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Oklahoma Arts Council News

November 2023

45th Oklahoma Governor's Arts Awards Honorees Announced

OKLAHOMA CITY (November 27, 2023) – The Oklahoma Arts Council has announced the names of 14 individuals and four organizations that will be honored for their contributions to the arts during the 45th Oklahoma Governor’s Arts Awards on Tuesday, January 30, 2024.

Read the announcement...

Arts Conference Draws Nearly 400 Oklahomans to Lawton

Oklahomans working in the arts in communities across the state descended on Lawton in October for the three-day Oklahoma Arts Conference. The occasion marked the first time the event has been held in the southwest region of the state.

Over three full days, attendees participated in an array of sessions and events. From the pre-conference Oklahoma Arts and the Military Summit III, Native American Artist Forum and Executive Directors Roundtable, to artist talks, evening receptions, luncheons, an interactive project, and breakout sessions covering a wide range of professional and organizational development topics, the conference was packed with dynamic content to meet the needs of the nearly 400 people that took part in the event.

The Oklahoma Arts Council, with the generous help of its conference partners Oklahomans for the Arts and the Lawton Ft. Sill Chamber of Commerce, presented conference content around the idea that there is vast promise in the road ahead for the arts to have an greater influence in the future of our state.

See photos from the various conference activities here.

ARPA Application Now Open for Verified Organizations

Organizations that have received notice that they are verified in the Oklahoma Arts Sector ARPA Grant portal can now start the application process. Applications are due December 15.

Funding for the grants was made possible by a $10 million investment of state American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding in the arts and cultural sector. The grant is being administered through the Oklahoma Arts Council's new grant portal, powered by Fluxx.

Slides and Video from Oklahoma Arts Conference Panel Presentation

A panel presentation at the 2023 Oklahoma Arts Conference took attendees through guidelines and application questions to help prepare organizations for the Oklahoma Arts Sector ARPA Grant. The panel included representatives from the Oklahoma Arts Council and its regional partners for the grant, Allied Arts OKC and Arts Alliance Tulsa.

Slides from the presentation are available for download here.

A video of the presentation can be viewed here.

Office Hours on Zoom

To assist applicants as they navigate the application process, Oklahoma Arts Council grant staff have been available via Zoom during special "office hours." Get your questions answered during any of the remaining office hours:

  • Thursday, November 9, 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.

  • Monday, November 20, 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. (after hours)

  • Thursday, November 30, 9:00 to 10:00 a.m.

Use this Zoom link to connect with our grant staff during these office hours.

In addition, staff may be available during the work day via email and phone to address your grant-related questions. Visit the Oklahoma Arts Sector ARPA Grantpage for contact information and full details related to the grant.

Webinar to Highlight Benefits of Theatre for Older Adults

The Oklahoma Arts Council will present a special webinar on November 27 at 11:00 a.m. to highlight the benefits of theatre participation for older adults.

Part of the agency's Oklahoma Creative Aging Initiative, the webinar will feature Tulsa Performing Arts Center's (TPAC) Jeremy Stevens and drama therapist Caitlin Cairns who will discuss how theatre activities offer improved health and vitality for older adults. The webinar will take participants through steps of creating and implementing theatre programs for older adults in their communities.

There is no cost to register for the webinar. Register below to join.

Making Theatre with Older Adults
An Oklahoma Arts Council Creative Aging Initiative Webinar
Monday, November 27
11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Register here (no cost)

VISION Arts 5 Grants Available Through November

Made possible by funding approved by voters in 2016 through the Vision Tulsa program, VISION Arts 5 grants are available to 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(3)-sponsored organizations for art projects that stimulate economic development throughout Tulsa. Organizations may request up to $50,000 in funding through the program with no match requirement.

Projects that will receive priority consideration for funding include events, programs, and festivals that attract a broad audience of visitors; projects that highlight destinations through cultural events and creative activity; multimedia projects that tell Tulsa's arts story; projects that increase access to cultural attractions; and, projects that embrace a collaborative approach to enhance the local community through the arts.

Proposals must specify how they will promote tourism or have an economic impact within Tulsa.

View and download the grant program guide.

The close of applications is Friday, December 22, 5:00 p.m. CST.

Women's Studio Workshop Residency Grant

Six- to eight-week residencies are available to eligible artists through the Women's Studio Workshop Studio Residency Grant program. Residencies take place in the organization's studios, housed in an historic building in the foothills of New York's Hudson Valley Shawangunk Mountains. Through the residency program, artists focus on creating artworks in the disciplines of intaglio, letterpress, papermaking, screenprinting, photography, or ceramics. Artists at any career stage are invited to apply.

Grants through the program include a stipend of $350 per week, up to $500 for materials, and up to $250 for travel. Free onsite housing is provided along with technical advice and production assistance.

Applications are due November 15.

Learn more and apply here.

Anadarko Awarded T-Mobile Hometown Grant for Historic Theatre

Anadarko was named as one of 25 communities across the U.S. that wil receive funding through T-Mobile's Hometown Grant program. A partnership of T-Mobile with Main Street America and Smart Growth America, the program awards funding to towns of populations of less than 50,000 people with the goal of revitalizing and strengthening small communities and rural areas.

