Oklahoma Visual Arts Fellowships & Student Awards of Excellence

Each year, the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition gives two awards of $5,000 each to individual artists. Additionally, two $500 Student Awards of Excellence are given.

These awards are intended to reward qualified artists with outstanding vision and are chosen by a guest curator from applications submitted by the artists.


The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition supports Oklahoma’s professional visual artists. These awards are intended to recognize past achievement and future promise and can be used as the artist’s needs require. The application is now open! The deadline to apply is April 30th, 2018 at 11:59pm. 

The Awards

Two Oklahoma Visual Arts Fellowships for $5,000 are open to resident Oklahoma artists working in all media. Additionally two Student Awards of Excellence of $500 are open to Oklahoma graduate and undergraduate students. OVAC will produce a brochure about the award winning artists, which will be sent to 600+ galleries and curators across the nation.


2018 Guest Curator 

Mark Scala is the chief curator at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, TN. His major exhibitions have focused on the subject of human vulnerability, complexity, and transformation in art from around the world. Phantom Bodies: The Human Aura in Art (2015) explored the subjects of loss and remembrance in contemporary art. Fairy Tales, Monsters, and the Genetic Imagination (2012) was an international survey on the theme of the hybrid body in folklore, science fiction, and genetic engineering. Paint Made Flesh (2009) was a compilation of expressionistic figure painting in the U.S., Germany, and Britain since World War II. Scala has also organized solo exhibitions on artists including Harmony Korine, Guido van der Werve, Inka Essenhigh, Gregory Barsamian, U-Ram Choe, Angelo Filomeno, Mike Hoolboom, Simen Johan, Tokihiro Sato, Ana Maria Tavares, and Camille Utterback. Scala is currently organizing Chaos and Awe: Painting for the 21st Century, an international survey of artists who convey a sense of anxiety and sublimity arising from the contemplation of an increasingly unstable social imaginary.

Before coming to the Frist Center, Scala was curator at the Art Museum of Western Virginia. He received his MA in art history in 1988 and MFA in painting in 1979, both from Virginia Commonwealth University. From 2008-2013, he held the position of senior guest lecturer at Vanderbilt University, teaching the course Sources of Contemporary Art. He has been a critic for The New Art Examiner, has been interviewed by Huffington Post, Modern Painters, and on NPR, and is a regular contributor to Nashville Arts Magazine. He has been a member of the Association of Art Museum Curators since 2001, and served on its board from 2010-2016.

Annual Criteria

The curator will consider the following criteria during the selection process: the quality of the work as demonstrated by samples submitted with the application; the originality of vision as well as technical expertise of the work; and the record of professional activity and achievement as reflected in the resume. The curator will also consider that the artist shows exceptional and ongoing artistic investigation.


FELLOWSHIP: The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition accepts Fellowship applications from artists who are legal residents of Oklahoma, not students and older than 21 years of age. Work samples submitted may not have been completed while under artistic instruction. Recipients are expected to remain Oklahoma residents for full fellowship year. Previous recipients of OVAC Visual Arts Fellowship are eligible three years after their award.

STUDENT AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE: Graduate or undergraduate students in Oklahoma of any age may apply in the Student Awards of Excellence category. Past Student Award of Excellence recipients are not eligible.

How to Apply

Applications must be received by 11:59 pm on April 30, 2018. No late or incomplete applications will be processed. Violation of any of the terms of this agreement or of the application criteria will result in a rejection of an application, or if already awarded, rescission, or return of all funds disbursed.


Please make sure you have reviewed all of the guidelines before submitting your application!




2016 Oklahoma Visual Arts Fellowship Recipients
Lynette Atchley, Shawnee
Andy Mattern, Stillwater

2016 Student Awards of Excellence Recipients
Nicholas Enevoldsen, Oklahoma City
Lucas Simmons, Shawnee

Curator: Karin Campbell, Phil Wilson Curator of Contemporary Art
Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha Nebraska


2015 Oklahoma Visual Arts Fellowship Recipients
Stuart Asprey, Norman
Jason Cytacki, Norman

2015 Student Awards of Excellence Recipients
Ashley Farrier, Stillwater
Kim Rice, Norman

Curator: Emily Stamey, Curator of Contemporary Art at the
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale Arizona



2014 Oklahoma Visual Arts Fellowship Recipients
Zachary Presley, Durant
Denny Schmickle, Tulsa

2014 Student Awards of Excellence Recipients
Randall Barnes, Midwest City
Megan Hughes, Stillwater

Curator: James McAnally, artist, curator, and critic, Co-Director/Curator of The Luminary, Editor of Temporary Art Review


Oklahoma Visual Arts Fellowship Recipients
Pete Froslie, Norman
Kate Johnson, Tulsa

Student Awards of Excellence Recipients:
Sarah Engel-Barnett, Norman
Brent Richardson, Norman

Curator: Lorelei Stewart, Director, Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)