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Oklahoma Arts Council News

April 2015

Lawton to Host National Military Experience and the Arts Symposium May 14-17

Cameron University in Lawton is the site of the second annual Military Experience and the Arts Symposium, an event that will bring hundreds of military veterans, active duty service members, military families, educators, and others from across the country to southwest Oklahoma on May 14-17. Featuring more than 70 workshops, activities, speakers, performances, and events, the symposium is being organized by Military Experience and the Arts, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving veterans through creative expression.

Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Amber Sharples said, "Because Oklahomans have the utmost regard for individuals who have served in the military, and because of our state's growing arts industry, I cannot imagine a better place for this conference to be held."

The Oklahoma Arts Council will participate in the symposium through a staff panel presentation of the agency's new Arts and the Military Initiative.

Click for details and register for the symposium.

Organizations, Individuals Attending Arts Day at the Capitol on May 5

Hosted by Oklahomans for the Arts, Arts Day at the Capitol has become an annual tradition where Oklahomans from all parts of the state come together under the Capitol dome to represent the state's diverse arts industry. The 2015 event will take place Tuesday, May 5. Oklahomans for the Arts is inviting interested individuals, groups, and organizations to register by April 24.

Be sure to come visit with staff of the Oklahoma Arts Council at our booth on the fourth floor rotunda of the Capitol. We look forward to seeing our friends from the arts community on May 5!

How can I be part of Arts Day at the Capitol?

For its 50th Anniversary, the NEA Wants to Share Your Story

How have the arts made a difference in your family? How have the arts impacted your neighborhood or community? Tell your story to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and it may be shared with a national audience.

With the NEA preparing to celebrate its 50th anniversary later this year, the federal agency wants to share individual stories of how the arts have influenced lives across America. Through written narratives, photos, audio, and/or video, your story may be selected to be retold on the NEA's website or through social media.

To participate, complete a short online form and submit your materials through the "Tell Us Your Story" page of the NEA's website. Starting September 29 the date President Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act of 1965, the NEA will begin sharing individual stories.

Share your story with the NEA!

Bethany's Edson Alvarado Wins Poetry Out Loud for Second Straight Year

Edson Alvarado of Bethany High School earned his second straight first-place finish in the annual Oklahoma Poetry Out Loud competition on March 7 in Tulsa. As the winner of the Oklahoma competition, Alvarado will compete in the national Poetry Out Loud competition on April 28-29 in Washington, D.C. Alvarado placed in the top 24 in the 2014 national competition.

Poetry Out Loud is the nation's largest youth poetry recitation competition, offered through a partnership involving the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, and state and local arts councils nationwide. The program gives students an opportunity to master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. The Oklahoma competition is organized by the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa in partnership with the Oklahoma Arts Council.

Related: April is National Poetry Month! Click here to learn how you can be part of the celebration. Also, be sure to learn more about Oklahoma's State Poet Laureate.

How can students get involved in Poetry Out Loud?

OnStage Woodward, Shawnee Little Theatre to Represent State at Regional Competition in Albuquerque

After earning honors for Outstanding Productions during the 2014 OCTAFest competition in Duncan in July, OnStage Woodward and Shawnee Little Theatre will represent Oklahoma community theaters at the upcoming American Association of Community Theatres regional competition in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

On Thursday, April 9, OnStage Woodward will present Graceland/Asleep on the Wind. On Friday, April 10, Shawnee Little Theatre will present Gideon's Knot. Both productions will take place at the KiMo Theatre in Albuquerque. The Oklahoma theaters will compete against other theaters in the region for the opportunity to advance to the national competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan in June.

Read "Cheering for the Arts" in the Woodward News.

Crayola Grants Can Help Schools Build Innovative, Creative Leadership

Elementary school educators who are interested in building their school's creative capacity are encouraged to apply for Crayola's Champion Creatively Alive Children grant program. Aimed at innovative, creative leadership team-building, the program will award $2,500 to 20 schools nationwide.

Schools must put together a collaborative team that will plan innovative ways of infusing creativity throughout the school. In 2014, grants were awarded for plans that included connecting art to other curriculum areas, "design thinking," team-building through the arts, and more.

Explore the Champion Creatively Alive Children grant program.

Oklahoma Today Features Alva's Cultural District Initiative Efforts

Pick up the current issue of Oklahoma Today magazine and you can read how one Oklahoma town in the northwestern part of our state is utilizing local arts and cultural resources to bring energy back to its downtown. With a population of approximately 5,000 people, Alva is the focus of a feature story titled Art on the Plains.

As the pilot community for the Oklahoma Arts Council's Cultural District Initiative, Alva leaders and residents spent more than two years working with Council staff and consultants to formalize a community cultural plan. In the article, you can read how Alva's efforts are beginning to pay off as additional investment in its downtown totaling more than $210,000 so far will result in renovations of historic buildings and the opening of new art and creative spaces.

Preview Oklahoma Today's article, 'Art on the Plains.'

Leadership Arts Class Visits Guthrie

Session two of the 2015 Leadership Arts program took place in Guthrie on March 25-26. The session marked the first time Guthrie has hosted a Leadership Arts session. Session two focused on the development of cultural districts and the arts' contribution to economic vitality.

Several class members talked about their experience with the program through the first two sessions.

Bobby Lee of the National Resource Center for Youth Services at OU-Tulsa cited the Cultural Asset Mapping tool, covered during the program, as a resource he felt would be valuable in his work. Lee also cited the exclusive, in-depth tours of local art spaces as a unique part of Leadership Arts that could help spark ideas for class members to take back to their communities.

Jason Poudrier of Rush Springs, a faculty member at Cameron University, said the comeraderie and energy fostered among class members are important aspects of Leadership Arts. Being relatively new to Oklahoma, Poudrier said he was unaware so many inspiring things were happening in the arts across the state.

Session three of 2015 Leadership Arts will take place April 22-23 in Bartlesville.

Learn about the Leadership Arts program and how you can apply.'