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Oklahoma Arts Council News

September 2017

Earlybird Registration for 2017 Conference Ends Soon

Earlybird registration for the 2017 Oklahoma Arts Conference ends FridaySeptember 15. The earlybird rate is $95 per person. The rate increases to $145 after September 15.

Featured presenters for this year's conference include seasoned arts administrator Jerry Yoshitomi, Felicity Hogan of New York Foundation for the Arts, and Keir Johnston of Amber Art and Design in Philadelphia. Additional confirmed presenters and panelists are listed on our website.

New Sessions Added

"The Kennedy Center Partners in Education Program," "The Artist as Entrepreneur," The Barn Quilt Trails of Oklahoma," and other sessions are new to the schedule, and there are more sessions being added.

View the updated conference schedule here.

The annual convening of Oklahoma's arts and cultural industry brings together more than 400 individuals from across the state for professional devolopment and networking. Enid's Central National Bank Center is the host site for the 2017 conference, scheduled October 25-26. Preconference activities will take place on October 24.

Register now and join your Oklahoma arts industry peers in Enid, October 24-26!

Deadline Nears for Governor's Arts Award Nominations

The deadline to submit an nomination for the 42nd Annual Governor's Arts Awards is Tuesday,September 12, 2017.

To nominate an individual or organization, write a two- to three-page narrative detailing the nominee's efforts and submit it to the Oklahoma Arts Council as instructed below. Optional support material such as letter of support and newspaper articles can be included.

Nominations may submitted one of two ways:

1. Submit an online nomination form.

2. Download a hardcopy nomination form. 

Individuals and organizations across the state will be honored in six categories:

  • The Governor's Award

  • Arts in Education Award

  • Business in the Arts Award

  • Community Service Award

  • Media in the Arts Award

  • Public Service in the Arts Award

Selection criteria includes the nominee's overall involvement in the arts, leadership in initiatives, aid in increasing funding, efforts to increase public awareness, impact on arts education, volunteer work, and more. 

Tell us about a person or organization in your community whose efforts deserve recognition. Submit a nomination by September 12.

Visit the Governor's Arts Awards page to learn more.

Oklahoma to Host National Arts Educators Institute

Arts education program directors from state arts and education agencies nationawide will gather in Oklahoma City, September 13-15 for a professional development institute of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA).

An anticipated 75 participants will meet in Oklahoma City to participate in session focused on strengthening management skills, sharing resources, and leveraging data to address equity gaps in state level arts education policy and practice.

Oklahoma was chosen following a proposal submitted by the Oklahoma Arts Council with support from State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister. Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Amber Sharples said Oklahoma's selection was due to recent efforts to make the state a national leader in prioritizing arts education. Efforts have included the State Policy Pilot Program (SP3), the statewide Forum on Arts Education held during the 2014 Oklahoma Arts Conference, development of educational standards fo dance and drama, and the report "Lessons from the Field: 2016 Oklahoma Arts Education Survey Findings."

Read more about the upcoming institute in Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma Students Can Design License Plate to Support Education

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister is encouraging Oklahoma students to submit designs for the new Oklahoma Education License Plate, which will support teacher recruitment efforts across the state.

Students from Pre-K through 12th grade are eligible to submit their original artwork for the "License the Educate" initiative. Judging will be based on originality and creativity, depiction of the theme "promoting education," and the quality of the artwork.

Submissions are due no later than September 22, 2017. Guidelines, templates, and an entry form are available on the Oklahoma State Department of Education's License to Education webpage. The winning design will be announced in November.

Opportunity for Training, Funding for Creative Aging Programs

Research shows that professonally-led, arts education for older adults has many benefits that impact their quality of life and wellbeing. To support the establishment of new creative aging programs, The National Guild for Community Arts Education is offering funding, training, and technical assistance through its Catalyzing Creative Aging program.

Through the capacity building and seed grant opportunity, the National Guild for Community Arts Education aims to increase capacity for serving older adults through skill-based, participatory programs; provide models of high quality creative aging programs to the field; and, raise public awareness about the benefits of creative aging programs.

Deadline to apply is September 19. A free recorded webinar is available for applicants. Applicants must join the guild to qualify for the program.

Learn more about Catalyzing Creative Aging.

State Farm® Community Development Grants Available

Through its Good Neighbor Citizenship Company Grants program, State Farm® aims to build safer, stronger and smarter communities by focusing on safety, education, and community development.

Through October 31, eligible organizations can request grant funding to support community development efforts. Individuals and organizations using the arts as a tool for neighborhood revitalization are encouraged to explore the funding opportunity.

Eligible organizations include 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, local government entities, educational institutions and others. Grant amount requested must be $5,000 or more.

Learn more and apply here.

innOVATION Grants for Organizations Building Creative Economy

Grants from the Ovation Foundation ranging from $25,000 to $125,000 will be awarded to nonprofit arts organizations that are models for cultivating and supporting artists and enterprises in the creative industries.

Through 2017 Creative Economy innOVATION Grant Awards, five organizations will be recognized for their efforts in capacity-building, partnerships, and fiscal support. Industries benefiting from the applicant's work should include visual or performing arts, architecture, digital media, entertainment, industrial or product design, or fashion.

