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Oklahoma Humanities Council doles out grants to Central Oklahoma artists and organizations



Venetian art, a renowned poet and a museum expansion are headed straight for Central Oklahoma thanks to newly awarded Oklahoma Humanities Council grants.

At a recent meeting of its board of trustees, OHC doled out $77,000 in grant awards and offers to state cultural organizations. Of that total, $44,600 will fund projects in and around the Oklahoma City-metro area.

Projects had to have an emphasis on the humanities discipline and a plan for implementing it in public programming. Scholarship and reaching out to underserved audiences " a region of the state that lacks cultural programming, for example " were also taken into consideration when deciding which projects to fund, said Ann Thompson, executive director of OHC.

"The idea is that the knowledge base of the humanities discipline can serve us today to better understand issues," Thompson said.

Among these projects for Oklahomans' edification is funding for "La Serenissima," an Oklahoma City Museum of Art exhibit that will feature 65 pieces of 18th-century Venetian art. With $10,000 in grant money, the exhibit will draw works by well-known artists like Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and Canaletto from museums in Washington, D.C., San Francisco and many smaller museums from around the country, said curator Hardy George.

"I think the community will be well-served by it because not everyone can go to Venice or the big museums that have these works," George said.

In Edmond, the University of Central Oklahoma plans to use its $5,000 grant to create the "Territorial Normal School of Oklahoma," an exhibit about the early days of UCO.

"One of my goals when I came was to update our exhibits and promote UCO's history," said Heidi Vaughn, museum director.

The list of grant recipients is diverse. Oklahoma Christian University received $7,700 to host Dana Gioia, a poet and former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, as the McBride Lecture for Faith and Literature keynote speaker. Meanwhile, Norman's Oklahoma Arts Institute will use its $8,500 to produce a walking tour booklet for the Quartz Mountain Arts and Conference Center.

The Oklahoma Center for Arts Education received $4,900 for the annual American Indian Learners workshop series, which seeks to increase awareness of Native American cultures among non-Native educators and students. The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition's $8,500 grant will support a contemporary art exhibit, the "Art 365" project.

Other state projects
Five Civilized Tribes Museum, Muskogee " $15,000 to support the two-day Five Tribes Story Conference, which includes cultural performances and readings, academic-focused panels and discussions.Cameron University, Lawton " $3,120.50 to support a public forum in which a panel of experts will explore how the cultural and historical characteristics of Southwest Oklahoma affect energy policy.Kansas Public Telecommunications Service, Wichita, Kan. " $5,000 to conduct interviews and film the documentary, "Lost Nation: The Ioway."Oral Roberts University, Tulsa " $5,000 to present a teacher institute regarding Oklahoma's cultural diversity and teaching methods that address cultural, race and gender awareness in curriculum.
Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art, Tulsa " $5,000 to produce an exhibit that compares the traditions of Jewish weddings with those of other faiths and people of Oklahoma. "Nicole Hill

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