Skip navigation

Oklahoma Arts Council News

July 2023

Schools Eligible for Big Boost in Funding from Arts Council in 2023-24

The school year is weeks away, but now is the time for teachers and administrators to consider how to take full advantage of increased funding available to them from the Oklahoma Arts Council.

Beginning with the 2023-24 school year, individual sites can apply for two grants of up to $5,000 to support eligible hands-on arts education programming for students during the school day. These Essential Arts Education Grants for Schoolsreplace the Oklahoma Arts Council's Small Grant Support for Schools program.

In addition, schools can apply for one grant of up to $2,500 to support hands-on arts education programming for students outside of normal school hours. Expanded Arts Education Grants for Schools is a new grant program of the Oklahoma Arts Council that recognizes the value of learning opportunities schools provide beyond the classroom.

Deadlines and additional details about the new school grant programs will be released soon. Stay tuned!

  • Classroom Supply Grants for Visual and Performing Arts (link)

  • Capitol Art Field Trip Grants (link)

  • Oklahoma Online Fine Arts Curriculum (link)

  • Oklahoma Teaching Artist Roster (link)

2023 Oklahoma Arts Conference to Feature ARPA Grant Session

Planning is accelerating for the 2023 Oklahoma Arts Conference, and details are coming soon! The statewide convening of the arts and cultural sector is only a few months away. Earlybird registration for the conference will be $169—registration will open in August. 

NEW! Conference Session on ARPA Grants

In May, state leaders approved $10 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to rebuild the arts and cultural sector. During the 2023 Oklahoma Arts Conference, attendees can participate in a special session that will prepare them to apply for grant funding from the $10 million, which will be administered by the Oklahoma Arts Council in partnership with Allied Arts OKC and Arts Alliance Tulsa. Organizations planning to seek ARPA funding are encouraged to send staff to the conference to gain important insight as they prepare to apply.

Save the Date

Hundreds of artists, nonprofit administrators, board members, community developers, educators, students, and others will get connected and equipped for their work in the arts when we convene in Lawton, October 17-19. Mark you calendars now and visit for conference updates.

Become a Capitol Docent and Give Unforgettable Experiences

Are you someone who loves art, history, civics, and architecture and enjoys talking to people? The Oklahoma Arts Council will soon be training a new cohort of docents to lead tours at the Oklahoma State Capitol, and applications are now being accepted.

Perfect for retired individuals, corporate volunteers, veterans, former public officials, educators, and others, docents play an essential role in providing unforgettable experiences for Oklahoma students and visitors to the Capitol from around the world.

The program is flexible and the Oklahoma Arts Council works to accommodate docents' schedules. On average, docents spend about four hours per week giving tours. Docents are equipped for success with regular training and tour scripts.

Consider applying to join a growing cohort of docents at the Oklahoma State Capitol!

Disaster Response Resources to Bookmark

Storms brought record high winds, power outages, and property damage across parts of the state in late June. Arts and cultural entities in several communities were among those impacted by the recent bad weather. In a state that has its fair share of adverse events, members of the arts and cultural sector are urged to maintain a list of vital resources to which they can turn if and when disaster strikes. Invaluable national and local resources to note include:

In addition, the staff of the Oklahoma Arts Council is available to connect individuals and organizations in the arts sector with important resources for overcoming weather and other related emergencies.

First Peoples Fund Accepting Applications for Two Programs

Two programs offered by First Peoples Fund have upcoming deadlines. First Peoples Fund's mission is to honor and support artists and culture bearers, recognizing the positive impact of art and culture on Native communities.

Through August 7, applications are being accepted for the Artists in Business Leadership Fellowshipprogram. The program provides up to $10,000 in funding for artists to strengthen their art business. Artists receive technical support, professional training, and working capital to pursue their art business development goals. Visual, performing, and literary artists may apply.

Through August 14, applications are being accepted for Cultural Capital Fellowships. Grants of up to $10,000 are provided to artists to providing community outreach and cultural preservation.

