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Oklahoma Arts Council News

June 2022

Oklahoma Arts Council Seeks Nominations for 2023 Governor's Arts Awards


OKLAHOMA CITY (June 27, 2022) – Oklahomans statewide have an opportunity to bring attention to deserving individuals, businesses, and organizations that contribute to the success of the arts in their communities and schools. The Oklahoma Arts Council is accepting nominations for the 2023 Governor’s Arts Awards through October 14, 2022.

Read the full announcement.

Oklahoma Arts Council Announces Return of State Capitol Artwork


OKLAHOMA CITY (June 8, 2022) – After nearly six years in storage, more than 500 works of art are finally returning to the Oklahoma State Capitol. They are being joined by almost 20 newly commissioned monumental and life-sized works. The reinstallation of the artwork, representing five separate art collections, began Monday, June 6. It will unfold in phases through the end of the calendar year.

Read the full announcement.

Governor Signs Bill Empowering Art Collections Endowment

A bill signed into law by Governor J. Kevin Stitt in May empowers the Oklahoma Arts Council to create an endowment for use in acquiring, conserving, and caring for the artwork at the Oklahoma State Capitol. Senate Bill 257 received wide support in both the House and Senate as it was advanced to the Governor for a final approval.

Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Amber Sharples expressed appreciation to state leaders for passage of the bill.

"When established, the endowment fund will enable our agency to acquire important works for the Oklahoma State Art Collection. There are notable Oklahoma artists currently not represented in the collection because, until the passage of this bill, we had limited means for acquiring works unless they were donated," said Sharples.

"In addition, this endowment will fund preservation efforts for art collections at The People's House—the largest public art museum in the state. The art offers immense educational and historical value, and its care is a priority. We are grateful to the Governor and members of the Legislature for empowering us to take care of and continue to add to the priceless artwork at the Capitol for future generations of Oklahomans."

June Deadline to Submit UEI Numbers to Oklahoma Arts Council

The official identifier used for doing business with the federal government is changing. DUNS numbers are being phased out and will be replaced by Unique Entity Identifiers (UEI). For grantees of the Oklahoma Arts Council, this affects your transactions with our agency. By June 30, all grantees must submit their UEI number to the Oklahoma Arts Council.

How do I get a UEI?

To register for a UEI number, go to There is no cost to register and receive it.

How do I submit my UEI to the Oklahoma Arts Council?

Once your organization has received its UEI number from the federal government, you must submit it to the Oklahoma Arts Council. To submit your UEI, simply log in to the Oklahoma Arts Council grant system. After logging in, you will be prompted to enter your UEI number.

UEI numbers will be required for the Oklahoma Arts Council to process FY2022 grant awards and all future grant awards.

Grant Changes and Reminders for the New Fiscal Year

With the start of a state new fiscal year (FY2023) on July 1, 2022, Oklahoma Arts Council grant applicant organizations are advised to note several changes and reminders related to funding opportunities.


Small Grant Support – the deadline to submit applications in our Small Grant Support category has returned to its pre-pandemic timeframe. Applications are due 60 days before the start of a program. Organizations are eligible for three grants of up to $2,500 per fiscal year to support community arts programs or arts learning in communities activities.


Oklahoma Arts and the Military Grants – available on a rolling basis, up to $5,000 is available for programs serving military-connected Oklahomans. Grants can also be used for eligible professional development opportunities.

Rural Arts Opportunity Grants – available on a rolling basis to organizations located in select rural counties, up to $5,000 can support capacity-building activities, and learning-based or audience-based programs.

Stay Tuned

Nonprofit organizations interested in partnering with alternative education schools will soon have a new opportunity for funding that can support their efforts. Organizations that are interested in receiving information should contact Arts Education Director Jennifer Allen-Barron at An announcement about the opportunity will be made soon.

Grants for Arts Projects Due July 7

Oklahoma nonprofit organizations, local governments, federally-recognized tribal nations, universities, and others are encouraged to pursue funding for their arts programs from the National Endowment for the Arts. The federal agency's principal granting program, Grants for Arts Projects, is open for applications through July 7.

Through the program, awards ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 will be made in support of arts projects across a wide range of disciplines. Disciplines that will be supported include arts education, dance, design, folk and traditional arts, literary arts, media arts, museums, music, theater, visual arts and more. Programs qualifying for support must begin no sooner than June 1, 2023. Applications are sought from organizations of all budget sizes and geographic locations.

Learn how to apply.

Discovery Grants for Projects that Improve Well-Being

The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) has announced a new grant opportunity for projects that improve the health of Oklahomans. Available to nonprofit 501(c)3 organizations, public entities, and institutions of common and higher education, TSET Discovery Grants may be a fit for projects that incorporate the arts in promoting well-being.

"There are many wonderful organizations working to create a healthier Oklahoma and we look forward to new partnerships to improve health," said Michelle Stephens, TSET Board of Directors chair. "This funding opportunity allows applicants to bring their best ideas and proposals forward for consideration."

Areas of focus for the funding outlined by TSET include health care services—with particular emphasis on children, and programs enhancing the health and well-being of senior adults, among other areas.

Pre-proposals are being accepted year-round. Awards will be made in November and March. Deadline for pre-proposal submissions for November 2022 awards is July 8.

Download the full grant guidelines here.

New Rural Placemaking Toolkit from USDA

A new toolkit published by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is available to help residents and leaders in rural communities build placemaking plans. Available here, the Rural America Placemaking Tookit can help rural leaders conduct assessments of their community's readiness for placemaking activities, providing examples of projects that can be replicated. The toolkit also highlights national and regional providers of technical and financial assistance.

