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Oklahoma Arts Council News

February 2023

Oklahoma Arts Council, Oklahoma Historical Society Announce Bob Wills Day at the Capitol Celebration

OKLAHOMA CITY (February 27, 2023) – One of the state’s most significant figures in music history will be celebrated at the Oklahoma State Capitol on Monday, March 6. The Oklahoma Arts Council and Oklahoma Historical Society have announced the return of Bob Wills Day, a celebration returning to the Capitol after a hiatus of nearly a decade. Read the announcement...

Oklahoma Arts Council announces members of Leadership Arts XII

OKLAHOMA CITY (February 15, 2023) – Thirty-one Oklahomans representing communities across the state will begin convening in February as part of Leadership Arts XII, the Oklahoma Arts Council has announced. Read the announcement...

New! Field Trip Grants Available to Bring Students to State Capitol

Schools statewide can bring students to the newly restored Oklahoma State Capitol for a one-of-a-kind educational experience in art, history, and government through a new grant program of the Oklahoma Arts Council.

Oklahoma State Capitol Field Trip Grants are available to reimburse schools for travel to the Capitol where trained volunteer docents will provide students with a guided tour through six floors of the historic building. During their tour, students will view and learn about hundreds of works of art that tell the story of our state.

With a maximum reimbursement of $1,100—depending on a school's distance from the Capitol—allowable expenses include transportation, drivers, mileage, substitute teachers and additional support staff.

Deadline to Apply

Schools must apply by March 1, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. Central Time. (Schools new to our grants must request grant system access by February 15). Field trips can take place anytime after March 20.

Learn more about the field trip grant program.

Performing Arts Experience Grants for Alternative Education

Alternative education schools across Oklahoma can apply for up to $2,000 in funding through the Oklahoma Arts Council's new Performing Arts Experience Grants for Alternative Education. Using the funding, eligible schools can host performing artists for an in-school concert and/or take students on a field trip to experience the performing arts.

Applications are due 60 days before the start of a program. Artist fees, student travel expenses, ticket or admission costs, and consummable supplies can be paid through the program. Disciplines that qualify include dance, drama, literary arts, media arts, and music.

Live performing arts experiences that motivate and inspire students can be part of an effective instructional strategy for alternative education schools. For more information about taking advantage of this grant opportunity, contact or (405) 521-2036.

Letters of Intent for Cultural District Development Program Due

Through the Cultural District Development Program, the Oklahoma Arts Council provides funding to help communities establish cultural districts. A cultural district is a mixed-use area in which a high concentration of arts and cultural facilities or activities serves as the anchor of attraction. Rural and urban areas of Oklahoma can develop cultural districts using their unique built environments, histories, and arts and cultural assets. Cultural districts are agents for positive growth, stimulating commerce, boosting tourism, enhancing quality of life, and more.

Oklahoma communities interested in applying for Cultural District Development Program funding can submit letters of intent to the Oklahoma Arts Council through February 15. Notifications to apply will issued in March. Expenses that can be paid for through the program include fees for professional consultants, compensation for a district coordinator, and marketing and promotion of district activities among other expenses.

Grants of up to $7,500 will be awarded. A maximum of $25,000 in funding per district over five years is available. Partnerships with community stakeholders are required. Learn more about the program here

NEA Announces Grant Awards for Oklahoma Organizations

Several Oklahoma organizations and one individual were among the list of National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) awardees for the federal agency's first round of 2023 grant funding.

The January announcement included awards through its Grants for Arts Projects and Challenge Americagrant programs, as well as through its research grants and literature fellowship programs.

Oklahoma organizations awarded NEA funds include:

  • Oklahoma Arts Institute ($15,000) – Grants for Arts Projects

  • Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre ($10,000) – Grants for Arts Projects

  • Oklahoma Philharmonic Society ($25,000) – Grants for Arts Projects 

  • Arts Alliance Tulsa ($35,000) – Grants for Arts Projects

  • Tulsa Area Youth Symphony ($10,000) – Challenge America

In addition, Tobias Wray of Edmond earned a $25,000 literature fellowship for creative writing.

See the NEA grant announcement.

Plan Now for Oklahoma Arts & Culture Day 2023 at the Capitol

Oklahomans in the arts and cultural sector across the state can mark their calendars now for Oklahomans for the Arts' (OFTA) Oklahoma Arts & Culture Day 2023, scheduled for Tuesday, April 18.

