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Oklahoma Arts Council News

September 2022

Call for Artists: Lawton-Ft. Sill Airport Mural

Oklahoma artists can apply through October 7 for the opportunity to create a 196 square foot mural that will be seen by thousands of people who fly into the Lawton-Ft. Sill Regional Airport each month. The Oklahoma Arts Council has announced a Request for Qualifications for a third mural in a series of airport murals being created in partnership with Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell, the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, and airports across the state. The first project took place at the Tulsa International Airport, and the second project took place at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City.

For the mural, the selected artist or artist team will create a dynamic and visually impactful work through an interpretation of the Official Brand of the State of Oklahoma. The mural should include the phrase, "Welcome to Oklahoma." The goal of the mural project is to drive tourism and commerce while fostering enthusiasm and pride for Oklahomans.

The selected artist or artist team will receive $6,000 to create the mural. The project is being administered through the Oklahoma Art in Public Places program, which is managed by the Oklahoma Arts Council.

Submit qualifications and learn more here. Deadline is October 7.

Information Session for New Capitol Docent Program

Docents are needed to provide a museum-quality tour experience for school children and visitors from around the world at the Oklahoma State Capitol. The Oklahoma Arts Council is currently accepting applications from individuals interested in becoming a Capitol docent.

Individuals interested in learning more about the new docent program are encouraged to attend one the below information sessions that will be hosted by the Oklahoma Arts Council. Sessions will include a presentation by the Oklahoma Arts Council, an opportunity to ask questions, and a short tour of the Capitol.

Docent Information Sessions

Tuesday, September 20
9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Tuesday, October 4
9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Information sessions will take place in Room 100 in the Oklahoma State Capitol. Parking is available in the south parking lot.

Reserve a seat at one of the information sessions by filling out the docent application.

For questions about the information session or the docent program, contact or (405) 521-6813.

Funding for Arts Nonprofits to Serve Alternative Education Schools

Nonprofit arts organizations have valuable expertise and artistic resources that can transform the lives of students in alternative education schools. Programs offered by arts organizations are proven to help students in alternative education complete their high school degrees while developing new skills that will help them succeed with their academic goals and beyond.

To help make it possible for nonprofit arts organizations to serve alternative education sites, the Oklahoma Arts Council is accepting proposals for Arts in Alternative Education Community Partnership funding. Proposals are being accepted through September 15.

Up to $25,000 is available to organizations through the program. Funding can support in-school hands-on arts learning, artist residencies, workshops, virtual learning-based arts programs, professional development opportunities, and more.

Click here to learn how to submit a proposal.

Governor's Arts Awards Nominations Due October 14

Nominations for the 2023 Oklahoma Governor's Arts Awards are open through October 14. Awards recognize individuals and organizations for their contributions to the arts in Oklahoma, and are presented in several categories, including community service, education, business, media, and public service. To be eligible, nominees must be current full-time Oklahoma residents or organizations that work in and for the benefit of Oklahoma.

Click here for guidelines, selection criteria, and a list past winners.

Submit a nomination here.

The 2023 Oklahoma Governor's Arts Awards ceremony will take place at the Oklahoma State Capitol in the spring.

Classroom Supply Grants Close September 15

Oklahoma schools with at least one part-time arts instructor have through September 15 to apply for funding of up to $500 to use towards qualifying art supply expenses.

Classroom Supply Grants for Visual and Performing Arts from the Oklahoma Arts Council can be used to purchase consumable, non-permanent items for disciplines including dance, drama/theatre, music, and visual and media arts. See examples of eligible supplies.

The grants are designed to be easy for schools to access. Applications are due September 15. See details here.

First of 21 New Artworks Installed in State Capitol

The first of 21 new artworks commissioned for the Oklahoma State Capitol was installed in August. One panel of a four-panel mural suite by Shawnee artist Lucas Simmons was installed in the rotunda of the Capitol's ground floor. When complete, Simmons' "Labor Omnia Vincit" mural suite will be a highly visible and engaging part of people's experience as they enter the recently renovated historic building.

Each of the "Labor Omnia Vincit" panels will illustrate the history, people, land, industries, and resources of a geographic region of Oklahoma. The overall concept for the set is to illustrate the journeys of the many people of Oklahoma over 200 years. The first panel—the southeast panel—features 19 figures and depicts the trades and industries of the southeastern part of the state, including forestry and mining. The title of the suite is based on the state motto, a Latin phrase meaning "work conquers all."

