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Oklahoma Arts Council News

January 2023

NEA Releases Guidelines for 2023 Grant Opportunties

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has announced grant guidelines and application materials for 2023 for two of its principal grant programs. The federal arts agency provides funding for projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. jurisdictions. Eligible applicants include nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations, units of state or local government, and federally recognized tribal communities. Guidelines were released for the following NEA grants programs:

» Challenge America offers support primarily to small organizations for projects that serve underserved groups/communities. The category is a good entry point for organizations that are new to the process of applying for federal arts funding. Challenge America grants are $10,000, applications are brief, and the NEA offers technical assistance. Deadline to apply is April 27. View Challenge America guidelines.

» Grants for Arts Projects, the largest NEA grant program for organizations, funds a wide range of projects and artistic disciplines nationwide. Grants of up to $100,000 are available in this category, with two deadlines each year. 2023 deadlines are February 9 and July 6. In addition to programs that engage the public, funding can be used for arts education activities, programs that promote health and well-being, capacity building, and more. View Grants for Arts Projects guidelines.

Additional grants opportunities through the NEA in 2023 can be found on their website, with guidelines to be released soon for fellowships and research awards, and for the NEA Our Town creative placemaking grant program. Visit for more information.

Oklahoma Arts Council, Partners to Present Update on ARPA Funding

With a portion of Oklahoma's federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding yet to be committed to projects as part of the state's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, the Oklahoma Arts Council will host an upcoming virtual town hall to provide an update on its pursuit of ARPA funding for the sector with statewide partners.

Mark your calendars now! 

Be sure to save January 20, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on your calendars, and look for a meeting link to be sent out soon.

During the town hall, Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Amber Sharples will explain the process state leaders will use in committing remaining ARPA funds. She will also outline the approach the agency and its partners will take to show leaders the considerable need for investment in the arts sector.

Stay tuned for more information and a registration link. Updates will be available at and through the agency's Facebook and Twitter pages.

Letters of Intent for Cultural District Development Program Due

Through the Cultural District Development Program, the Oklahoma Arts Council provides funding to help communities establish cultural districts. A cultural district is a mixed-use area in which a high concentration of arts and cultural facilities or activities serves as the anchor of attraction. Rural and urban areas of Oklahoma can develop cultural districts using their unique built environments, histories, and arts and cultural assets. Cultural districts are agents for positive growth, stimulating commerce, boosting tourism, enhancing quality of life, and more.

Oklahoma communities interested in applying for Cultural District Development Program funding can submit letters of intent to the Oklahoma Arts Council through February 15. Notifications to apply will issued in March. Expenses that can be paid for through the program include fees for professional consultants, compensation for a district coordinator, and marketing and promotion of district activities among other expenses.

Grants of up to $7,500 will be awarded. A maximum of $25,000 in funding per district over five years is available. Partnerships with community stakeholders are required. Learn more about the program here.

Oklahoma Black Artists Coalition to Meet in January

Black artists and arts administrators from around the state have announced the formation of the Oklahoma Black Artists Coalition, a group offering support and encouragement to empower Black artists and art.

Formed and facilitated with the support of the Oklahoma Arts Council, the coalition will meet on Saturday, January 14, at 3:00 p.m. at Nappy Roots Books in Oklahoma City. Artists, arts administrators, and others are invited to attend. Nappy Roots Books is located at 3705 Springlake Dr. (view map).

During the meeting, attendees will explore ways to share, support, and educate communities to preserve, share, and create Black art and culture. The meeting will include light refreshments, and it will end with open mic performances.

Questions about the meeting can be emailed to

Virtual Option

A virtual option using this link is available to participate in the January 14 meeting.

Grants for Historic Revitalization in Rural Communities

Through the Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grants Program, the National Park Service offers funding for the rehabilitation of historic properties in rural communities. Awards ranging from $200,000 to $750,000 will be made, with the goal of fostering economic development.

Properties must be listed on the National Register of Historic Places or determined eligible for listing at the national, state, or local level of significance and located within rural communities with populations less than 50,000.

States, tribes, local governments, and nonprofits can apply for funding that will be subgranted to rural communities. Applications are due February 7.

See examples of eligible projects.

Jim Thorpe Building Closing for Renovations

An impending renovation of the state office building housing the Oklahoma Arts Council—the Jim Thorpe Building across from the State Capitol in Oklahoma City—means agency staff will soon be relocating. As of January 1, the public can no longer access Oklahoma Arts Council offices in the building. A new space that will serve as the agency's offices for the next three years will be announced soon.

Once staff have relocated, the public will once again be able to visit and meet with us at our office. Until then, constituents wishing to meet in person should contact individual staff to coordinate an offsite meeting location.

Our new, temporary offices are scheduled to open this spring. The agency's mailing address and office contact information remains the same.

In the coming months and beyond, regardless of our relocation, the Oklahoma Arts Council remains committed to delivering a high standard of service to the arts sector.

Jay Snider Appointed as 2023-2024 Oklahoma State Poet Laureate

Oklahoma Governor J. Kevin Stitt appointed Jay Snider of Cyril, Oklahoma, as the 2023-2024 Oklahoma State Poet Laureate in December. The award-winning cowboy poet and recording artist from southwest Oklahoma has appeared at national and regional events and is a frequent contributor to programs presented by the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan and other museums and cultural centers throughout Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Amber Sharples said Oklahomans will connect with Snider as someone who fully embodies the spirit of the American West and cowboy way of life.

Learn more about Snider here.

Bring the poet laureate to your community or school

Oklahoma Arts Council grant funding is available to support programs featuring the Oklahoma State Poet Laureate. Learn how you can present the laureate in workshops, readings, and more by contacting our Grants Director.

Capitol Portrait Exhibition Made Possible with OAC Help

An exhibition of portraits featuring inspiring Oklahomans will take place in the fourth-floor rotunda of the Oklahoma State Capitol in January. Made possible with assistance from the Oklahoma Arts Council, the exhibition celebrates the inaugural class of 55 Over 55 Inspiring Oklahomans, a program sponsored by the NextGen Under 30 Foundation.

Free and open to the public, the exhibition will be on display January 16 through January 26. A special reception will be held Saturday, January 21, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. There is no cost to attend the reception but reservations are required.

An opportunity to nominate individuals for the 2023 class of 55 Over 55 Inspiring Oklahomans. The program brings attention to successful and admired individuals over the age of 55 who are making a difference in Oklahoma.

Download this flyer for details.

Meet the Artists at Capitol Galleries Closing Reception

Oklahomans are invited to a closing reception celebrating the first three Oklahoma State Capitol gallery exhibitions that have taken place in six years. Free and open to the public, the reception will give attendees the opportunity to meet the featured artists while enjoying exhibitions of their artwork set against the backdrop of the newly renovated historic Capitol building. Join us!

Capitol Galleries Closing Reception
Thursday, January 12
4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Oklahoma State Capitol
2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. (map)
Parking is available in the lot south of the Capitol. Enter the Capitol using the west entry. Take the elevators or stairs to the first and second floors.