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Oklahoma Arts Council News

August 2021

'Embracing the Dawn' to Serve as 2021 Oklahoma Arts Conference Theme

The Oklahoma Arts Council is pleased to announce "Embracing the Dawn" as the theme of the 2021 Oklahoma Arts Conference, scheduled to take place in Muskogee, October 27-29.

Projecting hopefulness amid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the theme highlights what attendees can expect to experience during the fall event, which is presented by the Oklahoma Arts Council in partnership with Oklahomans for the Arts. The Muskogee Depot District will be the center of conference activities for artists, nonprofit administrators, community developers, educators, and others who attend.

Across the nation, arts and cultural organizations and artists have been among those hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The sector has been disproportionatelyaffected by the pandemic. Reflecting the resiliency and optimism embodied in the creative spirit of the arts, "Embracing the Dawn" is inspired in part by the poetry of Oklahoma's Joy Harjo (Muscogee), the current U.S. Poet Laureate.

Additional details about the conference will be announced soon, with registration opening later in August.

Classroom Supply Grants to Open August 16

Beginning August 16, Oklahoma schools with eligible fine arts staff can apply for up to $500 in funding from the Oklahoma Arts Council to use in purchasing qualifying visual and performing arts supplies for the 2021-2022 school year.

Through the agency's Classroom Supply Grants for Visual and Performing Arts program, schools that have at least one part-time arts instructor in the discipline for which they apply are eligible for funding. Disciplines include dance, drama/theatre, music, and visual arts.

Examples of eligible items that schools can purchase using the grant funding include sheet music, props, instrument rental, reeds and bows, drawing and painting supplies, clay, and more. See additional examples here.

An informational webinar about the grant program previously hosted by the Oklahoma Arts Council is available to view here.

(NOTE: Schools that do not have a login and password for the Oklahoma Arts Council grant system are urged to request a login as soon as possible in order to submit their application before deadline).

Click here to learn how to apply.

Artist Proposals Sought for OKC Airport Mural

Artist proposals are being sought for an Oklahoma Art in Public Places mural project at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City that would feature a creative interpretation of the official new brand of the State of Oklahoma. A partnership of the Oklahoma Arts Council, Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell, Oklahoma Department of Commerce, and the airport, the mural will be a first impression that will welcome thousands of daily passengers arriving to the state.

Open to Oklahoma artists, the project will provide the selected artist or artist team with $6,000 to create the mural. Colorful imagery and a unified aesthetic are desired for the artwork concept. It should project Oklahoma as an ideal place to live, work, and thrive.

Deadline for submissions is August 23. Download the complete RFP here.

Submit proposals at

RELATED: The Oklahoma Arts Council and partners recently dedicated a mural at Tulsa International Airport through a similar project.

Oklahoma Arts and the Military Grants to Open Soon

Organizations interested in seeking support for art programs that serve Oklahoma's military community will soon be able to apply for an Oklahoma Arts and the Military Grant. Applications for the grant program will open in the coming weeks, with a deadline in mid-September.

Up to $5,000 per applicant will be awarded to support arts programming that takes place any time between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022. Classes, workshops, professional development, performances, exhibitions, and other activities can be funded through the program. Qualifying expenses include artist fees, consultant fees, art supplies, marketing costs, and other approved expenses.

Eligible applicants include nonprofit organizations, local and tribal governments, universities, and public libraries. Current Oklahoma Arts Council grantees receiving funding in other categories may seek funding through the program. Military and veteran support organizations are encouraged to apply. 

Complete grant guidelines and application instructions are available here.

View a recorded webinar that provides an overview of the program and application process.

Serve as a Grant Review Panelist for the Oklahoma Arts Council

Throughout the year, the Oklahoma Arts Council relies on individuals statewide to provide valuable input in the agency's review of hundreds of grant applications. Grant review panels made up of Oklahoma residents play an important role in ensuring transparency for the agency's grantmaking, an investment in communities and schools that averages more than 65 percent of the agency's budget each year.

Applications are accepted year-round from Oklahomans interested in serving as grant review panelists. 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 processes.

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 to be a grant review panelist here.

Classroom Enhancement Grants Available for Eligible Rural Schools

Classroom Enhancement Grants from the Carolyn Watson Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation can expand opportunities in arts education and more for students in select rural Oklahoma school districts.

