Skip navigation

Oklahoma Arts Council News

June 2015

Oklahoma Arts Council Seeks Nominations for 40th Annual Governor's Arts Awards


OKLAHOMA CITY (June 9, 2015) – Now through August 7, the Oklahoma Arts Council is inviting Oklahomans statewide to submit nominations for the 40th Annual Governor’s Arts Awards. Each fall, the Governor presents the awards during a special ceremony at the State Capitol, recognizing individuals and organizations whose efforts in the arts have made an impact in communities, schools, or across the state.

The 2015 Governor’s Arts Awards marks a banner year for the event.

“This year, we celebrate not only the 40th anniversary of the Governor’s Arts Awards, but the 50th anniversary of the Oklahoma Arts Council,” Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Amber Sharples said.

Read the full news release...

2015 Legislative Session Impacts Oklahoma Arts Council

The Oklahoma Arts Council will have $274,406 less to invest in Oklahoma's arts and cultural industry during the upcoming fiscal year, due to a reduction in its state appropriation.

On June 1, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed into law the fiscal year 2016 state budget, which included an appropriation of $3,510,505 for the Oklahoma Arts Council. The amount represents a 7.25 percent cut to the state agency's current fiscal year budget. Since fiscal year 2009, the Oklahoma Arts Council's budget is down approximately 32 percent.

Also enacted during the 2015 legislative session was a bill that places Oklahoma's Art in Public Places program under the Oklahoma Arts Council. The agency will administer the program beginning July 1, 2015.

Read more about the state budget.

Read the full news release from the Oklahoma Arts Council.

Nominate an Individual or Organization for a 2015 Governor's Arts Award

The annual Oklahoma Governor's Arts Awards is your opportunity to bring special recognition to those individuals or organizations that are making a difference in the arts in your community or school. Nominations for the 2015 awards are available now through August 7.

Each year, the Governor's Arts Awards Selection Committee considers nominations 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, and Public Service in the Arts Award (for local and state government officials).

Through August 7, nominate an individual or organization from your community for a 2015 Governor's Arts Award.

Learn more about the Governor's Arts Awards and view past winners here. Deadline to submit a nomination is August 7.

Grant Opportunities with Upcoming Deadlines from the NEA

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has funding opportunities with upcoming deadlines in two grant categories. Consider submitting for funding through one the following:

  • Art Works - Provides grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 for projects in a wide variety of artistic disciplines. Projects with an emphasis on arts education may also be funded. The NEA welcomes projects that are distinct and potentially transformative, meeting NEA objectives in the areas of creation, engagement, learning, and livability. Deadline to apply is July 23, 2015. View Art Works guidelines here.

  • Our Town - Provides up to $200,000 under two areas. Funding supports creative placemaking projects that integrate arts and culture into community revitalization efforts. For Our Town grant funding, the NEA requires partnerships between arts organizations and government, other nonprofit organizations, and private entities. Deadline to apply is September 21, 2015. View Our Town guidelines here.

Now is the time to begin planning your grant application to earn support from the NEA. Visit the NEA website for more information.

Joan Mitchell Foundation Offers Grants to Artists Impacted by Disasters

With recent storms having impacted Oklahomans statewide, artists and arts organizations are encouraged to always be prepared to protect their assets and to learn about resources available to them in times of emergencies.

Through the Joan Mitchell Foundation, assistance is available to visual artists who have suffered significant losses due to natural or manmade disasters. Artists who have been negatively impacted by broad-scale catastrophic situations and would like to seek funding from the Foundation can request more information by contacting

Related: The Joan Mitchell Foundation is part of a national initiative called the National Coalition for Arts Preparedness and Emergency Response. Visit the Craft Emergency Relief Fund website for more information.

Google Ad Grants Available to Nonprofits

Because nonprofit arts organizations are almost always seeking to advance their missions as efficiently as possible, Google Ad Grants may worth consideration. Google is giving nonprofit organizations the ability promote their missions and initiatives through the program, which is the nonprofit edition of AdWord, Google's online advertising tool.

Through Google Ad Words, grantees receive free AdWords advertising on Google search results pages. The program can help organizations:

  • Promote their website on Google

  • Raise awareness by using keywords and creating ads to highlight your organization's work

  • Track online donations, newsletter sign-ups, volunteer registrations, and more

Grantees receive up to $10,000 per month in in-kind AdWords advertising. Click here to learn more about Google Ad Words, and to apply.

OCTA Summer Conference to Focus on Creating Access

During the Oklahoma Community Theatre Association's (OCTA) upcoming 2015 summer conference, individuals involved in community theater across the state can learn how to reach and serve more Oklahomans through their programs.

Taking place July 25 in Oklahoma City, conference workshops will focus on topics such as diversity, partnering with older adults, and serving children with special needs. The day-long conference will feature Dr. Andrew Morgan, founder of The Penguin Project, an award-winning program in Illinois that gives children with special needs an opportunity to participate in the performing arts.

For details about the conference schedule, and to register, visit the OCTA website.

Take Advantage of Free Accessibility Webinars

Enacted in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was aimed at removing barriers and empowering individuals who have disabilities. As the landmark law turns 25 years old in 2015, the Oklahoma Arts Council remains committed to making the arts accessible to all Oklahomans, providing guidance and resources to organizations in order that they prioritize accessibility for those in their communities.

A free webinar series being offered by the ADA National Network and partners will equip your organization to serve all individuals through your arts programs. The next webinar will take place June 25 and will focus on Assistive Listening Technology. Past topics have included best practices for accommodating patrons with hearing loss, content and design considerations for app accessibility, and inexpensive options for access.

View and register for free upcoming webinars.

Visit the ADA website or the Oklahoma Office of Disability Concerns website for more information about accessibility.

Oklahoma Arts Council Reveals 50th Anniversary Logo

The Oklahoma Arts Council is pleased to reveal a special 50th anniversary logo to commemorate 50 years of service to the citizens of our state. Throughout 2015-16, during events such as the 2015 Oklahoma Arts Conference and the 2015 Governor's Arts Awards, the logo will bring recognition to all that has been accomplished in the arts in Oklahoma since 1965. Look for more to come as we revisit 50 years of supporting and developing the arts across our state!

Read some of the highlights from 50 years of Oklahoma Arts Council history.

In Memoriam: Roster Artists Shannon Calderon and Larry Pierce

Oklahoma's arts community has lost two of its members in recent weeks. This month, we remember our friends Shannon Calderon and Larry Pierce. Calderon was a member of the Oklahoma Arts Council's Teaching Artist Roster and director and owner of Everything Goes Dance Studio in Oklahoma City's Plaza District. Pierce was a member of the Council's Performing Artist Roster, where he was a vocalist and pianist for the Larry Pierce Combo, a jazz group from Oklahoma City. These two talented Oklahoma artists will be missed, but in enriching their communities through their talents, their contributions live on.