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Oklahoma Arts Council News

February 2024

Hundreds Gather for 45th Governor's Arts Awards at State Capitol

An overflow crowd gathered in the fourth-floor rotunda of the Oklahoma State Capitol on Tuesday, January 30, to celebrate the outstanding efforts of the 13 individuals and four organizations honored during the 45th Oklahoma Governor's Arts Awards.

Organized by the Oklahoma Arts Council, the ceremony featured the presentation of awards by Governor J. Kevin Stitt and Council chair Tracie Chapman, performances by guitarist Edgar Cruz and the Ambassador's Concert Choir, and a special tribute to former longtime Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Betty Price by former Governor George Nigh.

Awards were presented in categories for community service, education, business, business, media, public service/government, and special recognition. Ann Barker Ong of Muskogee and Holbrook Lawson of Tulsa received the Governor's Award for longtime leadership and significant contributions to the arts. Learn about the honorees.

In his remarks, Governor Stitt praised the arts community for creating communities where people want to live.

"Top-ten states have several things in common, and one of those things is having a dynamic arts scene," said Stitt.

Read about the event in the news

View photos of the event.

Join us March 4 at the Capitol for Bob Wills Day!

Mark your calendars and plan to come to the Oklahoma State Capitol for a day of live music celebrating the iconic "King of Western Swing," Bob Wills! A longstanding tradition at the Capitol before a hiatus during the Capitol's renovation, Bob Wills Day made a triumphant return last year and will return again this year, on Monday, March 4.

Free and open to the public, performances will take place in the second-floor Capitol rotunda beginning at 10:00 a.m. and running until 3:00 p.m. A lineup of performers will be announced soon.

Hosted by the Oklahoma Arts Council and Oklahoma Historical Society, Bob Wills Day at the Capitol was started in the 1980s by Senator John Dahl, taking place every spring until the Capitol renovation begin in 2014. In 1988, Bob Wills' song "Faded Love" was designated as Oklahoma's officiel country and western song.

Follow the Oklahoma Arts Council on Facebook and X (formerly Twitter) for announcements about this year's Bob Wills Day performances.

Upcoming Webinars Designed to Help Arts Serve All Oklahomans

Empowering organizations and individuals to have the broadest impact possible, the Oklahoma Arts Council is offering a series of webinars focused on the tools that can make the arts accessible to more Oklahomans. Facilitated by the Oklahoma Arts Council's Arts Learning in Communities Director, Erika Wilhite, the 90-minute webinars are scheduled at 11:00 a.m. over a series of upcoming dates throughout the spring.

Learn more and register below for the webinars that can help equip you expand your service and impact to your community:

"Unlocking the 'Front Door' to the Arts" (Website Accessibility)
Monday, February 5
11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Register now

"Creating Experiences for Neurodivergent Audiences"
Friday, March 8
11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Register now

"Audio Descriptions for Performing Arts Experiences"
Monday, May 1
11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Register now

Apply to be a Grant Panelist for the Oklahoma Arts Council

Applications are accepted year-round from Oklahomans interested in serving as grant review panelists for the Oklahoma Arts Council. Panelists provide valuable input on the agency's review of hundreds of grant applications. In addition to helping assure programs supported by public funding are reflective of the people of Oklahoma and their communities, grant review panelists receive compensation and gain valuable insight into the grant application and assessment process.

The Oklahoma Arts Council seeks individuals of all backgrounds to serve as grant review panelists. An online form is available for individuals interested in applying. Applicants should be prepared to demonstrate how their knowledge and experience in the arts will benefit the grant review process. Learn more and apply here.

Funding for New, Original Work through Artistic Innovations Grants

Individual artists and arts-based nonprofits in Oklahoma and the six-state Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA) region can receive up to $15,000 to support the creation of new, original artwork through M-AAA's Artistic Innovations Grant Program. The program encourages experimentation and exploration in the art-making process.

Projects supported through Artistic Innovations must include at least two public-facing events, including a premiere feature presentation of the work and an educational outreach event. Ideal projects are those that have in-person experiences at the heart of the endeavor and introduce an original idea to the applicant's audience.

View previously funded projects.

Applications are due February 23.