Up to $5,000 is available to eligible public school classrooms and public school libraries, grades pre-K through 12, for projects that enrich the learning environment. Schools located in counties and districts listed here are eligible.

To apply, a one-paragraph description of the proposed project is required.

The program is designed to enhance the classroom experience for rurul students by providing opportunities to enrich traditional curriculum. A list of recent grants is available on the Classroom Enhancement Grants page.

Artists Statewide Can Sign Up for OVAC's 2021 OK Art Crawl

First offered in 2020 as a way of supporting artists during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the OK Art Crawl is returning for 2021. A program of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition, the OK Art Crawl is a statewide drive-by exhibition featuring works by hundreds of Oklahoma artists who display their pieces in parking lots, in front of houses, on front porches, and in their garages. More than 200 artists participated in 2020.

Registration for participation in 2021 is free and is currently open to all Oklahoma visual artists. Participating artists must agree to be present at their location and conduct non-contact sales for their artwork. All proceeds from sales go to the artists.

The OK Art Crawl will take place Saturday, October 16, 2021, from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

View a map of locations and a list of artists who participated in 2020.

Oklahoma Artists Earn LIFT Awards

Several Oklahomans are among the first cohort of artists selected for the LIFT - Early Career Support for Native Artists program. Offered by Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NACF), the program provides $10,000 to support artists in furthering their work and/or serving as a launching point in the career. Professional development, marketing support, and culturally appropriate evaluation are also provided through the program. Artists affiliated with Oklahoma who were selected for the program are:

Applications for the program were accepted in January 2021 after a nationally publicized open call for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian artist applicants. Twenty artists were selected out of more than 100 who applied. Learn about the LIFT program here.

Oklahomans Earn Artistic Innovations Grants from M-AAA

Three projects by Oklahoma artists have been awarded funding through the Artistic Innovations Grant Program of Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA). Encouraging the spirit of experimentation and exploration, the program provides up to $15,000 in funding for new, original works that serve audiences in the six-state M-AAA region.

Oklahoma projects awarded funding are:

  • James Ewald (Edmond) – $10,000 for a literature project titled "Flat Land: The History of Oklahoma Skateboarding."

  • Candace Wiley (Tulsa) – $15,000 for "What If—Tulsa," a historically based "choose your own adventure" story-gaming app with content based on the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

  • 108 Contemporary (Tulsa) – $10,000 for the exhibition, "The Space Between: Anita Fields and Molly Murphy Adams."

Letters of intent for Artistic Innovations are generally accepted in the fall. Learn more here.

RELATED: Apply for M-AAA Regional Touring Program funding to bring a regional performing artist to your Oklahoma community.

Curriculum Spotlight: 'My Story, Your Story in Contemporary Art'

Using visual art concepts and a variety of media and techniques, lessons in Oklahoma artist Erin Latham's curriculum teach students about artmaking while deepening their understanding of society, culture, and history.

Six lessons are available for download in Latham's curriculum, "My Story, Your Story in Contemporary Art." Each lesson takes students through a process of creating artwork in a style similar to a contemporary artist from a marginalized community. Artists of focus in Latham's set include:

Oklahoma Online Fine Arts Curriculum is aligned with state academic standards for the fine arts. View all curriculum here.

Governor Appoints New Oklahoma Arts Council Board Members

With the start of fiscal year 2022 on July 1, the Oklahoma Arts Council welcomed two new board members. In May, the state Senate confirmed the gubernatorial appointments of Duncan's Barbara Braught and Oklahoma City's Jake Yunker to serve three-year appointments on the agency's governing board.

Braught has leadership experience on the boards of various community organizations. She has served as trustee and executive director for the McCasland Foundation in Duncan for 26 years, providing support for programs emphasizing education and the arts in southwest Oklahoma.

Yunker has background in government at the federal, state, and local levels, and has been involved as a staff and board member of nonprofit arts and cultural organizations. He is currently the director of corporate and foundation relations for the Oklahoma State University Foundation.

In addition to the new appointments, three current board members were confirmed for three more years of service on the agency's board. The terms for Deanna Cardenas of Oklahoma City, Traci Chapman of Mannsville, and Sunny Patel Chatterjee of Tulsa run through 2024.