STATE GOVERNMENT AND THE ARTS
OKLAHOMA ARTS COUNCIL
In 1965, President Johnson signed legislation making federal arts funding available to states that created state arts agencies and matched federal dollars. That same year, Oklahoma Governor Henry Bellmon signed legislation creating what would become the Oklahoma Arts Council.
For more than 40 years, the Oklahoma Arts Council has managed the state's investment in arts and culture via public funding for the arts. Throughout the decades, they've fully vetted thousands of grant applications from public schools, local and tribal governments and nonprofit organizations, etc., awarding funding to the best projects and finest stewards of public funding in the state.
On countless occasions, the agency has provided seed dollars for projects and programs before they reached critical mass. We know both historically and anecdotally that the agency was the among first to provide funding to Oklahoma's operas, ballets and symphonies. They were present during the start-up phases of cultural events that went on to gain major brand recognition nationwide including the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival, Red Earth, deadCenter Film Festival and much more.
OAC's contributions to the state have at times been sorely undervalued economically. Diminishing their role by failing to allocate sufficient annual fiscal resources to the agency negatively impacts Oklahoma's economy and contributes to the state's challenges in producing a creative and innovative workforce.
OAC's formal 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 agency:
Provides matching grants to arts and cultural organizations, schools and local governments
Supports opportunities for all Oklahomans to create, perform or attend arts activities.
Raises public awareness about the value of the arts to the economic, educational, and cultural life of Oklahoma.
Fosters education through the arts and support efforts to implement the arts as part of the core curriculum for all students in every Oklahoma school.
PUBLIC ART | OKLAHOMA ART in PUBLIC PLACES
The term public art refers to a variety of works of art (not limited to sculpture or even visual art) that are located in the public domain, usually outside and accessible to all. Most of the time, the art is specifically planned and executed with easy access to the public in mind.
In May, 2004, Senate Bill 1347 was signed into law creating the State of Oklahoma: Art in Public Places Act. This innovative legislation supports public art in Oklahoma. The new law incorporates artwork in, on, or near new state buildings or those with major renovation projects.
Public art reflects the local environment, cultural values and artistic vitality of Oklahoma communities. This law offers opportunities for local artists and also provides a vehicle for Oklahoma communities to express their identity, spirit and pride. More than 350 public art programs across the U.S. support projects in airports, libraries, parks, government buildings and neighborhoods and some 28 states have public art laws.
The State of Oklahoma: Art in Public Places Act requires that 1.5 percent of the cost of construction or major renovation of state-owned public buildings approved after September 1, 2004, be allocated for works of art in or near the project. The act applies to construction or renovation projects costing $250,000 or more. The maximum assessment for any one project is $500,000.
During the 2011 legislative session, a group of state legislators successfully passed a bill that suspends the Oklahoma Art in Public Places requirement for state agencies to incorporate art into their capital improvement projects. Unfortunately, in a misguided and uninformed attempt to improve the state's general budget deficit, a moratorium was enacted for the fiscal years 2012-2014.
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND THE ARTS
Prior to 1965 public funding for the arts in Oklahoma was virtually non-existent. The arts were mostly accessible in coastal and affluent areas of the United States.
Realizing the importance of providing access to arts and culture to all Americans, both rural and urban, in 1965, Congress established the National Endowment for the Arts. This legislation made federal arts funding available to states that created state arts agencies and matched federal dollars. This was the initial action that led to the establishment of the Oklahoma Arts Council.
To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector.
HELP OUR RESEARCH
Oklahomans for the Arts is in the process of collecting more data about public funding for the arts at the local level all across Oklahoma. You can help us out by sending your information here.
LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AND THE ARTS
TULSA ARTS COMMISSION
The City of Tulsa Arts Commission was created in 1969 by City of Tulsa officials and community leaders to ensure that Tulsa continued its long standing dedication to the arts community. The Commission is composed of eleven volunteer members appointed by the Mayor and approved by the Council and has no full time staff assistance.
The Commission is charged with assisting the City of Tulsa in matters concerning public artwork, giving guidance in purchases and maintenance of existing artwork, providing a source of respected opinions and advice concerning public matters having aesthetic implications, reviewing public signage issues (including neighborhood signs), stimulating superior aesthetic quality in all phases of physical development within the community and assisting in the procurement of additional works of public art.
The mission of the Lawton Arts and Humanities Council, a trust of the City of Lawton, is to encourage and to coordinate cultural endeavors and activities and to promote knowledge and appreciation of the fine arts in Lawton and the surrounding metropolitan region.
Visit the Lawton Arts & Humanities Council ►
The Since 1982 the City of Norman’s Hotel Motel Property Tax Fund has contributed more than $2 million dollars in grants to arts and cultural organizations in the Norman community. The fund is administered by the Norman Arts Council.
The Oklahoma City Arts Commission was created to advise City Council on artistic, cultural and aesthetic matters to insure that the City will be attractive and culturally rich.
The Commission also promotes and encourages programs to further the development of public awareness and interest in the City in connection with arts and cultural development. It also serves as a general source of advise and knowledge about art to be placed on municipal property and and other artistic and cultural activities.
The purpose of the City of Edmond's Visual Arts Commission is to administer the provisions of Chapter 2.94 of the Edmond Municipal code ("Art in Public Places"). chapter 2.94: To provide a means for the selection, display, and maintenance of art for the City of Edmond's collection and to acquire, by purchase or donation, works of art for the City's collection.
Edmond also has a successful public art fund. Citizens are invited to make regular donations on their City of Edmond utility bill.
Edmond also has a Mayor-appointed Arts and Humanities Council.