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Oklahoma State Capitol

2023 Oklahoma Arts Conference

"Promise in the Road Ahead"

Amber Sharples
Amber Sharples has served as executive director of the Oklahoma Arts Council since 2013. As the agency’s CEO, Sharples is responsible for the development and administration of the policies, programs and procedures of the state agency for the arts. Sharples’ career at the Council began in 2006, when she joined the agency as visual arts director and collections manager for the Capitol artwork. She has managed other areas of the agency such as her role as assistant director, where she spearheaded the agency’s strategic planning process, managed staff evaluations, and developed agency policies and procedures. Prior to working for the Council, she served as the Communications and Public Affairs Coordinator at the U.S.-Mexico Foundation for Culture in Mexico City. She has served on numerous boards both in Oklahoma and nationally, including Mid-America Arts Alliance in Kansas City, and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies in Washington, D.C. Sharples holds a Master of Arts in Art History from the University of Oklahoma and a graduate certificate in museum collections management and care from The George Washington University.

Amber Sharples 's Schedule
General Session Luncheon
Date: Wednesday – October, 18 2023 Time: 11:30am - 1:15pm
Room: Great Plains Ballroom A&B
The general session luncheon program will feature a special keynote presentation by distinguished National Heritage Fellow Vanessa Jennings who has been called a "living national treasure" by two U.S. presidents for her deep knowledge of Kiowa culture. Along with Jennings' presentation, attendees will enjoy performances by pianist Hyunsoon Whang and Oklahoma State Poet Laureate Jay Snider. A legislative citation recognizing Oklahoma as Arts and Humanities Month in Oklahoma will be presented by State Representative Daniel Pae and State Representative Rande Worthen.

A Conversation with NEA Heritage Fellows Vanessa Jennings and Bruce Caesar
Date: Wednesday – October, 18 2023 Time: 1:30pm - 2:45pm
Room: Great Plains Ballroom D
This special presentation will feature a moderated conversation with two distinguished National Heritage Fellows from Oklahoma, Vanessa Jennings and Bruce Caesar. Awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts, National Heritage Fellowships is the nation's highest honor in folk and traditional arts. Each year since 1982, the program has recognized recipients' artistic excellence, lifetime achievement, and contributions to our nation's traditional arts heritage. During this session, you will hear firsthand about Jennings' and Caesar's lifetime of notable work as cultural leaders. Moderated by Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Amber Sharples, this in-depth conversation will explore how the cultural traditions of Oklahoma shape our collective stories as a people.

General Session Luncheon
Date: Thursday – October, 19 2023 Time: 11:30am - 1:30pm
Room: Great Plains Ballroom A&B
A special luncheon program featuring the Oklahoma Arts Council and their regional partners, Allied Arts OKC and Arts Alliance Tulsa, who led efforts to secure $10 million in state American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) pandemic relief funding to rebuild the arts and cultural sector. During the panel discussion, the partners will detail the behind-the-scenes work by sector leaders and arts advocates that took place over more than two years to successfully secure transformative funding that will soon be available statewide to nonprofit organizations with arts programming. Following the panel discussion, the Oklahoma Arts Council will present a special graduation ceremony for members of Leadership Arts XII. The luncheon will include live music by Cecil Gray Native Blues.

Connecting with Community for Engaged Public Art
Date: Thursday – October, 19 2023 Time: 3:15pm - 4:30pm
Room: Great Plains Ballroom C
During this session, Oklahoma Arts Council staff will explain how new works of art recently commissioned and installed in the Oklahoma State Capitol expand the history of the state told through the artwork in The People's House. A six-year renovation of the Capitol building allowed for an overhaul of the curatorial plan by which art is displayed in the historic building. And for the first time, museum standards were introduced for the Capitol art collections. Learn how the Oklahoma Arts Council's curatorial team used the new commissions to connect with Oklahomans and broaden community investment.

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