The event at the State Capitol gives participants the chance to connect with legislators, learn about important legislative issues impacting the sector, receive training, and celebrate the importance of arts and culture in Oklahoma.

Further details about the day, a registration form, and more will be available soon. Stay connected with OFTA at to learn more about Oklahoma Arts & Culture Day 2023.

OUIQC to Host 2023 Placemaking Conference in March

The Institute for Quality Communities at the University of Oklahoma (OUIQC) will host its biennial placemaking conference in Norman in March. During the one-day event on March 20, attendees can expect to hear from leading experts on topics and techniques in community development.

Past conference sessions have included topics such as arts and culture in placemaking, public spaces and park design, emerging trends, leveraging local characteristics in communities of all sizes, and more.

Session details for the 2023 conference will be announced soon. Stay informed by joining the OUIQC mailing list.

Registration for the conference is available here.

T-Mobile Hometown Grants for Rural Revitalization

Small towns and rural communities across the United States can benefit from $50,000 Hometown Grantsavailable from T-Mobile. The grant program provides funding for community development and revitalization projects.

Since the program began, more than $5.5 million dollars has been invested across 27 states for projects such as town square pavilions, outdoor parks, libraries, and more. Projects centered on arts and culture are among those that have received funding. In 2022, Guthrie, Oklahoma, received a Hometown Grant to benefit its historic downtown cultural and commercial district.

Oklahoma communities with populations of less than 50,000 people are encouraged to submit proposals for Hometown Grant funding. Applications open quarterly, and the next deadline is March 30.

Learn more about applying for T-Mobile Hometown Grant.

LIFT Applications for Early Career Native Artists

Applications are being accepted through March 14 for LIFT: Early Career Support for Native Artists. Individual Native artists working in a wide variety of disciplines may apply. A program of the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation, LIFT funding empowers early career artists to develop and realize new projects.

Disciplines that can be supported include dance/choreography, fiction/poetry writing, film/video, multi-disciplinary arts, music, performance art, theater and screenplay writing, traditional arts, and visual arts.

Awards of $10,000 are provided through the program. Applicants must be enrolled members or citizens of a federally-recognized American Indian tribal nation, Alaska Native corporation, or of Native Hawaiian ancestry.

View criteria and apply here.

First Peoples Fund Fellowships Awarded to Several Oklahomans

Several Oklahomans were among those earning fellowships from First Peoples Fund in January. The nonprofit organization based in South Dakota offers programs that provide direct support to Native artists and culture bearers nationwide.

Through the Artists in Business Leadership Fellowship program, $7,500 in funding is awarded to support an artist's specific arts business development goals. Oklahoma winners were:

Through the Cultural Capital Fellowship program, $5,000 is provided to artists who perpetuate generosity, wisdom, and integrity within their communities to support their cultural work.

  • Barbara McAlister (Cherokee Nation) – voice instruction in opera, musical theater and traditional music

Read the announcement here.

OKC Mayor David Holt Earns National Arts Award

Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt has earned national recognition for his support of the arts. In January, Holt was one of three elected officials presented with a 2023 Public Leadership in the Arts Award during the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) winter meeting in Washington, D.C. The award is presented by Americans for the Arts (AFTA).

Awards were given for state arts leadership and local arts leadership, with Holt receiving the honor for local leadership in a city with a population of 100,000 or more.

Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of The U.S. Conference of Mayors recognized the work of Holt and the other honorees. "Mayors understand the inherent value of the arts to bring people together, promote cultural understanding, and make cities safer places to live, work, and play," Cochran said.

See the announcement of Holt's award at

Oklahoma Arts Council Seeks Director of Collections Management

The Oklahoma Arts Council is seeking applications for a Director of Collections Management. The person in this position is responsible for hundreds of state-owned artworks displayed at the Oklahoma State Capitol for public engagement and educational purposes. Knowledge of registrarial responsibilities, collections care, and museum best practices is required. Duties will include documentation, database maintenance, insurance and risk management, condition reporting, preservation planning, and more. The position also assists in preparing exhibitions for display in the Capitol.

The Oklahoma Arts Council seeks enthusiastic and creative people with an entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to public service. Read the full job description on our website.

Apply to be the Director of Collections Management.