OVAC Annual Artist Survey 2016 – Report: State of Artists

July 1, 2016

OVAC Artist Survey

Each year, the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition surveys artists who have participated in our programs in some way over the previous three years. This annual survey gives us a snapshot of where Oklahoma artists are in their careers and practice, and tells us how OVAC has helped them reach their goals. The survey is in its fifth year and you can read results from previous surveys here, including in-depth responses to common questions.

OVAC board and staff developed clear outcomes we are seeking with our programs and services that drive these survey questions.  OVAC seeks for artists to have vital, fulfilling careers and artistic practices in Oklahoma, which drives us to offer resources, encourage connections to other artists, and emphasize recognition of artists. Also, OVAC seeks enriched and vibrant Oklahoma communities and culture because of and through the arts. For this outcome, OVAC offers more opportunities and increased access to Oklahoma art and artists.

This post summarizes the current state of artists in Oklahoma. We received 161 responses.

Artist Ebony Iman Dallas at the Project Box in OKC. Solo exhibition partially funded through OVAC Artist Grant.

Artist Ebony Iman Dallas at the Project Box in OKC. Solo exhibition partially funded through OVAC Artist Grant.

Environment for Artists in Oklahoma

*93% of respondents say they believe the general environment for art in Oklahoma has improved because of OVAC.

*Because of OVAC, 76% say they are better able to practice their art in Oklahoma.

“Ovac makes me feel supported by my state through the wide range of opportunities they coordinate and promote.”

“I am a full-time exhibiting artist with a fairly busy schedule.  What OVAC provides are challenging local juried shows and fellowships for professional artists.  Without these programs Oklahoma would be void of these opportunities and Oklahoma artists would be exhibiting, selling, and applying elsewhere and we would not see cutting edge work by Oklahomans, it would be exported.”

Momentum OKC 2016 Preview (photo by Jasmine Jones)

Momentum OKC 2016 Preview (photo by Jasmine Jones)

Network for Artists
*Because of their participation in OVAC programs, 63% say they know more people to call on about making art, and 67% say they know more people to talk with about the business of art.

“OVAC brings artists together in so many ways at shows, tours, workshops, online and through the magazines. I am connected to art and artists in Oklahoma now.”

“Everything I have participated in with OVAC has gained me exposure to at least one person. I have made several friends and professional contacts. Most specifically, my work was seen in Momentum and got me a show in a local Norman shop that has led to more shows”


Artist Survival Kit workshop

Business Tools
40% of respondents have attended an Artist Survival Kit workshop. The numbers below give us some insight into artist’s readiness for opportunities, as well as areas where artists could use additional resources or help as potential workshop topics.

85% have a studio or work space (up from 81% last year)

88% have an artist statement (up from 81% last year)

85% have an artist resume (up from 77% last year)

79% have an artist portfolio (up from 71% last year)

74% have a website (up from 62% last year)

“Attending artist workshops has given me tools to use in my work and business.”

“ArtistINC has helped me to produce important contracts that immediately helped with my artistic practice. I often pull out my workbook to look up info regarding taxes and goal setting as well.”