Proposal for Disproportionate Cuts to Oklahoma Arts Council

Draft budget proposals would cut Oklahoma Arts Council budget disproportionately, by up to 50% to the detriment of the economy and education.

Call or email your legislators to let them know cutting the Oklahoma Arts Council hurts our state and your community. 

“Drastic cuts to the Oklahoma Arts Council will not help balance the budget nor help the state to be competitive. 

We believe that only a partnership of state and local government and private donors can assure the vibrant health of arts agencies and activities in communities of all sizes throughout the state.
For these reasons and many more, it is the considered belief of the Board of Oklahomans for the Arts that Oklahoma should keep the Oklahoma Arts Council’s appropriations comparable.” 

—    Jim Tolbert, Board Chair for Oklahomans for the Arts 

Call your legislator or email them today.

Call your legislator or email them today.

Arts and culture help the state reach educational, social and economic goals and contribute to the quality of life for all Oklahomans. Representing our more than 5,000 advocates including businesses, individual arts patrons and educational and cultural organizations, Oklahomans for the Arts affirms the Oklahoma Arts Council’s distinct contribution to the state.

The Oklahoma Arts Council should be kept strong in the state’s budget because of what the state would lose.  

The Oklahoma Arts Council comprises less than .000433 of the state’s budget.

Little Cost Savings: 
•    The agency comprises less than .000433 of the state’s budget. The appropriation to the Oklahoma Arts Council does not have a statistically significant effect on the State budget.
•    The Oklahoma Arts Council is efficiently administered with a very low ratio of overhead expense at only 9%. The agency occupies part of a state-owned building. The agency upholds significant inter-agency and community partnerships that elevate the efficiency even more.

Loss of Money to the State: 
•    Funds invested by the Oklahoma Arts Council stimulate the economy. The investments in educational and community programs around the state generate a $14 private match for each public dollar and returns $8 in state and local taxes. 

Important Mission for Oklahoma’s Economic Development & Education: 
•    Supports the arts & culture industry statewide.
•    Sector supports more than 10,000 full time jobs. 
•    Has a direct economic impact of $314.8M on Oklahoma’s economy.
•    Strengthens education, community development & the economy.
•    Last year Oklahoma’s youth enjoyed 142,593 arts experiences in Oklahoma Arts Council-funded programs across the state.
•    More than 17,000 students participated in arts in 89 different communities.
•    Leads the Cultural District Initiative, increasing the economic viability of communities across the state. 

•    Already has been cut too much.
•    Cut 43% since 2009, hurting rural and urban communities. 
•    Reduced staff by 25%.
•    Reduced number of communities served from 122 to 88. 

Oklahoma Arts Council: 
For fifty years, the Oklahoma Arts Council has been the public leader as a state agency with expertise, effectiveness, efficiency, and a statewide reach. Their backbone leadership drives the arts and culture sector’s business development. 

With an independent board appointed by the Governor, the Oklahoma Arts Council functions in a very focused manner. Thus, it has provided significant leadership in a successful state wide effort to build a vibrant arts community with consequent benefits to economic and community development, and above all to a greatly improved quality of life for all Oklahomans. See more about the impact of cuts to the Oklahoma Arts Council here.

Oklahomans for the Arts
Oklahomans for the Arts is a statewide organization advocating for a state where everyone experiences and benefits from arts and culture.

A nonprofit organization, Oklahomans for the Arts advocates for public funding for arts and arts education. Its Board of Directors (listed on the left side of this letter) is composed of leaders from business, philanthropy, and the non-profit sector. We speak for a network of more than 5,000 advocates across the state and in collaboration with many community partners. 

See printable version of these facts here.

Phone scripts and ways to contact your legislators here.

Tonnie Dosser