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Oklahoma Arts Council News

June 2014

With End of Legislative Session, a 'Thank You'

by Amber Sharples, Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director

The Oklahoma Arts Council's fiscal year 2015 budget, which takes effect July 1, 2014, will be 5.5 percent less than we received for fiscal year 2014. Due to a state budget shortfall, reductions were expected and in-line with that of other agencies. We understand the need for us to do our part to share in the sacrifice.
As before, we will do our best to absorb as much of the reductions as possible within our agency, however, because 80 percent of our budget goes back into Oklahoma communities in the form of grants, it will not be possible to avoid cuts to our grants budget. Despite this, we look forward to continuing to invest in supporting and developing Oklahoma's vibrant arts and cultural industry.

Now that the legislative session has ended, on behalf of the Council and staff, I want to thank all of our friends - artists, arts organizations, community developers, educators, and others - who have reached out to us to express their gratitude for the Oklahoma Arts Council's service to the state. My staff and I are proud public servants who will continue to work diligently to provide support for your programs and organize valuable professional development opportunities such as Leadership Arts and the Oklahoma Arts Conference, programs which you've conveyed are important to your organizations, schools, and communities.

Again, thank you. We look forward to seeing and serving you soon.

Accepting Nominations for 39th Annual Governor's Arts Awards

The Oklahoma Governor's Arts Awards has been an annual tradition since 1975, honoring individuals and organizations across Oklahoma for their efforts in the arts. Now through August 8, Oklahomans are encouraged to submit nominations for the 39th annual Governor's Arts Awards. Nominations are considered in several categories, including:

  • The Governor's Award

  • Arts in Education Award

  • Business in the Arts Award

  • Community Service Award

  • Media in the Arts Award

  • Public Service in the Arts Award (state or local government official)

Details about the Governor's Arts Awards and the nomination process are available here.

Click here to submit an online nomination.
Click here to download a nomination form.

Call for Artists: Moore Medical Center Public Art

Destroyed by a tornado on May 20, 2013, the Moore Medical Center will soon be rebuilt, and will include an inspirational work of public art that will serve as a sign of hope and endurance for the community. Oklahoma artists are encouraged to submit proposals for the Moore Medical Center's Art for Healing project. The project calls for artwork that will visually represent the ideas of moving forward, hope for the future, innovation, strength, and protection.

The deadline to submit a proposal is July 17, 2014. Budget for the project is $300,000.

Click here for the official Call for Artists.

'The Big Read': Two Oklahoma Organizations Receive Funding to Promote Reading

The Pioneer Library System in Norman and Northeastern State University in Tahlequah are among 77 organizations nationwide that will receive grants as part of The Big Read. The Big Read is a National Endowment for the Arts program designed to revitalize the role of reading in American culture. The program exposes citizens to great works of literature and promotes reading for pleasure and enrichment.
Grantees receive funding to host a Big Read project between September 2014 and June 2015. Projects are uniquely designed by each grantee organization to give members of their communities the opportunity to read, discuss, and celebrate one of 36 selections from U.S. or world literature.

Learn more about The Big Read.

NEA Art Works Grants Available for Innovative Projects

Art Works grants between $10,000 and $100,000 are available from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support existing or new arts programs. Nonprofit organizations, units of state or local government, and federally recognized tribes may apply. Programs can be large or small and should focus on creating art that meets the highest standards of excellence, engages the public with diverse and excellent art, promotes lifelong learning in the arts, and strengthens the livability of a community. Innovation is strongly encouraged.

For more information, visit the NEA's Art Works page.

Educators: Plan for Next School Year

With the end of the school year, we extend our gratitude to educators across the state for their dedication and efforts to shape the lives of Oklahoma students. As planning begins for the next school year, we encourage educators statewide to take advantage of our grants and programs, which are designed to inspire your students' creativity and critical thinking through the arts. Programs include:

  • Capitol Art Travel Subsidies - reimbursement for travel to the Oklahoma state Capitol for a tour and lessons related to the Capitol artwork.

  • Teaching with Capitol Art - free online lessons and activities related to Oklahoma history and art based on the Capitol Art Collection for use in the classroom.

  • Performing Arts Corps - a one-day program for elementary schools that includes two workshops and a performance by one of our Performing Arts Corps artists.

  • Small Grant Support for Schools - grants of up to $2,500, available twice per year, for hands-on arts education programs. Requires only a 10 percent cash match.

For more information, visit our Arts in Schools page. Connect with our Arts Education Director, Jennifer Barron, at (405) 521-2036 or

Apply for an Oklahoma Humanities Council Opportunity Grant

Programs offered by nonprofit organizations may fit criteria for funding from the Oklahoma Humanities Council. The Humanities Council offers Opportunity Grants of up to $1,000 to support public programming that have a basis in strong scholarship, encourage conversation, are presented in formats that are accessible to and encourage participation by the public, and reflect cooperation among several organizations within a community. The humanities must be central to the project. Art history and criticism, literature, cultural anthropology, and other aspects of the social sciences often fit within the definition of humanities.

Opportunity Grants must be submitted at least 40 days before a program. Applications may be submitted online at any time. Decisions on funding are provided within two weeks.

Click here for more information about Oklahoma Humanities Council Opportunity Grants.

Oklahoma Museums Offer Military Families Free Admission through Blue Star Museums

Active duty, National Guard, and Reserve military personnel and their families can experience some of Oklahoma's top museums for free through Labor Day thanks to Blue Star Museums, an initiative of Blue Star Families, the National Endowment for the Arts, and other partners. From Woodward to Pauls Valley, Shawnee to Grove, more than 30 Oklahoma museums are participating in the program during 2014.

View the list of Oklahoma museums participating in the Blue Star Museums program.

Governor Appoints Muskogee's Cassandra Gaines, Reappoints Five Members to Oklahoma Arts Council

Governor Mary Fallin has appointed Muskogee's Cassandra Gaines to the Oklahoma Arts Council board. Her appointment took effect immediately and ends July 30, 2016. Gaines is currently the director of the Muskogee Civic Center. Her accomplishments include helping to create the Oklahoma Historical Black Town Tour.

The Governor also reappointed five current board members. Susan Coles (Oklahoma City), Ann Hargis (Stillwater), Nancy Leonard (Oklahoma City), J.P. Richard (Lawton), and Hannah Robson (Tulsa) will begin their second three-year terms on the Council when the new fiscal year begins July 1. Council members are responsible for oversight of agency activities, including more than 500 grants to over 300 organizations in communities throughout Oklahoma.