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Oklahoma Arts Council News

June 2016

Proposed 16 Percent Cut for Oklahoma Arts Council

With the end of the 2016 state legislative session, state leaders have sent Governor Fallin a state budget proposal that includes a reduction to the Oklahoma Arts Council budget equaling 16.3 percent of the agency's original budget for last year. If signed by the Governor, the state fiscal year 2017 budget would reduce the Oklahoma Arts Council's appropriation to $2,938,293, its lowest since fiscal year 1990.

With a $1.3 billion shortfall in revenues to fund state government for fiscal year 2017, state leaders have proposed a budget that cuts funding to most state agencies. The 2017 fiscal year begins July 1, 2016.

Read more about the proposed budget here.

An update will be provided when the state budget is signed.

Nominations Now Being Accepted for Governor's Arts Awards

The Oklahoma Arts Council is now accepting nominations for the 41st Annual Governor's Arts Awards. Nominations will be accepted through August 2.
Awards are given to individuals and organizations whose efforts in the arts have impacted communities and/or schools. Categories include:

  • The Governor's Award

  • Arts in Education Award

  • Business in the Arts Award

  • Community Service in the Arts Award

  • Media in the Awards Award

  • Public Service in the Arts Award

There are two ways to submit a nomination:

» Submit an online nomination.
» Download a nomination form.

Nominations require a two- to three-page typewritten narrative. Optional support materials, such as letters of recommendation, may also be submitted. The Governor will present the awards during a special ceremony at the State Capitol in the fall.

Learn more about the Governor's Arts Awards.

2016 Oklahoma Arts Conference to Focus on New Landscape

With significant reductions in funding from public and private sources, Oklahoma's arts industry is confronting the challenges of a changing landscape. The 2016 Oklahoma Arts Conference will outfit artists, nonprofit administrators, board members, community developers, educators, and others with the tools needed to face these challenges and make steadfast progress toward achieving their goals.

Plan now to join more than 400 members of Oklahoma's arts community at the 2016 Oklahoma Arts Conference in Stillwater on October 25-26. During the conference, attendees will learn how to navigate the new realities confronting the arts in our state.

Earlybird registration begins August 1. Details about sessions, speakers, events, and more will be announced soon.

Learn more about the Oklahoma Arts Conference.

View photos of last year's conference.

NEA Awards $850,000 in Funding to Oklahoma

The latest round of National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grants, announced May 10, include an investment of almost $850,000 for the arts in Oklahoma. Funding will boost arts programming, cultural development, and educational opportunities.

In addition to the Oklahoma Arts Council's state partnership grant totaling $733,300, four Oklahoma applicants will receive funding, including:

  • City of Durant - awarded an Our Town grant of $50,000 to support the master plan and design of an arts district.

  • Oklahoma State University - awarded an Art Works grant of $40,000 to support an exhibition of artwork and programming centered on female deities in Native American creation stories.

  • Tulsa Opera - awarded an Art Works grant of $10,000 for its education outreach program to elementary and middle school students.

  • University of Oklahoma - awarded an Art Works grant of $40,000 to support the commissioning and exhibition of photographs of Oklahoma's Native American community by contemporary Navajo artist Will Wilson.

See the announcement.

Apply for an NEA Art Works grant. Deadline is July 14.

OKC Business Named Top 10 Arts Partner

Dunlap Codding, an Oklahoma City-based law firm specializing in intellectual property, has been named one of ten Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America for 2016.

Among its efforts to support the arts, Dunlap Codding has opened its doors to weekly events such as jazz improvisation nights, theatre opening night parties, board meetings, a concert series, underground theatre, storytelling festivals, and more. It has also sponsored a gala benefiting the deadCENTER Film Festival and Oklahoma City Girls Art School.

Every year, through its Business Committee for the Arts (BCA) program, Americans for the Arts recognizes ten businesses across the nation for their exceptional involvement with the arts that enriches the workplace, education, and the community. These businesses set the standard for excellence and serve as models for others to follow. Dunlap Codding will be honored October 5 at a gala in New York City.

Among the ten businesses to be honored in 2016 are Proctor & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, and other well known companies. Our congratulations and thanks to Dunlap Codding for representing Oklahoma.

Read more about the BCA 10 program here.

