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Oklahoma Arts Council News

May 2023

Hall of Heroes Dedicated at Oklahoma State Capitol

A newly designated space at the state Capitol commemorating Oklahoma's distinguished history of military service was dedicated by the Oklahoma Arts Council, members of the Legislature, and state leaders in April.

Located on the Capitol's second floor near the Supreme Court chamber, the Hall of Heroes features works of art depicting acts of bravery, individuals of distinction, and moments of reflection. The space was envisioned by the Oklahoma Arts Council in its planning for the return of the Capitol artwork following the building's multi-year restoration.

Among the works displayed in the Hall of Heroes is "Anumpa Luma Anumpuli," a painting of the Choctaw Code Talkers of World War I by artist and veteran Dylan Cavin (Choctaw Nation). The painting was commissioned as the inaugural work for the space. During the ceremony, state Senator Paul Rosino presented Cavin with a legislative citation in recognition of his work.

In addition to Rosino, featured speakers included state Representative Chris Kannady, Interim Director of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs Admiral Gregory Slavonic, and Oklahoma Secretary of Military and Veterans Affairs John Nash.

Speakers highlighted the uniqueness of having a space in the Capitol honoring the state's military history, pointing out that nearly 10 percent of Oklahomans have a military, and stating that the Capitol is a meaningful place that should reflect the values of our people.

Oklahoma Arts Council Releases 'State of the Arts 2023'

The Oklahoma Arts Council has released a new brief showing the current status of the arts and cultural sector. "State of the Arts 2023" outlines several issues that are converging and straining the sector.

From years of budget cuts to the state's increasing population, high inflation rates, and more, the brief demonstrates how a combination of factors has resulted in Oklahoma ranking 50th in the country—behind every other state—in creative workforce job growth following the pandemic.

The troubling data suggests long-term implications for Oklahoma's ability to develop creative workforce and leverage the arts to lure large industries and high quality jobs. 

Download "State of the Arts 2023" to learn more about troubling signs for the sector and what they could mean.

Save the Date! Oklahoma Arts Conference in October

In less than six months, Oklahomans from the arts and cultural sector statewide will gather in Lawton for the 2023 Oklahoma Arts Conference. Artists, arts administrators, community developers, educators, and others will get connected and equipped to succeed in their work in the arts. Planning by the Oklahoma Arts Council is under way for the event, slated to take place October 17-19. Be sure to save the date and build the conference in to your fall budget!

For the first time, the conference will be held in the southwest part of the state. As conference host, Lawton is home to a number of cultural institutions, including the Museum of the Great Plains, Lawton Fort Sill Art Council, Arts for All, Inc., Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center, Lawton Philharmonic, and Leslie Powell Art Gallery, among others. In addition to experiencing these local cultural assets, participants can expect a full three days of sessions, activities, events, tours, and more.

Featuring nationally recognized industry experts and local presenters, the biennial Oklahoma Arts Conference brings together hundreds of people in the arts for three days of networking and professional development.

Check here for updates on the 2023 Oklahoma Arts Conference.

Oklahoma Creative Aging Online Workshop to Address Ageism

An upcoming Oklahoma Creative Aging Initiative online workshop will help teaching artists, arts administrators, aging service providers, and others consider the prevalance and effects of ageism, and discover ways of countering it to provide effective programming for older Oklahomans.

Set for Thursday, June 15, 1:00 to 3:30 p.m., the "Making the Most of Longevity" workshop will be led by Old School, a nonprofit organization that provides education about ageism. During the workshop, participants will experience what it is like to teach and take a workshop for older adults, exploring biases that interfere with providing equitable experiences and learning to reframe inaccurate stereotypes about aging. Presenters from Old School will provide the tools participants need to host their own workshops for older adults.

Register here for the "Making the Most of Longevity" online workshop.

Emergency Resources for Artists, Organizations

Recent springtime weather in Oklahoma has taken its toll on parts of the state, serving as a reminder that artists and cultural organizations should have a plan for safeguarding their assets and knowing where to turn when emergencies occur. Below are valuable resources to use in planning and responding to disasters.

The Oklahoma Museums Association (OMA) has assembled a list of emergency resources and contact information on its website. From phone assistance, to a list of online guides and sources of disaster-related funding, OMA's page is an essential one to note.

