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Cultural District Development Program

A component of the Oklahoma Cultural District Initiative, the Cultural District Development Program provides grant funding, guidance, and professional consultation to assist in creating cultural districts in Oklahoma communities.

Learn more about the program's pilot community, Alva, Oklahoma

What is a cultural district?

A cultural district is a mixed-use area of a community in which a high concentration of arts and cultural facilities or activities serves as the anchor of attraction. Cultural districts can be found in communities of all sizes - rural and urban. Ideally, a district reflects its community's unique built environment and history, showcases the region's artists and cultural traditions, and increases social engagement.

Cultural districts act as an agent for positive growth in a community by:


Grants of up to $7,500 per year are available to successful applicants. Grants require a 1:1 cash match (50 percent of the match may be in-kind support). Applicants may participate in the program for up to five years and receive a maximum of $25,000 in funding.

Applications must demonstrate support from community stakeholders including cultural organizations, city/county officials, businesses, artists and educators.

Grant funding may be used for the following expenses:

Grant funds cannot be used for capital improvements, non-arts related expenses, activities with a religious purpose, fundraisers, food or prizes. Funds must be distributed to the applicant organization only. Consultants will be contracted through the applicant organization.

Grants are awarded based on community readiness and capacity. Grant amounts are based on consultant fees and program costs and are subject to availability of Oklahoma Arts Council funding.

Application Process

Interested applicants must submit a letter of intent by November 15. Successful applicants will begin the program in July of the following year.

Download a sample letter of intent.

Applications must demonstrate support from cultural organizations, community stakeholders including city/county officials, businesses, artists and educators.

Application timeline:

Community Committee

Partnerships with community stakeholders are required for participation in the Cultural District Development Program. Participating communities will be required to create a diverse committee of community leaders and members. The committee should include, but not be limited to, individuals from the following areas:

Community Coordinator

Each community will designate a Community Coordinator whose duties will include, but not be limited to the following:


The community committee is responsible for contracting with professional consultants who have a demonstrated expertise in cultural planning and community design. Selection of consultants is subject to approval by the Oklahoma Arts Council. The Oklahoma Arts Council can provide consultant referrals upon request. Consultation fees may need to cover travel, lodging and per diem.

Oklahoma Arts Council staff provides overall guidance on each project and is available for consultations as needed.

Measuring Success

Benchmarks are established during the planning process involving the community committee, professional consultants and Oklahoma Arts Council. In assessing benchmarks, communities will submit annual reports and Oklahoma Arts Council staff will conduct site visits.

Goals may include:

Advisory Committee

Review of applications, annual reports and other program requirements will be provided by the Oklahoma Cultural District Initiative Advisory Committee.

The committee may consist of members of the following:

Termination of Program or Changes

The Cultural District Development Program is dependent on the availability of funds. The Oklahoma Arts Council reserves the right to decline funding if benchmarks are not met. Any changes to a proposed Cultural District Development Program should be sent to the Oklahoma Arts Council for approval prior to annual evaluations.

For more information contact our Community Arts Director.