Only a partnership of state and local government and private donors can assure the strength of arts organizations benefitting communities of all sizes throughout the state.

We affirm the Oklahoma Arts Council’s distinct contribution to the state.
For fifty years the Oklahoma Arts Council, an independent state agency, has been the public leaders with expertise, effectiveness, efficiency, and a statewide reach. With an independent board appointed by the Governor, the Oklahoma Arts Council functions in a very focused manner.

We support state funding because the Oklahoma Arts Council:
Makes a Sound Economic Sense...

  • Oklahoma Arts Council investments in educational and community programs around the state generate a $14 private match for each public dollar and return $6 in state and local taxes.
  • The agency comprises less than .04% 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 very efficiently administered with a very low ratio of overhead expense.
  • Arts & culture sector supports more than 29,000 full time jobs and has a direct economic impact of $872.8M on Oklahoma’s economy.

Strengthens education and community development:
•           Last year Oklahoma’s youth learned from 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.
•           Oklahoma Arts Council’s Cultural District Initiative increases the economic viability of communities across the state.
For facts about the agency and their services, see the Oklahoma Arts Council’s website.

For ways to advocate for the state’s support of arts and culture, see our advocacy page.



The term public art refers to a variety of work 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 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 Oklahoma Arts Council manages the program.



Oklahoma’s economy benefit greatly from the National Endowments for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). These two federal agencies benefit rural, suburban and inner city areas all across America, including Oklahoma. Prior to 1965 public funding for the arts in Oklahoma was virtually non-existent. Arts funding was 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.

Each year, 40% of the National Endowment for the Arts’ budget goes directly to state arts agencies across the country. In fiscal year 2017 that means our state arts agency, the Oklahoma Arts Council, is investing $733,300 of NEA partnership funds with a strong state match.

Besides funding through the Oklahoma Arts Council, the NEA has given $16M in direct grant funding to organizations and communities across the state since 1998. These funds help educational exhibitions reach new audiences, help innovative productions build local economies and more.

Oklahomans have put NEA grants to work, leveraging state dollars and private matching funds with $9 in private donations for every $1 in federal investment

Certainly our state’s economy and education system benefit as NEA funds spur school arts programs, tourist attractions and community development in every county of our state. Learn more about advocating for the NEA here.


See case studies about some of the ways that cities in Oklahoma art supporting arts and culture. 



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.


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.


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 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.



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 sharing your information with us.