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Oklahoma Arts Council News

October 2016

2016 Governor's Arts Awards Recipients Announced

OKLAHOMA CITY (October 11, 2016) - The Oklahoma Arts Council has announced the names of 13 individuals and 8 organizations that will be honored for their contributions to the arts in Oklahoma during the 41st Annual Governor’s Arts Awards on Wednesday, December 7, 2016.

Read the full news release.

Still Time to Register for the 2016 Oklahoma Arts Conference

The final deadline to register online for the 2016 Oklahoma Arts Conference is October 14. Featuring more than two days of sessions and panels, networking opportunities, tours, performances, and more, the conference is the one event each year that brings Oklahoma's arts and cultural community together in one place. Join hundreds of artists, arts administrators, community developers, educators, civic leaders, students, and others from across the state in Stillwater, October 25-26, for the 2016 Oklahoma Arts Conference.

See the updated conference schedule.

Deadlines for reduced rates at conference hotels are approaching. Reserve a room at one of the conference hotels still offering reduced rates.

Register for the 2016 Oklahoma Arts Conference.

Celebrate National Arts & Humanities Month

October is National Arts & Humanities Month and Americans for the Arts (AFTA) is urging individuals and organizations at the local, state, and national levels to celebrate and promote the importance of culture in America during the month. From a National Creative Conversation on Facebook to a National ArtsMeet Calendar and more, AFTA is facilitating opportunities to get involved.

Participate on social media using the hashtag #ShowYourArt.

Check out AFTA's resource page for toolkits, ideas, and more related to National Arts & Humanities Month.

Amber Sharples Elected to National Arts Board

Amber Sharples, executive director of the Oklahoma Arts Council, has been elected to the 2017 board of directors for the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA). Named as the executive director of the Oklahoma Arts Council in 2013, Sharples has been with the state agency dedicated to the advancement of Oklahoma’s arts industry since 2006. Following a rigorous nomination process, she was selected as one of three new NASAA directors. The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies is a nonpartisan, nonprofit membership organization that unifies and serves the nation’s art agencies. Sharples’ election will allow Oklahoma to be represented within an organization that impacts communities across the country through the arts.

Learn more about the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.

Read about Sharples' election.

Apply for the OAIPP Pre-Qualified Artist Pool

Beginning October 15, eligible Oklahoma artists can apply for the Oklahoma Art in Public Places (OAIPP) Pre-Qualified Artist Pool. The Oklahoma Arts Council manages the pool in accordance with the Oklahoma Art in Public Places Act. Artists who qualify for the pool may be considered for state public art projects with artwork budgets of up to $6,000. Generally involving the purchase of existing artwork, the process allows for the streamlining of public art selection for projects with relatively small budgets. Artists may also benefit as the pool will be a resource for community, organizations, and businesses seeking to identify qualified public art professionals in Oklahoma to carry out public art projects.

Learn about eligibility criteria and the artist selection process.

Apply for the pool beginning October 15.

Artistic Innovations Grant Applications Due Soon

Letters of intent for Mid-America Arts Alliance's (M-AAA) next round of Artistic Innovations grants are due on October 28, 2016. Supporting the creation of innovative works by artists in M-AAA's six-state region, the grant category provides up to $15,000 to underwrite direct expenses related to the art-making process and public premier of work. The program is designed to encourage experimentation and collaboration. Individuals and organizations are eligible to apply.

View Oklahoma projects funded through last year's Artistic Innovation grants.

Click here for information about applying.

Schools Can Participate in 2016-17 Poetry Out Loud Contest

High schools throughout Oklahoma can give their students the chance to memorize and recite great poetry while competing for cash awards and school stipends by participating in the 2016-17 Poetry Out Loud competition.

Through the efforts of Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, and the Oklahoma Arts Council, teachers can register their classes or schools to participate in upcoming regional Oklahoma competitions. Regional winners advance to the state finals, and the state winner earns a trip to the national finals in Washington, D.C.

Since 2005, more than 3 million students have been reached through the Poetry Out Loud program. The program, which schools can easily complete in 2-3 weeks, helps students master public speaking, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history. Poetry Out Loud curriculum materials include the online poetry anthology, a teacher's guide, lesson plans, and more.

