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Oklahoma Arts Council News

May 2016

Council Veterans Program Makes the News

The Oklahoma Arts Council's pilot program at the Norman Veterans Center made the news in April when The Oklahoman covered the story of program instructor Jason Poudrier. A Purple Heart recipient, Poudrier credits creative writing with helping him heal from physical and emotional wounds received in combat.

For ten weeks, Poudrier led creative writing classes at the Norman Veterans Center. Classes culminated in a poetry reading on April 27.
The pilot program, which previously included photography workshops and currently includes visual art instruction, was made possible through a partnership between the Oklahoma Arts Council and the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs with special assistance provided by the Norman Firehouse Arts Center.

The pilot program is part of the Oklahoma Arts and the Military Initiative, and will serve as a model for organizations throughout the state to use in serving veterans in their communities.

Read the article, "Power of the Pen."

Watch a NewsOK video about the program.

Economic Impact Survey Out June 1

Beginning June 1, nonprofit arts and cultural organizations throughout Oklahoma will receive surveys that will measure the economic impact of the nonprofit arts industry in our state. The study is being led by Oklahomans for the Arts.

The June surveys will specifically measure organizational expenditures and will include questions about salaries, supply purchases, contracting services, and more. Separately, audience surveys are currently being conducted across the state as part of the overall study.
For questions related to the organizational expenditure surveys, please contact Kelsey Karper on behalf of Oklahomans for the Arts at

Organizations should expect surveys to arrive beginning June 1.

Read about the economic impact study.

Apply for an NEA Art Works Grant

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) currently has funding opportunities available through its Art Works grant program. Grants in this category provide between $10,000 and $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 July 14, 2016.

View Art Works guidelines here.

Governor's Arts Awards Nominations Accepted June 1

Nominations for the 2016 Governor's Arts Awards will be accepted beginning June 1. The awards honor individuals and organizations whose efforts have made an impact in their communities or throughout the state. This year will mark the 41st year of the event.

Award categories include the Governor's Award, Arts in Education, Business in the Arts, Community Service, Media in the Arts, and Public Service in the Arts.

Guidelines for submitting a nomination will be available online June 1.
Submit a nomination and help us recognize the individuals and organizations making a difference in your community or school through the arts.

Learn about the Governor's Arts Awards.

View past award recipients.

Cox Community Investment Grants Deadline May 15

Applications for the Cox Charities Community Investment Grant program can be submitted through May 15. The program is designed to assist nonprofit organizations that provide programs benefitting communties in Cox Communications service areas.

Funding is targeted toward programs that further Cox Communications' goal to build strong communities by enriching the lives of Oklahomans in the areas of the arts, education, technology, and social issues.

Among requirements for funding, eligible organizations must work with public or private sector agencies and leverage funding from public or private sources.

Learn more Community Investment Grants.

Qualities of the Most Vibrant Arts Communities

A new report released by the National Center for Arts Research (NCAR) at Southern Methodist University shows the qualities that make a community vibrant with the arts.

Using measures of demand, supply, and public support for arts and culture on a per capita basis, the report includes an index of the top 20 arts vibrant large communities and top 20 arts vibrant medium and small arts communities in the U.S.

According to the report, arts vibrancy takes many shapes and forms. The index includes communities with large, impressive nonprofit arts institutions as well as areas with smaller organizations, venues, and artist colonies.

See a heat map of the NCAR Arts Vibrancy Index.

View the full report.

Artful Aging Grant Opportunity Announced

A new initiative and national grant opportunity, "Seeding Artful Aging," is available from Aroha Philanthropies. Aroha will select up to 15 nonprofit organizations to participate through a two-part application process.

  • The initiative aims to:
  • Demonstrate the power of artful aging programs to a broad national audience
  • Encourage arts and cultural organizations to develop participatory arts education programs for older adults
  • Encourage organizations that serve older adults to develop arts education programming
  • Disseminate program implementation models

Awards will range from $15,000 to $50,000 for programming beginning January 1, 2017, and grants may be renewed for a second year.

A May 10 webinar will provide further details.

Learn more about the grant opportunity.

Staff Spotlight: Deputy Director Offers Wealth of Experience

In addition to grant making, an important role of the Oklahoma Arts Council is to provide technical assistance to artists, nonprofit organizations, educators, and community developers across the state. Staff expertise is an invaluable resource for Oklahoma's arts community. As Deputy Director, Amy Weaver offers a wealth of experience in nonprofit arts administration.

From early career work with an assembly of Texas local arts agencies to a stint with the Texas Commission on the Arts, and, more recently, positions with the Oklahoma Centennial Commission and Native American Cultural and Education Authority, Weaver's background is an asset for individuals and organizations needing assistance with issues such as community engagement, project management, fund development, strategic planning, and more.

From her experience, Weaver believes nonprofits are best served by focusing on two things: 1) making community connections; and, 2) aligning programs with mission.

Read more about Amy Weaver's experiences and advice for nonprofit arts organizations.

Council Plans for Protecting Capitol Art

As work to repair and restore the 100-year-old Oklahoma State Capitol moves forward, the Oklahoma Arts Council visual art staff is forming a plan to protect more than 300 works of art in the Capitol Art Collection and the State Art Collection. The plan includes removal and appropriate storage of most artwork in the two collections. Larger pieces will be covered to protect them in place.

"With a combined 66 years of experience in collections care and management, extensive educational credentials including a Ph.D. and master's degrees in Art History, Art Administration, and more, our visual art staff has the unique expertise to ensure the artwork belonging to the people of Oklahoma is preserved for future generations," said Amber Sharples, Oklahoma Arts Council executive director. "We encourage Oklahomans to come see their artwork soon, before major renovations begin."

Related: Schools can register for a free DVD about the Capitol artwork.