Anadarko's project will include the beautification of historic downtown Miller Theater. For the project, an outdoor greenspace area will be added, a raised stage and amphitheater will be built, and a new mural honoring the town's rich Native American cultures will be created.

Read the announcement.

Applications are accepted on a quarterly basis. View details and dates here.

NEA Accepting Applications for The Big Read

The National Endowment for the Arts' (NEA) Big Read program provides support for community-wide reading programs across the U.S. Applications are currently open for grants that can support projects scheduled between September 2024 and June 2025. Award amounts range between $5,000 and $20,000. Nonprofit organizations, public libraries, school districts, local and tribal governments, and other entitites can submit an intent to apply for funding by January 10, 2024. 

In addition to funding, the program provides training opportunities, digital resources, and outreach materials. Applicants choose from a library of 50 available Big Read books and organize activities such as author readings, book discussions, art exhibitions, lectures, and panel discussions.

Offered through the NEA's partnership with Arts Midwest, the goal of the program is to inspire meaningful conversations, artistic responses, and new connections in communities nationwide.

Learn how to apply for Big Read funding and organize a reading program for your community.

High Schools Can Register for 2023-24 Poetry Out Loud Competition

Oklahoma high schools can register their schools to participate in the 2023-24 Oklahoma Poetry Out Loud competition. Administered by Oklahoma A+ Schools, the program is a free recitation contest for students in grades 9-12. The winner of the state competition receives $200 and an all-expenses paid trip with an adult chaperone to Washington, D.C., to compete in the national finals.

Since it was established in 2005, the national competition has grown to reach more than four million students in 17,000 schools nationwide. Made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life.

Oklahoma A+ Schools manages the state program in partnership with the Oklahoma Arts Council.

Teachers can register their schools here for the competition. November 1 is the deadline to register.

Miranda Gilbert Ready to Connect Oklahomans with Art Resources

New to the staff of the Oklahoma Arts Council, Miranda Gilbert is not necessarily new to the agency. A longtime resident of Guymon in the Oklahoma panhandle, Gilbert has been affiliated with the Oklahoma Arts Council on numerous occasions over the years. In varied tourism and community development roles in Guymon, Gilbert often spearheaded funding efforts, seeking arts council grants for local programming and cultural district work. She is an alumnus of the agency's Leadership Arts program, and she served on one of the agency's statewide arts education task forces.

As she begins her full-time service with the agency as Director of Community Arts and Workforce Programs, Gilbert's perception of the Oklahoma Arts Council is anchored in her previous involvement with its grants and services. She states the agency has tremendous impact on the panhandle and rural communities.

"The area is rich in culture and Oklahoma Arts Council grants and leadership support touches all ages and demographics in community and economic development," Gilbert said.

To her new role on staff, Gilbert brings varied experience she feels will lead to fruitful synergy. Previous work with at-risk populations in Tulsa—experienced while exploring the idea of art therapy—taught her how to advocate and refer people to resources. Journalism work showed her how to research and learn the story behind a person or organization while furthering her grasp of how government shapes communities and their economies. More recently, in a role with the State of Oklahoma's cybersecurity team, she performed outreach and conference planning, and she was involved in workforce development initiatives. The common thread, according to Gilbert: Each role required her to assess, research, and gain an understanding of a community's strengths relative to its needs when linking people to resources.

As she embarks on her latest endeavor of organizing two of the Oklahoma Arts Council's popular development programs—Leadership Arts and the Oklahoma Arts Conference—Gilbert is fully prepared to connect Oklahomans with these and other essential resources for building strong communities and workforce programs through the arts.

Miranda Gilbert can be reached at (405) 308-9270 and

Oklahoma Arts Council Seeks Curator of Capitol Exhibitions

The Oklahoma Arts Council is accepting applications from experienced art museum professionals interested in serving as the agency's Curator of Capitol Exhibitions. The position develops and implements exhibition and education plans for four galleries in the Oklahoma State Capitol, including The Betty Price Gallery—a museum-quality gallery and home of the Oklahoma State Art Collection—and three temporary rotating galleries.

As exhibitions coordinator, this position identifies and maintains a list of Oklahoma artists for potential selection for the rotating galleries, managing all stages of exhibition development and execution. The curator also collaborates with the Director of Collections Management on creation and maintenance of loan agreement records, insurance coverage, and condition reports.

Applications for the position must be submitted through

Celebrating Staff Milestones

The staff of the Oklahoma Arts Council is the agency's most valued resource. Each member is committed to public service, cherishing the opportunity to meet needs of the sector and build a stronger Oklahoma through the arts.

Staff Anniversaries in November

Molly O'Connor celebrates her 17th year with the Oklahoma Arts Council in November. She has been a member of the agency's staff since 2006. Currently the Director of Rural and Creative Community Outreach, O'Connor originally served as the agency's Arts Learning in Communities Director, and more recently as Assistant Director. Her new title reflects her Assistant Director responsibilities, reshaped to convey her oversight over the agency's rural, community, and workforce development programs.

Having organized the Oklahoma Arts Conference and Leadership Arts programs for nearly a decade, O'Connor's responsibilities were recently shifted to leverage her longtime service at the agency in an increase administrative capacity.

Congratulations to Molly as she celebrates another landmark year serving Oklahomans through the arts!