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Oklahoma Arts Council News

November 2016

Arts Conference Brings 450 to Stillwater

"Arts are not an amenity, they are a necessity," stated Oklahoma State University (OSU) President Burns Hargis during the Wednesday, October 25 general session of the 2016 Oklahoma Arts Conference. His statement was met with applause from a room full of nearly 450 people in attendance at the conference in Stillwater.

During two general sessions, President Hargis and OSU First Lady Ann Hargis, special guest speakers, shared their vision for making the arts a priority at OSU. From using the arts to teach students to be innovative thinkers to building world-class art museums and performing arts facilities to enrich the campus and community, the Hargises demonstrated why they are champions of the arts.

Plan now to join us for next year's Oklahoma Arts Conference in Enid, October 25-26, 2017. Watch Lt. Governor Todd Lamb's video announcing Enid as the site of the 2017 Oklahoma Arts Conference.

See photos from the 2016 Oklahoma Arts Conference.

View #okartsconference conversations on Twitter.

2016 Governor's Arts Awards Recipients Announced

Thirteen individuals and eight organizations will be honored for their efforts in the arts during the 41st Annual Governor's Arts Awards on Wednesday, December 7, 2016. Awards will be presented by Governor Mary Fallin during a special ceremony at the Oklahoma State Capitol. 

Josephine Freede of Oklahoma City and Ann Lacy of Yukon will receive the prestigious Governor's Award for their longtime leadership and significant contributions to the arts. Honorees from across the state will receive awards in seven categories for their work in impacting Oklahoma communities and schools.

Open to the public, the awards ceremony will take place in the fourth floor rotunda of the Capitol beginning at 4:00 p.m. on December 7.

See the list of the 2016 Governor's Arts Awards honorees.

Apply for the 2017 Leadership Arts Program

Each year, the Oklahoma Arts Council's Leadership Arts program equips 30 individuals from across the state with the tools needed to advance the arts in their communities. Many of the 280 Leadership Arts graduates from nearly 80 Oklahoma communities are currently working to make a difference in the arts in their areas.

During four two-day spring sessions held in different Oklahoma communities, Leadership Arts class members learn about the arts' role in impacting local economies, improving education, and creating a high quality of life. Classes include reading assignments, group work, tours of community art spaces, and more.

Applications are now being accepted to be part of the 2017 class of Leadership Arts. Artists, arts administrators, board members, community developers, civic leaders, educators, and other individuals statewide are invited to apply. The program and curriculum is free. Class members pay for their food, travel, and lodging.

The application deadline is December 5, 2016.

Click here to learn more about the program.

Apply for Leadership Arts here.

Oklahoma Arts Education Survey Results

The Oklahoma Arts Council has released findings of a survey intended to assess the needs of Oklahoma schools regarding arts education and to learn how community organizations are partnering with schools in the state.

With nearly 500 responses, results show that respondants are aware of a higher percentage of organizations in urban than suburban or rural areas partnering to offer programming to students at schools. Results also indicate the types of fine arts classes of which respondants are aware. A higher percentage of respondants indicated awareness of music (band, orchestra, and/or chorus) and visual arts programs than dance, drama/theatre, media or other arts.

When asked about schools' greatest needs or challenges to expanding arts instruction, respondents cited lack of funding and time, large class sizes, staffing issues, and more. Nonprofit organizations cited the need to "find the champion in each school" and schools' time and curriculum constraints as barriers to partnerships.

The Oklahoma Arts Council will use results from the survey in determining how to meet arts education needs of schools across the state.

See the report, "Lessons from the Field: 2016 Oklahoma Arts Education Survey Findings."

Town Halls a Chance to Stress Arts Education

The Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) is holding a series of town hall meetings across the state to gather feedback on implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in Oklahoma. The town halls are an opportunity for arts education supporters to voice their thoughts on using the arts to meet education needs in our state.

A bi-partisan effort in Washington, D.C., ESSA was signed into law in 2015. The act seeks to reduce federal oversight of education and increase state flexibility in use of federal education funds. As the law goes into effect in the 2017-18 school year, the Oklahoma State Department of Education is determining how to implement the act in our state.

OSDE is set to host town hall meetings in the following communities:

  • November 14: Capitol Hill High School, Oklahoma City (6:00 p.m.)
  • November 15: Metropolitan Baptist Church, Tulsa (6:30 p.m.)
  • December 5: Enid High School (6:00 p.m.)
  • December 6: Yukon High School (6:00 p.m.)
  • December 12: Martin Luther King Community Center, Muskogee (6:00 p.m.)

