As a state agency, the Oklahoma Arts Council represents the essence of efficient and effective state government. Only seven percent of the Council's budget is used for administrative costs. Eighty percent of the Council's budget directly benefits communities statewide in the form of grant support for arts and cultural programs. Services to constituents comprise the remaining 13 percent of the Council's budget.
Members of the Oklahoma Arts Council staff are skilled, passionate and well-educated professionals dedicated to serving the entire state through the arts.
Director of Arts Education Programs
Renee Boone Oklahoma Arts Council
Curator of Education and Capitol Galleries
Alyson Atchison Oklahoma Arts Council
Community Arts Director
Joshua LunsfordOklahoma Arts Council
Director of Finance
Ben Hanneman Oklahoma Arts Council
Director of Marketing and Communications
Joel Gavin Oklahoma Arts Council
Director of Cultural Development
Molly O'Connor Oklahoma Arts Council
Meleia Williamson Oklahoma Arts Council
Visual Arts Director
About Our Staff
Alyson Atchison (Curator of Education and Capitol Galleries) graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) with a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Education. She is the former Director of the Community Arts Program at the Arts Council of Oklahoma City and has taught Serigraphy at UCO and Oklahoma Christian University. A founding committee member of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition's exhibit, Momentum: Art Doesn't Stand Still, Atchison's artwork has been displayed nationally. As Curator of Education and Capitol Galleries, Atchison manages the rotating exhibits in the North, East, and Governor's Galleries. She also develops educational resources for Teaching with Capitol Art.
Renee Boone (Director of Arts Education Programs) graduated from Southern Methodist University with a Bachelor of Music in music therapy and a Master of Sacred Music. She is a Board Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC). Before returning home to Oklahoma in 2011, Boone taught voice, piano, and musical theatre; worked as a music therapist in private practice; and directed choirs in New York, Dallas, and Atlanta. She taught general music, Advanced Placement music theory, and directed choirs at the junior high and high school level in Atlanta. In her role with the Council, Boone provides oversight for the Council's school-based and community-based arts education programs and manages the Teaching Artist Roster. Boone also serves as the agency's accessibility coordinator.
Gaye Carbajal (Grants/Finance Assistant) graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. Prior to joining the Council in August 2012, she was a Retirement Benefit Analyst with the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System. Her responsibilities with the Council include providing excellent customer service to applicants and grantees, maintaining grant and contact databases and files; and processing grant payments.
Scott Cowan (Publications/Web Director) began his education at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma and received a B.A. in painting from the University of Central Oklahoma in 1995. Cowan earned an M.L.A in painting from Oklahoma City University in 1997 and an M.A. in Art History from the University of Oklahoma in 2001. He currently works as the Publications/ Web Director for the Arts Council.
Joel Gavin (Director of Marketing and Communications) earned his Master of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Oklahoma. He also holds a Bachelor of Business Administration. Gavin served as a Liaison and Public Policy Specialist for Governor Brad Henry before joining the Council in 2009. His duties include writing the monthly newsletter, managing media relations, generating and editing content for the website, and developing an overall marketing and communications strategy for the agency.
Ben Hanneman (Director of Finance) is a Certified Procurement Officer. Hanneman holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance degree from Southern Nazarene University. Prior to joining the Arts Council, Hanneman was the Accounting Manager for the Oklahoma District Attorneys Council. His responsibilities include managing the agency budget, payroll, accounts payable, and purchasing for the agency.
Joshua Lunsford (Community Arts Director) joined the Council in 2012. Lunsford holds a Master of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Oklahoma with a focus on nonprofit marketing and management. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising from OU. Prior to joining the Oklahoma Arts Council, Lunsford was the Associate Director for the Norman Arts Council and gallery manager of MAINSITE Contemporary Art in Norman. As Community Arts Director, Lunsford oversees the Community Arts Programs, the Oklahoma Performing Artist Roster, and the ONEAL Network.
Molly O'Connor (Director of Cultural Development) holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 3-D Design from the University of Oklahoma. She previously worked for the Arts Council of Oklahoma City as Director of the WinterTales Storytelling Festival and Director of Opening Night. O'Connor has been employed with the Oklahoma Arts Council since 2006 and currently serves as Director of Cultural Development. O'Connor manages the Leadership Arts program and organizes the Oklahoma Arts Conference. She is a multi-disciplinary artist and her work combines creative writing with the visual and performing arts.
Amber Sharples (Executive Director) graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in Art History. She holds a Graduate Certificate in Museum Collections Management and Care from The George Washington University. Sharples joined the Oklahoma Arts Council staff in 2006 as Visual Arts Director after working as Public Affairs and Communications Coordinator at the U.S.-Mexico Foundation for Culture in Mexico City. In 2011, she was named Assistant Director. As Executive Director, Sharples works with the Oklahoma Arts Council board and staff to implement agency goals and objectives and responds to the needs of the state's arts community through financial support, services and advocacy. She serves on various boards of agencies, commissions and nonprofits, including: Capitol Preservation Commission; Arts Standards Committee; Friends of the Mansion; Mid-America Arts Alliance; Native American Cultural and Educational Authority; and the Governor's Innovation Index Task Force.
Clint Stone (Visual Arts Director) joined the Council in July of 2012. Stone previously served as the executive director of Individual Artists of Oklahoma and the artistic director at City Arts Center of Oklahoma City. Stone earned his degree in Visual Art and Design Education from the University of Central Oklahoma. As Visual Arts Director his responsibilities include managing the State Art Collection and functioning as a curator in the development and execution of original exhibitions in the Betty Price Gallery at the Oklahoma state Capitol.
Amy Weaver (Deputy Director) is the former Development Director for the Native American Cultural and Educational Authority where she was a key member of the fundraising team that raised $40 million in private, tribal and local government funding for the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum. Weaver’s experience includes Executive Director of the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, Grants Director for the Cultural Arts Council of Houston/Harris County, and Program Administrator for Performing Arts and Special Projects for the Texas Commission on the Arts. Her background includes grant writing and grants management, fundraising, contact management system development, cultural planning, and nonprofit management. Amy has an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music and Business from the University of Oklahoma.
Meleia Williamson (Grants Director) assumed her current position with the Council in January of 2011. Prior to joining the Council staff, Williamson worked in New York for motion graphics companies and post-production houses. As Grants Director, Williamson oversees the Council's grant making programs, ensuring the application of the policies that preside over the programs. Williamson holds a degree in Film and Videos Studies and is currently working on her Master in Library and Information Studies at the University of Oklahoma.