The mural is one of hundreds of artworks being installed throughout the Capitol following its renovation. When installation of the artwork is complete, the building will be the largest public art museum in the state.

Read a news article about the new mural.

High Schools Can Register for 2022-23 Poetry Out Loud

Oklahoma high school teachers can register their schools to participate in the 2022-23 Oklahoma Poetry Out Loud competition. Administered by Oklahoma A+ Schools, the program is a free recitation contest for students in grades 9-12. The winner of the state competition receives $200 and an all-expenses paid trip with an adult chaperone to Washington, D.C., to compete in the national finals.

Since it was established in 2005, the national competition has grown to reach more than four million students in 17,000 schools nationwide. Made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, the program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life.

Oklahoma A+ Schools manages the state program in partnership with the Oklahoma Arts Council.

Schools can register here. Registration closes December 1.

Want to learn more?

Oklahoma A+ Schools will host a free virtual Poetry Out Loud workshop for teachers and coordinators on October 29 at 10:00 a.m.

Tulsa to Host Music Cities Convention in November

Each year, select cities around the world are chosen to host a Music Cities Convention, an event that explores the importance of music in community development. Conventions provide a stage for the discussion of best practices, featuring thought leaders in city planning, music, economic development, tourism, academia, and more.

On November 2-5, Tulsa will host one of this year's Music Cities Conventions. Presented by the Tulsa Office of Film, Music, Arts, and Culture, and set against the backdrop of the city's numerous iconic music venues, the convention will showcase more than 30 presentations and panel discussions, 75 national and local speakers, evening events, and more.

Learn more about the event and view the schedule.

Museums Can Apply for Vitality Arts Project Grants

The Vitality Arts Project for Art Museums is a new initiative of the E.A. Michelson Philanthropy, launched to help art museums reframe their relationships with older adults and create arts programs tailored to their needs. Through the initiative, the philanthropy is offering U.S. art museums up to $250,000 in grant funding to support the develpment of programs that give older adults the chance to learn an art form while building social connections with others.

Due October 21, proposals should demonstrate a holistic approach to how a museum will engage older adults.

Download the RFP here.

Martyna Sandoval's Long Journey to the Oklahoma Arts Council

Martyna Sandoval's world has changed a lot in six years. As Grants and Programs Associate for the Oklahoma Arts Council, a position she began in July, she is both a state government employee and arts administrator. Neither are jobs Sandoval envisioned for herself six years ago, when she boarded an airplane in Poland with two tickets—one for her, and one for her cello—to begin a journey she couldn't have imagined. Her destination? Oklahoma City University, to pursue a master's degree in cello performance.

Every step of Sandoval's journey has been defined by new and unforeseeable experiences. Whether honing her grasp of the English language, adapting to an American university system, learning to live where a car is a necessity, or adjusting to a new computer system, learning curves are among the few constants.

"I have met a lot of good people along the way, which has helped me transition and build a life around here," said Sandoval.

Her new job may be a sign Sandoval's journey is entering a new phase. However, recent changes have helped her feel more established. Following graduation, Sandoval was able to change her immigration status, enabling her to expand employment prospects. Then, she got married, which allowed her even more opportunities.

At one point, Sandoval thought her path would lead to becoming a full-time musician. The challenges of sustaining such a career, faced by many artists, led Sandoval to teaching at a nonprofit and giving private adult music lessons. A temporary position assisting with Arts Council OKC helped lead Sandoval to the Oklahoma Arts Council.

As she adjusts for the first time to a more standard workday, Sandoval is settling in. She finds the work of assisting nonprofits and other entities across Oklahoma rewarding. She is often the first point of contact for grant applicants, and though she feels she has a lot to learn, she says she is getting comfortable.

As someone who has had to come a long way in a short amount of time, Martyna Sandoval may be the perfect person to welcome and assist people in getting acquainted with and learning about the grants and programs of the Oklahoma Arts Council. She can be reached at (405) 521-2040 or

Other Staff Highlights

Scott Cowan, Oklahoma Arts Council Web and Publications Director, celebrated a milestone in July. The longest-tenured member of the Oklahoma Arts Council staff, Cowan has now served the agency for 20 years!