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2015 Legislative Session Impacts Oklahoma Arts Council

For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Joel Gavin
Director of Marketing and Communications
(405) 521-2037

OKLAHOMA CITY (June 3, 2015) ? 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.

“With state leaders facing another difficult budgeting year, cuts to the Oklahoma Arts Council budget were anticipated,” Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Amber Sharples said. “Unfortunately, those cuts will mean less investment across the state through grant funding to nonprofit organizations, communities, and schools, and less return on investment for Oklahomans.”

One dollar in public funding investment through the Oklahoma Arts Council seeds $13 in private matching funds for arts programming across the state and returns $8 in tax revenue to local and state governments.

Members of the state Legislature and Governor Mary Fallin faced a $611 million shortfall in revenue as they crafted the fiscal year 2016 budget. State law requires leaders to balance the budget each year.

During the 2015 state legislative session, Governor Fallin also signed legislation placing Oklahoma’s Art in Public Places program under the Oklahoma Arts Council. The program had previously been administered through the Oklahoma Historical Society.

“I appreciate state leaders for entrusting the future of the Art in Public Places program to our agency,” Sharples said. “We look forward to applying our staff’s expertise and proven ability to operate efficiently to the program. The program will integrate seamlessly into our existing efforts, complementing our work in education, community and economic development, and improving quality of life. Public art meets Oklahoma’s needs by strengthening our image, appealing to businesses and families, supporting cultural tourism, and enhancing property values. Given its robust impact, the arts and cultural industry is a sound investment as leaders seek to strengthen our state.”


About the Oklahoma Arts Council
The Oklahoma Arts Council is the official state agency for the support and development of the arts. The Council’s mission is to lead, cultivate and support a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education, and economic vitality for all Oklahomans. The Council provides more than 500 grants to over 250 organizations in communities statewide each year, organizes professional development opportunities for the state's arts and cultural industry, and manages hundreds of works of art in the public spaces of the state Capitol. Additional information is available at

About the Art in Public Places Program
Enacted through legislation in 2004, Oklahoma’s Art in Public Places program requires that eligible state capital improvement projects have 1.5 percent of their budgets invested in public art that represents the history and values of our state. The program complements Oklahoma’s economic development efforts and enhances public spaces for residents within their respective communities. Among locations impacted by works from the program are bridges, highways, parks, state buildings, and universities.

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