Read more about ESSA here on OSDE's website.

How arts education can play a role in ESSA in Oklahoma.

Details on the town hall meetings.

Call for Student Submissions for Art, Writing Awards

The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers is now welcoming submissions for the 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Students in grades 7-12 submit individual works or a portfolio in 29 categories of art and writing. Those selected will earn scholarships and a chance to have their work exhibited and published.

Last year, more than $10 million in scholarships were awarded to talented teens across the country. Since the program’s inception in 1923, countless students have received recognition for their work. Famous alumni include Andy Warhol, Lena Dunham, Zac Posen, and countless others.

Click to determine guidelines, deadlines for your region.

Learn more about the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

2017-18 NEA Big Read Guidelines Available

Details and application instructions for the upcoming Big Read program have been released. The National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with Arts Midwest, will support approximately 75 community reading programs that aim to spark conversation and discovery. The Big Read initiative will provide selected organizations with a grant, training opportunities, digital resources, and promotional materials aimed at their community. Applicants must select one of 28 diverse selections from the NEA Big Read booklist as the focus of their program.

Eligible organizations include nonprofits, government entities, or tax-exempt public libraries. Applicant organizations that are not considered libraries must partner with one located in their community.

Applications must be submitted by January 26, 2017.

Click here to learn about the Big Read initiative.

Inspired by a Teacher in Your Life?

Nominations are currently open for The Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards. Current or former students may create a short written, audio, or video story detailing a specific interaction with a teacher that greatly impacted their life. Nominators must be at least 18 years of age and no longer enrolled in the school where the nominee was their teacher.

Selected teachers will receive a $10,000 award to show appreciation for their contributions to education. Additionally, they will be showcased with the student who nominated them on The Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teachers Awards web site.

Nominations must be submitted by December 31.

Learn more and complete your nomination here.

New Addition to Oklahoma Public Art Collection

Oklahoma State University (OSU) President Burns Hargis helped dedicate new works of public art on the campus of Oklahoma State University on October 24, during pre-conference activities of the 2016 Oklahoma Arts Conference in Stillwater.

The installation, featuring six transparent glass disks representing research disciplines of OSU's new Henry Bellmon Research Center, were created by California artist Gordon Huether. Landscape architecture students from OSU developed design concepts for a sculpture courtyard featuring Huether's work, with many concepts reflected in the installation. The project was a collaborative effort of Oklahoma State University and the Oklahoma Arts Council's Art in Public Places program.

Former United States Congressman Wes Watkins, his wife and current Oklahoma State University regent Lou Watkins, and other university and community representatives were in attendance. As part of the dedication, Oklahoma Arts Council board chair Nancy Leonard said she looks forward to future public art collaborations with OSU.

Read about the new work of public art by Gordon Huether.

Related: Apply for the Oklahoma Art in Public Places Pre-Qualified Artist Pool.

NEA Expands Military Partnership

In an effort to increase creative art therapy programs for members of the armed forces, veterans, and military families, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has announced an expansion of its partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense.

By expanding the current partnership into the Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network, the program will result in increased investment in research on the benefits of these innovative treatment methods. By 2017, ten military clinical sites across the country will be served through the network.

Funding for art and music therapists, creative writing instructors, and program support will be included. The NEA is also creating an online toolkit to help communities support members of the military through arts programming.

Learn more about the Creative Forces network here.

Related: Learn about the Oklahoma Arts and the Military Initiative.

'Pro Patria' a Tribute to Veterans

Commissioned by Bartlesville oilman Frank Phillips and dedicated on Veterans Day, November 11, 1928, Pro Patria commemorates the tragedies and triumphs of World War I, and specifically eulogizes fallen soldiers from Oklahoma.

The large painting, which hangs prominently above a grand staircase inside the Oklahoma State Capitol represents the courage and sacrifice of a brave solder answering his country's call to war. It was the first work of art installed in the interior of the Capitol.

Thomas Gilbert White, a world-renowned artist and decorated member of the United States Army Reserves, painted his pieces in Paris and shipped them to the United States. Pro Patria includes a lunette above the central panel as well as two flanking panels (not pictured).

Learn more about Pro Patria.