Today, arts advocates statewide are celebrating the defeat of HB3028. It would have consolidated the Oklahoma Arts Council with the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and resulted in an immediate loss of at least $1.5 million. Quite possibly it would have been more.

While this victory is very sweet, we cannot become complacent. Consolidation with other state agencies will always be a threat. State resources continue to shrink and priorities continue to shift. It will always be mission critical to make legislators aware of how public funding for the arts makes a difference in your community and school.

It’s imperative that arts leaders and arts advocates regard this latest challenge as a beginning point. For many of you, it’s the start of new relationships with your state representative and state senator. Please call and thank them for listening to you. Better yet, drop them a note. Everyone likes to get a handwritten note!

Going Forward
here are several things you can do to celebrate today’s victory.

  • First and foremost, please join Oklahomans for the Arts! We need your financial contributions to sustain our advocacy work. We’re running a St. Patrick’s Day membership special now through Monday. Join for just $10!
  • Individuals: Please sign up for Arts Day May 7. More details will be made available later in the month. For now, check out the event on Facebook. (Please note: This is not the sign-up list for arts organizations to host tables. We will distribute that next week via email. This is the sign-up for all individual arts advocates.)
  • If you have not done so yet, please add your legislators to your arts mailing lists.
  • Plan now to include your legislators in your summer arts activities. Send them invitations and make an effort to recognize them when they are in attendance.
  • Congratulate yourself. Give yourself a high-five and pat-on-the-back. You were a great citizen advocate and you made democracy work.
  • You may also want to send thank you letters to the following legislators:

Speaker of the House Jeff Hickman
Phone: 405.557.7339

Rep. Pam Peterson, Majority Floor Leader
Phone: 405.557.7341

Rep Fred Jordan, Majority Leader
Phone: 405.557.7331

OFTA Board of Directors
James R. Tolbert III, Chair (Oklahoma City); Governor Bill Anoatubby (Chickasaw Nation); Billie Barnett (Tulsa); Joy Reed Belt (Oklahoma City) Bill Cameron (Oklahoma City); Ryan Cunningham (Oklahoma City); Charlie Daniels (Bartlesville); Nance Diamond (Shawnee); C. Kendric Fergeson (Altus); Linda Edmondson (Oklahoma City); Linda Frazier (Tulsa); Ann Graves (Tulsa); Will Jones (Deer Creek); Michael E. Joseph (Oklahoma City);  P. Vincent LoVoi (Tulsa); Melvin Moran (Seminole); Desmond Mason (Oklahoma City); Roxana Lorton (Tulsa); Larry Nichols (Oklahoma City); Bob Ross (Oklahoma City); Suzanne Tate (Oklahoma City); William Von Glahn (Tulsa); Dr. Peggy Wisdom (Alva). Executive Director: Jennifer James, APR.