The National Coalition for Arts' Preparedness and Emergency Response (NCAPER) is a resource worth bookmarking. This task force of arts organiations, public agencies, and foundations offers programs that help individuals and organizations prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters. They also maintain a lengthy list of resources offering disaster assistance in the form of grants, loans, counseling, legal help, and more.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has developed a guide for communities to use in mitigating the effects of hazards on local arts and cultural assets. Download the FEMA guide here.

CERF+ is the leading nonprofit organization focused on safeguarding artists' livelihoods. CERF+ offers grants, training, and more to help in disaster-related preparation and recovery.

Now is the time prepare for the possibility that the career you have invested in the arts could be affected by bad weather and other natural or man-made disasters.

Funding for Tulsa Artists to Create Innovative Work

A new program of the George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF) is providing 20 awards of $10,000 each to Tulsa area artists to fund projects that test ideas, explore collaborations, and generate innovative works of art.

Available to artists who have resided within the Tulsa city limits for at least one year, the Artists Creative Fund is aimed at rewarding accomplishments while supporting continued development. Projects can focus on dance, theater, music, spoken word, performance art, traditional and folk arts, visual art (2D and 3D), film, literary arts, and multi-disciplinary combinations. To be eligible, proposed projects must take place in Tulsa and include a public-facing event.

In addition to financial support, awardees will received cohort-based professional development opportunities led by the Creative Arkansas Community Hub & Exchange, which is partnering with GKFF.

Applications close May 22 at 5:00 p.m. CT

Call for Artists for Tulsa Airport Public Art Projectr

A call for artists has been issued for a $250,000 public art project at Tulsa International Airport. Through its Airport Public Art and Culture Program, Tulsa Airports Improvement Trust is seeking submissions for a bold, innovative, and engaging suspended art installation at the airport.

Open to all professional artists, artist teams, designers, and firms, the call offers two highly visible potential locations for the suspended installation. Artists can choose between the two options—above a security checkpoint, or above the ticket counters.

The project is part of the trust's efforts to modernize facilities as the number of annual passenger grows, and to provide a first-class welcoming experience that reflects the culture and lifestyle of Tulsa.

Deadline to apply is June 2.

Learn more here.

Take Part in Blue Star Museums Program this Summer

Every summer, active-duty military personnel and their families and members of the National Guard and Reserve are get free access to museums across America through the Blue Star Museumsprogram.

A program of the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the U.S. Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America, the 2023 program runs from Armed Forces Day on May 20 through Labor Day on September 4.

Museums across Oklahoma are encouraged to participate in the voluntary program by registering here.

View a map of participating museums here.

USDA to Host Online Rural Placemaking Conference in May

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has teamed up with the University of Kentucky to offer an online conference that will focus on expanding rural access to placemaking resources. Offered at no cost, the 2023 Placemaking in Small & Rural Communities Conference will take place Tuesday, May 23, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

During the conference, participants will have the opportunity to connect with seasoned professionals in the placemaking field and get acquainted with organizations that provide funding for placemaking. Conference content will include discussions of sustaining rural culture and provide examples of successful rural placemaking strategies.

Read more about the conference.

Click here to register.

Celebrating Staff Milestones

The staff of the Oklahoma Arts Council is the agency's most valued resource. Each member is committed to public service, cherishing the opportunity to meet the needs of the sector and build a stronger state through the arts. Below, we celebrate their milestones.

Staff Anniversaries in May

Amber Sharples celebrates 10 years as executive director in May! Since taking the helm, Sharples has stewarded the agency through funding cuts, the coronavirus pandemic, and other challenges, while shaping agency services to empower the arts to impact state needs in education, community developmenthealth and wellness, and veterans services. She also worked closely with legislative leaders to give the state's public art program new life under the Oklahoma Arts Council.

Jarica Walsh celebrates four years on staff in May. Walsh was brought on in 2019 to administer Oklahoma Art in Public Places—the state's public art program—and was elevated to her current role as director of visual and public art where she oversees the team managing the public art and the art collections at the state Capitol. In addition to helping set in motion numerous state public art projects, Walsh has spearheaded the reinstallation of hundreds of works of art the Capitol, which began 2022.

Congratulations to Amber and Jarica on these milestones!