Last week, the Oklahoma State Legislature overwhelmingly approved a proposal investing $10 million in state American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding in rebuilding the state's arts and cultural sector. Led by the Oklahoma Arts Council in partnership with Allied Arts OKC and Arts Alliance Tulsa, the proposal sought a once-in-a-lifetime, historic investment for arts and cultural infrastructure statewide. On Friday, May 26, the legislative bill advancing the proposal became law.
Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Amber Sharples issued the following statement recognizing the significance of the historic investment:
"The Oklahoma Arts Council and its partners are deeply grateful to Governor Stitt and the Legislature for their bold and visionary actions, catapulting the arts and cultural sector forward as an asset strengthening our state's ability to compete for jobs and new industries. This transformational investment will pay long-term dividends in creative workforce development, talent retainment, education, and more. With 50 percent of the funding prioritized in our plan for rural communities, it will spark vital community and economic development across all 77 counties, reaping benefits for generations to come. Leadership of the Oklahoma Arts Council and its partner organizations are humbled and honored to be entrusted as stewards of this investment."
Sunny Cearley, President and CEO of Allied Arts OKC stated:
"Arts and culture support workforce development, talent retention and attraction, and placemaking, which are all key factors in economic development. This funding will help Oklahoma’s economy to continue to grow."
Todd Cunningham, Executive Director of Arts Alliance Tulsa stated:
"It is impossible to adequately thank our elected officials, advocates, donors, volunteers, and nonprofit organizations for their dedication, support, and tenacity in ensuring Oklahoma’s arts and cultural industry is recognized and valued as was illustrated today by the state’s allocation of ARPA funding to this cause. The coalition formed two years ago between Oklahoma Arts Council, Allied Arts OKC, and Arts Alliance Tulsa has not only created a collaborative force that never stopped pushing for today’s outcome but also will continue working together with a unified voice that will strengthen arts and arts education for our entire state in the years to come."
Integral to the success of the ARPA for Arts and Culture proposal were valued advocacy efforts by Oklahomans for the Arts. Additional support was provided by the Oklahoma Museums Association.
Information about the opportunity for organizations to apply for grants made possible by the $10 million ARPA investment will be made available soon.
Director of Marketing and Communications
Oklahoma Arts Council
Allied Arts OKC
Director of Marketing / Community Partnerships
Arts Alliance Tulsa
Oklahomans for the Arts