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Oklahoma Arts Council News

February 2021

Shuttered Venue Operators Grants to Open Soon

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will soon begin accepting grant applications for its Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program, the result of $15 billion designated by Congress to bolster live performing arts venues and other related entities whose revenues have been affected during the COVID-19 pandemic. Congress included the funding in a larger pandemic aid package following months of efforts by stakeholders who advocated that policymakers "save our stages."

Applicants who qualify for the grants may receive funding equal to 45 percent of their gross earned revenue, with a maximum award of $10 million. The SBA is reserving $2 billion of the funding for organizations who have fewer than 50 full-time employees. The process will be setup so that organizations who have experienced the greatest percentage of revenue loss can have their applications prioritized.

Eligible applicants include:

  • Live venue operators or promoters

  • Theatrical producers

  • Live performing arts organization operators

  • Relevant museum operators, zoos, and aquariums who meet specific criteria

  • Motion picture theater operators

  • Talent representatives

Funds may be used for payroll, rent, utilities, mortgage payments, payments to independent contractors, administrative costs, marketing, and more.

Be sure to check the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant page often to learn when applications will open. Download an FAQ sheet about the grant.

NOTE: Venues or promoters that have received a PPP loan on or after December 27, 2020, may not be eligible for a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant.

SBA Now Offering Second Draw PPP Loans

Certain eligible organizations that previously received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration can now apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan.

The first round of the program was launched in spring 2020 to help businesses and nonprofits retain employees as the effects of pandemic-related lockdowns nationwide began having implications for organizations. Guidelines for second round PPP loans have been updated to focus on the needs of organizations with fewer than 300 employees. Loan terms remain the same as with the first round, and loan forgiveness is still available if criteria is met.

Small businesses, sole proprietorships, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals are eligible to apply. Borrowers must have used up their first PPP loan and show a 25 percent or greater reduction in gross revenue.

To learn more, read, "The Second PPP Loan: What You Need to Know."

NOTE: Venues or promoters that have received a PPP loan on or after December 27, 2020, may not be eligible for a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant.

Give Us Your Feedback on Our Strategic Plan Draft

Through Friday, February 5, the Oklahoma Arts Council is asking Oklahomans to provide feedback on the draft of the agency's 2021-2025 strategic plan. The public comment period is an important step in the final phase of the plan rollout.

Since fall 2019, the Oklahoma Arts Council has engaged Oklahomans through a series of Cornerstone Conversations, a spring 2020 survey, and more, in an effort to ensure the services of the state agency reflect the needs of individuals, organizations, and communties statewide in the years ahead. 

Get a sneak peek at the strategic plan draft here.

After reviewing the plan, click here to answer five brief questions about it.

City of Tulsa Issues RFP for Nonprofits to Use CARES Funds

A request for proposals has been issued by the City of Tulsa as it seeks to award up to $6.5 million in grants from COVID-19 relief funding to empower local nonprofits to address community and economic needs resulting from the pandemic.

Due February 19, proposals must meet one of three goals outlined for the program:

  • Support Tulsans' personal and financial health, development, and resilience

  • Enable the secure resumption of economic or community activity

  • Seed the creation, stability, and growth of emerging industries and occupations to build a stronger economic base

Grant awards are scheduled to be announced in March. Arts and cultural nonprofit organizations are encouraged to consider how their services fit the goals of the program.

Visit the City of Tulsa site for the RFP packet and the application form.

NACF Accepting Letters of Intent for 'SHIFT' Program

Native Arts & Cultures Foundation (NACF) is currently accepting letters of intent for SHIFT – Transformative Change and Indigenous Arts, a program that supports artists and community-driven projects responding to social, environmental, or economic justice issues through a Native lens. Artists and arts collectives selected for the two-year program will receive awards totaling $100,000 and will receive professional development trainings centered on community participation and movement building.

The opportunity is open to Native artists or Native artist collectives working in dance/choreography, fiction/poetry writing, film/video, multi-disciplinary arts, music, performance art, theater and screenplay writing, traditional arts, and visual arts. Artists and collectives must select an eligible organization to partner with on their project.

Letters of intent are due March 16.

Learn more about SHIFT here.

