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Oklahoma Arts Council News

March 2021

Call for Artists: Three Public Art Projects at Oklahoma State Capitol

The Oklahoma Arts Council, in conjunction with the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services, is seeking submissions from eligible artists or artist teams for three public art projects taking place in the Oklahoma State Capitol. Made possible through the Oklahoma Art in Public Places program, the projects will provide for a more complete and inclusive story of our state to be told through the works of art at home in the historic building. Deadline for submissions for all three projects is April 5.

Download the RFPs here.

Oklahoma Arts Council Receives $60,000 Grant to Build Capacity for Serving Older Adults

OKLAHOMA CITY (March 8, 2021) – The Oklahoma Arts Council will soon be investing in arts programs tailored to meet specific needs of older adults across the state after being awarded a $60,000 grant by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) and Aroha Philanthropies. Announced by NASAA and Aroha March 4, the grant award for creative aging efforts is aimed at improving quality of life for a growing segment of the state's population.

Read the full news release...

How to Be Ready for Shuttered Venue Operators Grants

The Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) Grantprogram is not yet open, but Oklahoma venues can take action now to be ready. Demand for the program will be high, and preparation will be key to receiving funding. Americans for the Arts has put together a list of things venues can do before applications open. 

Suggestions include:

  • Make sure your organization has a DUNS Number.
  • Use your DUNS number to register in the federal government's System for Award Management (SAM).
  • Gather documents that demonstrate your number of employees and monthly revenues.
  • Determine your gross earned revenue losses.
  • Determine the extent of gross earned revenue loss between 2019 and 2020 on a quarterly basis.
  • Make PDFs of additional information such as floor plans, contract copies, and other items likely to be required.
  • Sign up for a regional mailing list and webinar and develop a direct relationship.
  • Send specific questions about SVO eligibility to

The SVO program is the result of $15 billion designated by Congress to boost live performing arts venues and other related entities whose revenues have been affected during the COVID-19 pandemic. Download an FAQ sheet about the grant.

New Response Page Shows Agency's COVID-19 Efforts

This month marks one year since Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt declared an emergency following the state's first confirmed case of COVID-19. The Oklahoma Arts Council was prepared to respond immediately, having already planned for maximum adaptability, including the ability to telework. Since the Governor's declaration, staff has been working primarily from their individual homes, yet the focus of their work is unchanged. The agency is squarely focused on meeting vital needs across the arts sector.

To give an account of the Oklahoma Arts Council's pandemic-related actions, the agency has developed a COVID-19 Response Page. Outlined on the page are various actions taken to meet needs through grant offerings, program modifications, virtual convenings, news and information, and educational resources.

The Oklahoma Arts Council is pleased to share the COVID-19 Response Page as a means of demonstrating its commitment to Oklahoma's arts sector. View the page here

OFTA's Arts Day to Take Place Virtually on April 7

Oklahomans for the Arts' annual Oklahoma Arts Dayis slated for Wednesday, April 7. Typically a day when hundreds of Oklahoma artists, arts organizations, and arts advocates come together at the Oklahoma State Capitol, the 2021 event will take place virtually, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While participants won't be able to gather under the Capitol dome this year, the virtual event will feature plenty of opportunities to see and hear from others in the state arts community. The event will center on an advocacy panel, with national, regional, and local speakers being planned as featured speakers. Updates on arts and arts education-related legislation, policy efforts, and initiatives will be highlighted.

Details about the event and a registration link will made available in the coming weeks at the Oklahomans for the Arts website.

Challenge America Grants Can Extend Arts Access

Challenge America is a grant program of the National Endowment for the Arts that extends the reach of the arts to underserved populations. An abbreviated application and robust technical support are features of the grant program, which provides up to $10,000 in support to projects in all artistic disciplines.

Often, the category is an entry point for organizations seeking funding through the Arts Endowment. The grant program is rooted in principles that recognize the existence of barriers and limitations for some organizations and populations.

Nonprofit organizations, units of state or local government, and federally recognized tribal communities may apply. The deadline to apply for Challenge America grants is April 22.

RELATED: Four Oklahoma organizations awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Survey Seeks to Assess Winter Damage

With recent weather events taking a toll on people and businesses across the state, Oklahoma Humanities is spearheading a statewide assessment of any damages sustained by cultural institutions. In partnership with the Oklahoma Museums Association and Oklahoma Arts Council, Oklahoma Humanities hopes to use the survey to determine what needs may exist for funding for collections, archives, exhibits, or facilities repair.

Through a brief two-minute Oklahoma Cultural Institutions Winter Storm Damage Survey, organizations are asked to provide brief descriptions of any damage sustained and the amount of emergency funding they would request, if funding is offered.