Exhibition to Showcase Veterans' Artwork

Following several months of visual art and creative writing workshops led by teaching artists at the Norman Veterans Center, artwork produced by participants in an Oklahoma Arts Council pilot program will be exhibited at the Firehouse Art Center beginning June 10.

The exhibition, Veterans: Experience & Expression, will showcase art created in workshops that featured tailored curriculum and high-level arts instruction. Workshops were presented by Firehouse Art Center instructors Jane Lawson and Sarah Engel-Barnett and Cameron University instructor Jason Poudrier. The Norman Veterans Center pilot program is part of the Oklahoma Arts Council's Arts and the Military Initiative.

Receptions for the exhibition will be hosted at the Firehouse Art Center on June 10 and July 8 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. during Norman's 2nd Friday Art Walk. The exhibition is scheduled to end July 23.

Oklahoma Museums Participating in Military Initiative

From Miami to Fort Sill, more than 25 Oklahoma museums across the state are offering free admission to military service men and women and their families this summer as part of the Blue Star Museums program. The program is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Blue Star Families and the Department of Defense. Launched in 2010, the Blue Star Museums program gives service members and their families opportunities to enjoy the nation's cultural heritage and learn more about their new communities after a military move. More than 2,000 museums participate nationwide.

See participating Oklahoma museums.

Museums interested in participating in 2016 Blue Star Museums can contact

Learn about the program.

Humanities Grants Available for Exhibitions, More

Grant funding for cultural programming is available to nonprofits through two programs of the Oklahoma Humanities Council.

Awards of up to $8,500 are available through its Major Grants program. Awards of up to $15,000 are available through its Challenge Grants program.
Projects such as exhibitions, discussion programs, lectures, panel discussions, audio or video productions and more may be eligible.

Mandatory drafts in each grant category are due August 1.

Visit the Oklahoma Humanities Council website for details.

Prominent Creative Aging Speaker Coming to Oklahoma

Susan Perlstein, Founder Emeritus for the National Center for Creative Aging in Washington, D.C., will be a keynote presenter at Rethink Aging, a summer institute being presented June 23 and 24 by the Oklahoma Healthy Aging Initiative.

The two-day institute will encourage participants to explore innovations in aging services, with several sessions focusing on the arts. Perlstein will present Aging and the Arts during the June 24 opening session. Oklahoma Arts Council Arts Learning in Communities Director, Chandra Boyd, will present a concurrent session on June 24 titled The Creative Age in Oklahoma. View the two-day schedule here.

In addition to the National Center for Creative Aging, Perlstein founded Elders Share the Arts in New York City. She has served as a consultant for the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York City Board of Education.

State Poet Laureate Nominations Due June 30

June 30 is the deadline to nominate the next Oklahoma State Poet Laureate. Nominations are currently being accepted from poetry societies, libraries, local arts and humanities councils, colleges and universities, and writers' groups. The poet selected for the honorary position will serve a two-year term, beginning January 1, 2017.

Nominees must be distinguished poets who are residents of Oklahoma and have a published body of work that includes at least one original book. They must also be committed to outreach and the promotion of poetry statewide.

The Oklahoma Arts Council coordinates the work of the Poet Laureate Nomination Review Committee. The committee makes recommendations to the Governor, who makes the final selection of the Oklahoma State Poet Laureate.

Learn about the Oklahoma State Poet Laureate program.

Download a nomination packet here.

Last Chance to View Art at Capitol

This summer will be the last opportunity in the foreseeable future for Oklahomans to view more than 300 works of art in the Capitol Art Collection and State Art Collection.

As major construction begins in an effort to repair and renovate the Oklahoma State Capitol, the artwork belonging to the people of our state is being removed or protected in place by the Oklahoma Arts Council's visual art staff.

From monumental murals depicting important events in our state and portraits of famous Oklahomans, to works of art in various media produced by Oklahoma's most prominent artists, the two collections bring together our state's unique history and rich creative heritage.

View the collections at the Capitol soon. Click here to learn more about each.

Oklahoma Arts Council Seeks Nominations for 41st Annual Governor's Arts Awards

OKLAHOMA CITY (June 1, 2016) – The Oklahoma Arts Council is seeking nominations for the 41st Annual Governor’s Arts Awards through August 2. The awards recognize individuals and organizations whose contributions to the arts have had an impact in communities, schools, or across the state. The awards are presented by the Governor during a special ceremony at the state Capitol in the fall.