Students Can Submit for 'Celebrate the West' Competition

The Western Governors' Association (WGA) is accepting entries from high school students in its 17-state region for the 2021 "Celebrate the West" art competition. Through the program, Oklahoma students in grades 9-12 can earn cash prizes and have their artwork displayed as part of an online competition in conjunction with the WGA's annual meeting. First prize is $1,500, and each state winner will receive $200.

For the competition, students submit original two-dimensional artwork inspired by the their home state or informed by living in the West. State history, landmarks, natural resources, people, and culture are frequent sources of subjects.

Artwork must be submitted on or before April 30.

Find the complete rules at

Endowment's 'Grants for Arts Projects' Deadline Approaching

The National Endowment for the Arts' Grants for Arts Projects category is the federal agency's principal grants program for organizations across the United States. The program makes available project-based support ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 for activities that provide the public with access and engagement opportunities with the arts. Organizations eligible to apply for funding through the program include 501(c)(3) nonprofits, units of state or local governments, and federally recognized tribal communities.

Deadline for the first round of Grants for Arts Projects is February 11. Deadline for a second round of funding through the program is in July.

The Arts Endowment seeks applications from organizations with a wide range of budgets representing all types of communities. It is encouraging applications for projects that use the arts to unite and heal in response to current events.

Learn how your organization can apply.

Webinar to Highlight Federal Funds for Creative Placemaking

The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) and the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations is hosting an upcoming webinar to help arts groups, public agencies, community developers, and stakeholders in creative placemaking efforts access federal funds and harness the power of the arts and culture in community development.

The February 9 webinar will focus on the new Creative Placemaking Public Resources Guide, which features a curated selection of federal funding sources for equitable community development, examples of successful intiatives, and tips on accessing federal grant programs. A live demonstration of the guide's search functions will show how to find often-overlooked resources applicable to equitable communty development.

Register for the webinar here. The webinar will take place Tuesday, February 9, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. CST.

New RFQ for OKC Public Art Sculpture

The City of Oklahoma City Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs has issued a request for qualifications from artists interested in pursuing a commission to create one or more exterior sculptures as part of a major renovation of the Belle Isle Library.

For the design, the RFQ seeks concepts that, "creatively explore the expansion or dissemination of knowledge, or ones that illuminate traditional roles of storytelling, or both." No specific medium or method of fabrication is required, but all materials must be durable and require no special maintenance.

The budget for the project is $60,000 for all associated costs. Deadline to submit qualifications is February 17.

Download the RFQ here.

Curriculum Spotlight: Shannon Buck's Dance Vocabulary and Warmup Techniques

Winter months like Feburary, when cold temperatures often make outdoor activity unappealing, are an ideal time for Oklahoma students who are distance learning to explore dance. To help students gain a foundation of dance vocabulary and related warmup techniques, local teaching artist Shannon Buck has created a set of six sessions that students can download at the Oklahoma Online Fine Arts Curriculum page.

Designed for grades 6-8, Buck's sessions help students learn about terms such as "non-locomotor" and "locomotor," and they provide detailed instructions for increasing agility through neck isolations, hip swings, heel raises, and other warmup movements. Pre- and post-assessment quizzes, an instructor guide, and a rubric are included.

Click here to access "Dance Vocabulary and Warmup Techniques" sessions.

Created to meet the distance learning needs of students, parents, and teachers, resources of the Oklahoma Online Fine Arts Curriculum are aligned with Oklahoma Academic Standards.

Smithsonian Magazine Names Tulsa Artist Barron Ryan an 'Innovator to Watch'

Tulsa musician Barron Ryan has been named of Smithsonian Magazine's "Ten Innovators to Watch in 2021." The list recognizes individuals who the publication describes as pushing the envelope and bringing forth what they think the world needs. In addition to Ryan, the list features a biologist, a city leaders, architects, an industrial designer, and others.

Ryan, a member of the Oklahoma Arts Council Performing Artist Roster, is recognized by the magazine for his work on the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial commemoration. The musician was commissioned by Chamber Music Tulsa to compose and perform a piano trio. For the piece, Ryan researched firsthand accounts of the event, which ultimately inspired the melody of his score. Ryan is hopeful that the impact of the music will help Tulsans and others reflect and learn from the lessons of the tragic event.

Read the full article in Smithsonian Magazine.