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 giving all Americans, in rural and urban areas, access to arts and culture, President Johnson signed legislation in 1965 making federal arts funding available to states that created state arts agencies and matched federal dollars.
Following the rest of the nation’s move to invest in culture, Oklahoma Governor Henry Bellmon signed legislation creating what would become the Oklahoma Arts Council. Since the Council’s creation, funding for the arts has created a unique partnership between federal, state and private entities to ensure all Oklahomans have access to arts and culture.
To lead in the advancement of Oklahoma’s thriving arts industry.
The arts will be a transformative force for Oklahoma by improving education, enhancing quality of life, and boosting economic development.