Nine NEA Grants Announced for Oklahoma

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced nine grant awards for Oklahoma organizations and individuals in its first cycle of awards for 2024. A total investment of $205,000 will boost arts programming and opportunities through three grant programs, including the NEA's Grants for Arts ProjectsChallenge America, and Literature Fellowship programs.

Awarded were:

  • American Indian Cultural Center Foundation (First Americans Museum) – $65,000

  • El Sistema Oklahoma – $10,000 to support a concert series

  • Oklahoma Arts Institute – $15,000 to support their summer institute

  • Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre – $15,000 for the presentation of a contemporary theater piece

  • Special Care – $15,000 for multidisciplinary arts programming for youth

  • Cherokee Nation – $10,000 to support an arts therapy program for youth in foster care

  • J.C. Hallman – $25,000 for a creative writing fellowship

  • Philbrook Museum – $30,000 to support the program, "Making American Artists," and related public programming

  • Tulsa Glass Blowing Studio – $20,000 for their visiting artist residency program

Read the announcement.

2024 AARP Community Challenge Grants Available

Through the AARP Community Challenge,  grants are awarded for quick-action projects that can help communities become more livable for people of all ages. Funded projects have included initiatives featuring artists, art installations, murals, public art, and more. For 2024, three different grant opportunities are available through the program

Flagship Grants will provide a wide range of funding, generally up to $20,000, for small and large projects of varying terms. Creation of vibrant public places, health and economic empowerment, and other projects potentially related to the arts can be supported.

Capacity-Building Microgrants offer grants of $2,500 combined with additional resources such as webinars, cohort learning opportunities, coaching, and more.

Demonstration Grants will generally range between $10,000 and $20,000, supporting projects that encourage the replication of promising efforts.

Nonprofit organizations, government entities, and select other types of organizations (considered on a case-by-case basis) are eligible to apply. AARP evaluates projects based on its mission to serve the needs of people who are 50 years of age and older.

View a list of projects funded in 2023.

Deadline to apply is March 6. Learn more here.

Tulsa Artist Fellowship Accepting Applications

The nationally recognized Tulsa Artist Fellowship program is accepting applications for its 2025-2027 cohort. National and local artists and/or arts workers of any medium or discipline with at least five years of arts field experience can apply. Applications should demonstrate the artist's established and rigorous innovative arts practice and propose a forward-thinking project that demonstrates impactful community engagement.

Tulsa Artist Fellows receive three core areas of support, including a $150,000 stipend paid over three years, a housing stipend, and fully subsidized studio space in the the Tulsa Artist District or Greenwood District. Additional support may be available for a studio assistant, health and wellness stipend, childcare, and more.

Applicants must be at least 25 years of age. The application period ends February 28.

View current fellows and learn about their work.

Learn more about the award and how to apply.

$10K Grants to Implement Community Heart & Soul Model

Seed funding of $10,000 is available to townsof up to 30,000 residents and federally recognized tribal nations interested in implementing the Community Heart & Soul program's model of community development. Developed and field tested over a decade in partnership with more than 90 communities, the model brings people together with their elected officials to build strong, healthier, and more vibrant communities. The process focuses on using local culture and history to help communities identify and leverage their unique character.

Through the program, Community Heart & Soul staff and coaches work with local residents to set goals, share stories, and find common ground on what matters most to the community. Action plans are developed, with long-term implementation in mind.

A match in funding is required of the participating municipality. Implementation of the program takes between 18 months and two years. See towns that have participated—including Duncan, Oklahoma.

Applications may submitted at any time. Download grant guidelines.

Learn about Community Heart & Soul.

ATALM Community Impact Awards Can Recognize Outstanding Projects

Projects and services that have made a profound impact on Native communities are recognized through Community Impact Awards, a program of the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums (ATALM).

Tribally affiliated cultural organizations, tribal nonprofits, non-tribal organizations working with Native communities (with endorsement from the Native community), and international Indigenous cultural institutions may submit nominations. Eligible projects may include, but are not limited to, fundraising efforts, volunteer programs, community engagement, technology, and education.

Award recipients receive full registration to the ATALM conference, lodging at the conference hotel, a travel stipend, and more.

Learn more here. Deadline for submissions is February 15.