In her announcement about the project, USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small cited cultural venues as one of the ingredients that helps rural places thrive. The USDA defines placemaking as a collaborative process for creating quality places where people will want to live, work, visit, learn, and explore.

The USDA developed the toolkit in partnership with the University of Kentucky's Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky. Get started with the toolkit at

Openings at the Oklahoma Arts Council

The Oklahoma Arts Council currently has openings for several staff positions. The agency seeks enthusiastic and creative people with an entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to public service to join our team. Applications must be submitted through

Applications are currently being accepted for:

  1. Art in Public Places Program Assistant – part-time position that supports in the administration of the State's 1.5% for public art program

  2. Director of Collections Management – manages the care and documentation of state-owned art collections managed by the Oklahoma Arts Council

View the full job descriptions here.

Celebrating Staff Milestones

The staff of the Oklahoma Arts Council is the agency's move valued resource. Each staff member is thoroughly committed to public service, cherishing the opportunity to meet the needs of the arts sector and build the state using the transformative power of the arts. Below, we celebrate milestones of Oklahoma Arts Council members.

Staff Anniversaries

Amber Sharples celebrated her ninth anniversary as Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director on May 20. During her tenure, Sharples has guided the agency through a period of budget cuts and the COVID-19 pandemic, and has retooled the agency to focus on emerging needs in the arts sector. Among her efforts, Sharples has revived the Oklahoma Art in Public Places program, laid essential groundwork for arts education in Oklahoma schools, and launched initiatives serving Oklahoma's military community, older adults, rural areas, and more that have broadened the reach of the agency.

Eyakem Gulilat celebrates his third anniversary on staff in June. As Cultural Development Director, Gulilat's work focuses on strengthening the agency's support of cultural and traditional artists. Recently, Gulilat's efforts resulted in the launch of, "Being Oklahoma: Exploring the Threads that Define Us," a program through which the Oklahoma Arts Council partnered with the Metropolitan Library System to feature the work of artists Beverly Kirk and Francisco Treviño.


Sterling Hayes has been promoted to Director of Art in Public Places where she manages the state's percent-for-public-art program. Hayes joined the agency part-time in 2021 as Art in Public Places Program Assistant. With a background that includes construction management experience, she has played an integral role in helping the agency take on a growing number of public art projects.

Tulsa's Lauren Corbut Confirmed to Oklahoma Arts Council Board

Lauren Corbut of Tulsa has been confirmed to the board of the Oklahoma Arts Council by the Oklahoma State Senate. Appointed by Governor J. Kevin Stitt, Corbut joins the board immediately in replacement for outgoing member Fred Hall.

Corbut is Vice President of External Affairs for the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits where she oversees communications, marketing, public affairs, and government relations activities. With a master's degree in journalism from Harvard University, Corbut spent more than decade in broadcast television and advertising. She volunteers on the board of LIFE Senior Services and serves as part of the Tulsa Dream Center advisory board. She has been a member a the Tulsa Junior League since 2015.

"Lauren has an excellent range of valuable experience that complements many aspects of our agency's work," said Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Amber Sharples. "I am excited to welcome Lauren, and I am deeply grateful to Fred Hall for his years of service on our board."

The Oklahoma Arts Council's governing body is comprised of 15 citizens representing communities throughout the state. The board oversees agency activities, including hundreds of grant awards made to organizations and schools statewide each year. 

Introducing Curator of Education and Engagement Amanda Harmer

Amanda Harmer thrives at bringing things together. In April, after a 16-career year at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art (OKCMOA), Harmer took a position with the Oklahoma Arts Council that's not only new for her, but also for the agency—Curator of Education and Engagement. While elements of Harmer's position existed in the past, its new elements will soon mean people can experience the artwork at the Oklahoma State Capitol in fresh ways. With the Capitol's unique setting as both a hallowed civic space and the largest public museum in the state, Harmer looks forward to endless possibilities for giving visitors meaningful and deep connections to Oklahoma art and history by creating educational curriculum and activities tied to the Capitol collections, soon to be reinstalled throughout the restored building.

In her work at OKCMOA, Harmer often went out into the community to provide arts learning activities to individuals with barriers preventing them from engaging at the museum. Individuals with dementia, young patients in behavioral medicine units, and people with accessibility challenges were groups with which Harmer worked. The experience taught her to be nimble and creative in tailoring art experiences for people's needs. Harmer thinks this type of agility will help her provide special connections to the artwork for the thousands of school groups, Oklahoma families, and out-of-state visitors who tour the Capitol each year. With a reimagined visitor experience guiding the artwork reinstallation, Harmer is excited about building related educational content and programming, "from the ground up."

Among her goals, citing research on the lasting impact of field trips on school children, Harmer would love for teachers to think of the Capitol as an extension of their classrooms. She also envisions bridging gaps between people's perceptions and abilities to relate to art. A person who has never visited an art museum may discover in the Capitol art something that resonates with them personally.

Leveraging her penchant for bringing things together, Harmer is eager to create educational opportunities through which all who visit the Capitol will feel a sense of belonging among the stories—unique and universal—told through the artwork.

Contacting Amanda

Amanda Harmer is the new Curator of Engagement and Education at the Oklahoma Arts Council. She can be reached at (405) 521-6813 or

Stay Tuned!

Stay tuned for future announcements about educational curriculum and programming created by Harmer for the Capitol art.