To apply visit Applications are being accepted until September 29.

Download a copy of the guidelines.

Grants for Latinx Artists and Arts Organizations

With the goal of strengthening communities and empowering Latino artists to promote social change, the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures'NALAC Fund for the Arts provides a variety of grant opportunities for Latino artists and arts organizations.

Grants from the NALAC support the development, creation, presentation and sustainability of artistic excellence. Funding also supports opportunities to participate in activities that contribute to professional and organizational growth.

All U.S.-based Latino artists, ensembles and arts organizations in any discipline are eligible to apply. Grant awards range from $5,000 to $15,000. View the various types of grants available.

Deadline to apply is October 5. A September 22 webinar is available for potential applicants.

Click here to learn more and to download guidelines.

Shubert Foundation Offers Grants for Theatre, Dance Organizations

Applications from the Shubert Foundation are now available for unrestricted grants that can be used for general operating support. The foundation supports 501(c)(3) nonprofit professional theatre and dance companies across the U.S.

Organizations must have an established artistic and administrative track record as well as history of fiscal responsibility. 

October 18 is the deadline for dance applications. December 1 is the deadline for theatre applications. Grants will be announced and disbursed in May 2018.

To learn how to apply, click here.

National Artist Fellowships Available from NACF

Awards of up to $20,000 will be made to individual, practicing Native artists selected for the National Artist Fellowship program of the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation (NACF). Artist applicants must demonstrate exemplary skill and exceptional quality of work in one of five categories, including:

  • Traditional Arts
  • Music
  • Visual Arts
  • Artistic Innovation
  • Literature

Eligible Oklahoma artists include those who are enrolled citizens of a U.S. federally or state recognized American Indian tribe or have documentation of Native Hawaiian ancestry. Fellows will be recommended to the NACF board by a panel of art peers and professionals who review applications.

The open call closes Monday, September 25, 2017.

Visit the NACF website for details.

Oklahoma Arts Council Partners on Governor's Septemberfest Event

Oklahoma music, history, and culture are featured each year at Septemberfest, an event hosted Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, the First Family,Friends of the Mansion and the Oklahoma History Center.

The Oklahoma Arts Council is pleased to partner on the annual event by presenting Oklahoma performing artists throughout the day. This year, attendees will experience music byCasey and Minna (10:00 a.m.) and Mariachi Orgullo (12:00 p.m.), modern dance byPerpetual Motion (1:00 p.m.), and storytelling by DWe Williams (2:00 p.m.).

The 21st annual Septemberfest will take place September 9, from 10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Free and open to the public, the event will be held at the Oklahoma History Center, across from the Oklahoma State Capitol in Oklahoma City. Thousands of Oklahomans are expected to attend.

Find out about Septemberfest 2017.

Via Asia: Alan Atkinson's Journey to Managing Capitol Art

Through most of his career, Alan Atkinson's focus has been on the art of Asia. Relocating from Norman to Oklahoma City brought Atkinson halfway around the world in a sense, when in 2015 he was hired by the Oklahoma Arts Council (OAC) to manage, curate, and preserve hundreds of works of art at the state Capitol.

Prior to joining the OAC, Atkinson spent 10 years teaching Asian art at the University of Oklahoma and serving as an adjunct curator of non-Western art for the university's Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art (FJJMA). Now, as Director of Visual Arts and Capitol Collections for the OAC, Atkinson's responsibilities involve the care and management of the artwork at the state Capitol.

Atkinson's journey to the OAC by way of FJMMA was preceded by graduate school coursework that led him to museum studies in China and Japan. There, he spent more than two years immersed in the cultures of Asia.

Despite an educational and professional journey emphasizing Asian art, Atkinson feels at home in his current position.

"Everything I learned about art history and museums applies to my work," Atkinson said. "The things I did in my previous jobs are the same things I do everyday at the Capitol."

In addition to overseeing the Capitol Art Collection, the State Art Collection, and the Oklahoma Art in Public Places program, Atkinson's role with the OAC has expanded as his expertise has been required for protecting the Capitol's priceless artwork during the multi-year Capitol restoration project.

As the project unfolds, Atkinson sees potential beyond just protecting the art, though.

"There is an opportunity to think about how the artwork can be an even more integral part of people's experience at the Capitol," he said.

When people visit the newly restored Capitol, Atkinson wants them to gain a better understanding of the story of Oklahoma, taking away a sense of pride related to the people, places, and events celebrated in the artwork.

"There is a relationship between art and the idea of something better – of hope," Atkinson said. This is this philosophy that has fueled Atkinson's work throughout his career, first with Asian art, and now with the artwork that tells the story of our state.

Fun Facts about Alan Atkinson...

  • Has met the Dalai Lama twice
  • Lived in Hiroshima, Japan, two blocks from ground zero of where the Atomic Bomb was dropped
  • Knows the intricate art of the Japanese tea ceremony

For questions related to the Capitol art, Alan Atkinson can be reached at (405) 521-2039 or