Register your students at

'Shakespeare and Autism' Workshop for Educators

Free to Oklahoma public educators, a weekend series of workshops offered by the Oklahoma Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain will teach the use of Shakespeare text and storytelling to address communicative challenges of individuals with autism. Taking place October 6-9 at Quartz Mountain Arts and Conference Center in Lone Wolf, Oklahoma, the "Shakespeare and Autism" workshop is based on an innovative method that transforms the complexities of Shakespeare into a sequence of performance-based games. The series is geared toward teachers, theater practitioners, psychologists, and others. Tuition is free for K-12 public educators. Rates vary for private school educators, Oklahoma residents, university students, and others. Rates include meals and three nights of lodging.

To enroll, visit

For additional details about the workshops, click here.

Grant Opportunity for Museums, Related Organizations

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has opened applications for the 2017 National Leadership Grants for Museums. Grants ranging from $5,000 to $1,000,000 will be awarded. Eligible organizations are private nonprofits or government entities that qualify as either a museum or an organization that actively advances the museum profession. Projects must fall under one of three categories: learning experiences, community development, or collections stewardship.

The National Leadership Grants for Museums program will assist with funding on three levels:

  • Non-research grant—assists projects of one to three years that address critical needs within the museum field and have the potential to improve the profession. 1:1 cost share is required.
  • Research grant—assists projects of one to three years that study integral questions regarding museum practice.
  • Rapid prototyping grant—assists one-year projects that design and evaluate innovations targeting museum operation and services.

The deadline for applications is December 1.

Details about eligibility and the application process can be found here.

Creative Economy innOVATION Grants

Through Creative Economy Innovation Grant Awards, the Ovation Foundation will award grants of $20,000 to successful applicants whose programs catalyze the creative economy through investments in artists and creative industries. Applicants should have exemplary programs that foster the growth and sustainability of America's creative industries through workforce development and skills training. With a deadline of October 28, 2016, applications will be judged on program content and evaluation, partnership opportunities, and the creative use of technology.

To submit an application, visit The Ovation Foundation's website.

NEA Releases Creativity Connects Research

The needs of artists in today's rapidly changing world are the focus of a new report released by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Part of the NEA's Creativity Connects initiative, Creativity Connects: Trends and Conditions Affecting U.S. Artists examines funding, training, and forces that are shaping the work environment for artists including technology, student debt, and the growth of cross-disciplinary work.

The report lists five goals that could improve conditions for artists:

  • Articulate and measure the benefits of artists and creative work to societal health and well-being.

  • Address artists' income insecurity as a part of the larger workforce efforts.

  • Address artists' student debt and help build their assets.

  • Create 21st-century training systems.

  • Upgrade systems and structures that support artists.

Angie Kim, president and CEO of the Center for Cultural Innovation, a project partner, said shifts being experienced in all industries are opening new opportunities for artists to be at the center of social change. A goal of the NEA's Creativity Connects initiative is to explore how the arts can connect with other sectors.

View the report.

Learn about NEA grants for Creativity Connects projects.

Deadline Approaching for OVAC Grant Opportunities

The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition (OVAC) offers a variety of grants throughout the year for individual artists in the state who seek funding for public presentation, professional development, and community projects.

Applications for the Professional Basics Grant, Education Grant, Creative Projects Grant, and Community/Artist Partnership (CAP) Grant are open to all non-student artists in Oklahoma 21 years or older.

The final grant cycle for 2016 ends October 15.

Click here for information and online applications.

New OAC Performing Roster Artists

Governor-appointed members of the Oklahoma Arts Council board have approved four new artists to join the Oklahoma Performing Artist Roster. Consider using these and other artists listed on the roster for your next event.

New artists include:

  • DocFell & Co. – Americana roots singer/singwriting duo from Tahlequah

  • Ken Hada – An award-winning poet from Ada available for readings and collaborative art events

  • Music Central – A 21-member a capella men's group from Yukon

  • Tulsa Playboys – Band of seasoned Western Swing musicians who have performed with Roy Clark and other notables