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Band playing in Cultural District

Cultural District Development Program

A component of the Oklahoma Cultural District Initiative, the Cultural District Development Program provides grant funding, guidance, and professional consultation to assist in creating cultural districts in Oklahoma communities.

What is a cultural district?

A cultural district is a mixed-use area of a community in which a high concentration of arts and cultural facilities or activities serves as the anchor of attraction. Cultural districts can be found in communities of all sizes - rural and urban. Ideally, a district reflects its community's unique built environment and history, showcases the region's artists and cultural traditions, and increases social engagement.

Cultural districts act as an agent for positive growth in a community by:

Grant Program Goals


Grant Process Overview 

Project Activity Dates 
July 1, 2023 - June 30, 2024 (Grant Period FY2024) 

Grant Amount 
Up to $7,500 per organization. 
Award match requirement: 1:1 (100%). Half of the match (50%) may be in-kind support. Matching funds may not come from another Oklahoma Arts Council grant award or federal grant award. Applicants may participate in the program for up to five consecutive or non-consecutive years and receive a maximum of $25,000 in funding. All grant awards are paid by reimbursement after the grant period and submission of a final report and support material. 

Letter of Intent Due 
February 15, 2023 
Download a sample letter of intent.

Notification to Apply 
April 6, 2023, 5:00 p.m. Central Time

Applications Open 
April 5, 2023

Application Deadline 
May 3, 2023, 5:00 p.m. Central Time

Notification of Awards 
July 2023

What Expenses Are Eligible?
Funding from Oklahoma Arts Council may be used toward the following eligible expenses:

Ineligible Expenses
Grant funds cannot be used for capital improvements, purchase of permanent equipment, creation of new artwork, non-arts related expenses, food/drink or prizes, or duties/expenses related to fundraising or lobbying.

Community Committee

Partnerships with community stakeholders are required for participation in the Cultural District Development Program. Participating communities will be required to create a diverse committee of community leaders and members. The committee should include, but not be limited to, individuals from the following areas:

Community Coordinator

Each community will designate a Community Coordinator whose duties will include, but not be limited to the following:


The community committee is responsible for contracting with professional consultants who have a demonstrated expertise in cultural planning and community design. Selection of consultants is subject to approval by the Oklahoma Arts Council. The Oklahoma Arts Council can provide consultant referrals upon request. Consultation fees may need to cover travel, lodging and per diem.

Oklahoma Arts Council staff provides overall guidance on each project and is available for consultations as needed.

Measuring Success

Benchmarks are established during the planning process involving the community committee, professional consultants and Oklahoma Arts Council. In assessing benchmarks, communities will submit annual reports and Oklahoma Arts Council staff will conduct site visits.

Goals may include:

Advisory Committee

Review of applications, annual reports and other program requirements will be provided by the Oklahoma Cultural District Initiative Advisory Committee.

The committee may consist of members of the following:

Applications must demonstrate support from cultural organizations, community stakeholders including city/county officials, businesses, artists and educators. Grants are awarded based on community readiness and capacity. Grant amounts are subject to availability of Oklahoma Arts Council funding.

Grantee organizations must agree to all Oklahoma Arts Council General Grant Terms and Conditions and grant contract terms. Awarded funds will be distributed to the applicant organization as a single reimbursement payment after the grant period. 100 percent of awarded Oklahoma Cultural District Development Grant funds must be used for expenses incurred between July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023.

Termination of Program or Changes

The Cultural District Development Program is dependent on the availability of funds. The Oklahoma Arts Council reserves the right to decline funding if benchmarks are not met. Any changes to a proposed Cultural District Development Program should be sent to the Oklahoma Arts Council Grants Director in writing prior to the change taking place.

For more information contact our Community Arts Director.