Take Advantage of Discounted Rates for Traveling Exhibitions

Through the Oklahoma Arts Council's relationship with regional arts organization Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA), organizations across Oklahoma can take advantage of reduced fees to bring unique and compelling exhibitions of artwork and objects to their communities. Through ExhibitsUSA, Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA) curates and transports a selection of art and humanities exhibitions, offering five-week, seven-week, and ten-week exhibitions at reduced rates within the six-state M-AAA region.

Examples of recent Oklahoma ExhibitsUSA shows include "Imprinting the West: Manifest Destiny, Real and Imagined" at the Moore-Lindsay Historical House Museum in Norman, "American Farmer" at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, and "Sign of the Times: The Great American Political Poster" at the Sand Springs Cultural & Historical Museum. Explore available exhibitions.

Learn how you can book an exhibition.

OVAC Curatorial Fellowship Program Returns

The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition (OVAC) has announced the return of its fellowship for emerging curators. OVAC is currently accepting applications through July 16 for the 2023-24 Oklahoma Curatorial Fellowship program—a 10-month fellowship offering mentorship, professional development, and hands-on workshops.

Open to applicants from Oklahoma and regional states, the program features lead mentors who are widely recognized in the curatorial field. Fellows can expect to advance their curatorial practice and writing skills. The program includes the opportunity to showcase an exhibition at a prominent Oklahoma gallery.

The Oklahoma Curatorial Fellowship program is ideal for those who work in museums and galleries or those who work in arts-related fields.

Applications are due July 16. Learn more here.

Grants Available from Oklahoma Humanities

Funding of up to $10,000 is available from Oklahoma Humanities for a variety of cultural programming, including public humanities projects, preservation efforts, and education programs. Projects should analyze themes in disciplines such as art history, history, literature, and ethics. Exhibitions, panel discussions, preservation of historic collections, festivals, curriculum development, professional development, and more may be eligible for funding.

Eligible entities include 501(c)(3) nonprofits, institutions of higher education, federally recognized tribes, and state and local government agencies.

Applications are due August 1. Learn more here.

Oklahoma Arts Council Staff Notes

With growing needs across communities for Oklahoma Arts Council programs and services, the agency is announcing updated titles and roles for several staff positions. The updates reflect prioritized areas of focus for the state and will enable the agency extend the reach of its services in communities statewide.

Molly O'Connor is now the Director of Rural and Creative Community Outreach, overseeing the agency's community arts programs and leading efforts to partner with and equip communities statewide with creative resources.

Eyakem Gulilat is Director of Creative Placemaking and Community Development, where he provides models and works closely with communities in their creative planning efforts.

Job opening

Applications for a Director of Community Arts and Workforce Programs are being accepted. The person in this position will work closely with O'Connor and Gulilat administering the agency's community arts programs, and they will organize the Oklahoma Arts Conference and Leadership Arts.

Staff Anniversaries in July

Two staff members celebrate their anniversaries with the Oklahoma Arts Council in July.

Martyna Sandoval celebrates her first anniversary with the agency. Sandoval is the Grants and Programs Associate where she manages daily grants office operations and assists with a variety of agency programs.

Erika Wilhite celebrates her second anniversary with the agency. As Arts Learning in Communities Director, Wilhite has connected with Oklahomans in a variety of fields in her work to promote the power of the arts. Wilhite oversees the Oklahoma Creative Aging Initiative and the Oklahoma Arts and the Military Initiative among other programs.

Governor Appoints New Council Members

Three new Oklahoma Arts Council members were confirmed by the state Senate following appointments by Governor Stitt during the recent legislative session. Rebecca Marks Jimerson of Tulsa, Vi Le of Yukon, and Carrie Leonard of Oklahoma City join the governing body of the agency for three-year terms. Jimerson is a community engagement coordinator, Le is a vice-president with Mercy, and Carrie Leonard performs nonprofit development work in arts and education.

In addition to new appointments, current members Melinda Adwon, Lauren M. Corbut, and Stephania Grober of Tulsa were reappointed for second three-year terms.

The 15 Governor-appointed members of the Oklahoma Arts Council oversee agency activities, including the investment of hundreds of grants awarded by the agency across the state.