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, 2019 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 500+ galleries and curators across the nation.


2019 Guest Curator 

Leesa Fanning is former Curator of Contemporary Art at The Nelson-Atkins Museum. While there (1998-2018) she curated Janet Cardiff: Forty-Part Motet, Nick Cave: Property, Philip Haas’ The Four Seasons, Bill Viola’s The Raft, OpenEnded Group and Bill T. Jones’ After Ghostcatching, