 60 minutes in length and should be open to the general public.

Visit the M-AAA website for full details

'Play Tulsa Music' Offering Support for Tulsa Music Scene

Play Tulsa Music is a new program available to Tulsa County music venues and festivals that aims to help them recover from losses experienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Widely recognized as vibrant and historically influential, Tulsa's music scene has experienced devastating effects from canceled shows during the pandemic, with permanent closures and tourism industry prospects at risk.

Operated by the Tulsa Office of Film, Music, Arts & Culture, the goal of Play Tulsa Music is to help the local live music industry weather the constraints of operating during the pandemic. Through the program, venues and festivals can safely host audiences while having related programming costs supplemented.

To be eligible, venues must be located in Tulsa County, provide seating capacity of between 20 and 1,000, secure 50 percent of fees for musicians, and meet county health department reopening guidelines. Performers and venues must be registered in the Tulsa Creativity Database. Go to to apply.

Apply for the Luce Indigenous Fellowship Program

Native artists are among those invited to apply for the Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship program. The fellowship provides $50,000 to outstanding Native knowledge holders and knowledge makers engaged in meaningful work that benefits Indigenous people.

Open to both emerging and established leaders, the fellowship is a year-long, self-directed program designed to support growth, development, knowledge, and networks of Native leaders. The program begins in May 2021. Fellows gather three times during the year to pool their collective knowledge and create a community of practice (convenings may be redesigned to accommodate a virtual setting due to COVID-19).

Deadline to apply is October 22.

Learn more about the fellowship here.

Take the AFTA COVID-19 Survey in October

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.

Ron Howard Establishes OU Drama Scholarship for Rural Students

A new scholarship established through a gift from Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard will help aspiring actors from rural communities pursue their dreams of studying drama and fine arts at the University of Oklahoma (OU).

Howard said in a statement that his parents' ability to earn a degree in the arts at OU changed their lives and the course of their family history. A native of Duncan, Oklahoma, Howard's $90,000 gift to OU's Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts will create a scholarship named in honor of his parents, Rance and Jean Howard, both of whom studied at OU before having successful acting careers.

Howard's film and television career began when he was a child. He starred in "The Andy Griffith Show" and, later, "Happy Days," before shifting his focus to directing films. Among the more than 30 films he has helmed are "Apollo 13," "A Beautiful Mind," and "Solo: A Star Wars Story."

Read more about the scholarship announcement here.