OKLAHOMA CITY (December 1, 2020) – The Oklahoma Arts Council is pleased to announce that Governor J. Kevin Stitt has allocated $3 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to support Oklahoma’s arts and cultural sector. The funding is being made available to organizations statewide beginning December 1 through Oklahoma Arts and Cultural Industry Relief Grants administered by the Oklahoma Arts Council ranging from $2,500 to $100,000.
Oklahoma’s creative sector, which relies heavily on in-person fundraising and event-generated earned income has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. A report released in July by Richard Florida, noted scholar and author of “The Rise of the Creative Class,” estimated pandemic-related losses of 19,000 jobs and $606 million in sales in Oklahoma’s creative sector, with the performing and fine arts being disproportionately affected. While the arts have been at the forefront of innovating and adopting technology in their efforts to continue providing Oklahomans with arts education and access to the arts during the pandemic, the inherent nature of the arts to bring people together forced organizations to be among the first to close their doors, and it dictates that they be among the last to reopen.
Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Amber Sharples expressed her appreciation for the Governor’s allocation of CARES Act funding to the sector.
“We are grateful to Governor Stitt for his recognition of the arts and cultural sector as a vital contributor to our state’s economic engine. State leaders have long sought a more diverse economy, and the arts are increasingly meeting that need by fostering vibrant communities and cultivating an innovative workforce. The strides made in developing our state’s creative sector are today better poised to weather the pandemic thanks to this funding. Oklahoma Arts and Cultural Industry Relief Grants will help save jobs and restore hope to hundreds of cultural organizations whose missions are inseparable from our identity as a state.”
"The arts industry plays an important role in the cultural history and economic success of our great state," said Gov. Stitt. "These grants will provide our creative sector with financial assistance to help maintain operations and save jobs as we continue to fight COVID-19."
Through December 8, Oklahoma organizations can apply for part of the $3 million in funding. One-time grants are available through the program to nonprofit arts and cultural organizations, museums, historical societies, colleges and universities, public libraries, tribal nations, and departments of city and county government that present arts programming across the state.
Beginning December 1, organizations can apply for funding through the Oklahoma Arts Council’s online grant system at arts.ok.gov. Applicants must have a minimum annual operating budget of $10,000. Complete applicant eligibility and grant guidelines can be found on the agency’s website at arts.ok.gov.
Funding must be used toward eligible expenses resulting from the pandemic including payroll for staff members serving as COVID-19 coordinators, distance learning, interruption of business, personal protective equipment (PPE), disinfectant and sanitization, public safety measures, and other costs to safely open facilities to the public.
Grant amounts will be determined by the Governor-appointed Oklahoma Arts Council board. No cash match is required. Grants are competitive, and funding will be prioritized for organizations with arts-based missions that serve geographically isolated areas, under-resourced communities, culturally diverse populations, and underrepresented groups.
Complete grant guidelines and the online application are available at arts.ok.gov. Questions about Oklahoma Arts and Cultural Industry Relief Grants can be directed to Thomas Tran at (405) 521-2041 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Oklahoma Arts Council
The Oklahoma Arts Council is the official state agency for the support and development of the arts. The agency’s mission is to lead in the advancement of Oklahoma’s thriving arts industry. The Oklahoma Arts Council provides approximately 350 grants to nearly 200 organizations in communities statewide each year, organizes professional development opportunities for the state's arts and cultural industry, and manages the art collections at the Oklahoma state Capitol. Additional information is available at arts.ok.gov.