Deadline to complete submit responses is Friday, March 5. Click here to take the survey.

Oklahoma Represented in 2021 Cultural Capital Class

First Peoples Fund has announced its 2021 class of Cultural Capital fellows, and three of the 12 individuals selected have Oklahoma ties.

Francis 'Rock' Pipestem of Pawhuska focuses on drum-making inspired from his Osage and Otoe-Missouria people's traditions. Monica Jo Raphael of Apache is a fifth-generation quill worker who is well-versed in the traditional arts and culture of the Anishinaabek. Maddie Easley, a member of the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma, is a New York-based actor and screenwriter.

Through the Cultural Capital Fellowship program, individuals receive financial and technical support to assist efforts that preserve and pass along a tribe's art, culture, and ancestral knowledge. During the year-long program, fellows come together for a multi-day convening with the other artists and culture bearers in their class.

Click here to learn about the Cultural Capital Fellowship program.

Latinx Arts Capacity Building Offered through Leadership Institute

Promoting, connecting, and cultivating Latinx arts and cultures is the focus of the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC). Through March 11, the organization is accepting applications for the NALAC Leadership Institute.

Launched in 2001 to foster arts capacity building for Latinx leaders, the institute uses a comprehensive curriculum that, through the lens of Latinx arts and culture, addresses strategic planning, programming, budgeting, marketing, fundraising, governance, and more.

The 2021 program will take place July 12-16, 2021, as an adapted virtual version of the program. The institute is open to U.S. based Latinx artists, arts administrators, and cultural workers.

Learn more and access the application here. Deadline to apply is March 11.

Rick Lowe 'American Portrait' Public Art Van Capturing Tulsans' Stories

PBS' American Portrait series has given people across the U.S. the chance to share their individual stories related to timely, thought-provoking topics as a way of presenting a real and complex portrait of America. For the 50th anniversary of the storytelling project, PBS and RadicalMedia have incorporated a public art aspect featuring three cities, including Tulsa.

For the Tulsa project, Rick Lowe, an award-winning artist from Houston has partnered with the community to launch the G.A.P. Van, a mobile art exhibition and workshop space that will give tours of the Greenwood District, site of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, and allow people to create artwork as they interpret what they learn on the tour. The van will travel across the city, displaying the artwork, promoting healing and community reflection on the event.

Nationally-known for his groundbreaking efforts in the field of public art and social practice, Lowe is the founder of Project Row Houses, a formerly neglected six block Houston neighborhood transformed through artist residencies, art exhibitions, low-income housing, community galleries, a park, and more. Lowe has been heavily involved in the Greenwood Art Project in Tulsa, which is commemorating the centennial of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre through public art projects.

Select stories submitted for American Portrait are shared through the nationally-televised series, as well as through its social media, member station events, and digital video series. 

Surprise Donation Helping Expand Online Fine Arts Curriculum

In the grip of the pandemic during spring 2020, the Oklahoma Arts Council put out a call for teaching artists to submit ideas for a series of online lesson plans that could be made available to students, parents, and teachers for distance learning. Over a dozen selected submissions were eventually published on the Oklahoma Online Fine Arts Curriculum page. Featured on the page is curriculum for every grade level in various disciplines, including dance, drama, literary arts, music, and visual arts.

A recent surprise donation to the Oklahoma Arts Council will help the agency expand its online curriculum. Received a few days before Christmas, the donation came from The Sam Viersen Family Foundation, an Okmulgee organization that provides meaningful financial support for cultural and other programs. The donation was directed by a foundation board member who is also a performer.

New Oklahoma Online Fine Arts Curriculum made possible by The Sam Viersen Family Foundation will be available in the coming weeks here.

Curriculum Spotlight: Exploring Aesop's Fox Fables

Aesop's Fables date back to oral traditions that originated in ancient Greece thousands of years ago, yet they continue to influence storytelling. For Oklahoma teaching artist Jenny Clyde, the fables offered an ideal way to help distance learning students acquire basic knowledge of story elements such as character, plot, and setting.

In her Staging Aesop's Fox Fables sessions for the Oklahoma Online Fine Arts Curriculum page, Clyde has designed activities to help young students begin to analyze story elements. Activities such as "Character Walk" and "This Is Not A" are included to enrich students' understanding of character and setting attributes. Warmup exercises and tongue twisters are used to prepare students to act out the characters and plots. An instructor guide and rubric are included. Designed for grades PreK-2, Clyde's curriculum is aligned with Oklahoma Academic Standards.

View and download Jenny Clyde's sessions.

RELATED: March is Youth Art Month. Find out how your students can participate in the celebration by visiting the Oklahoma Art Education Association website.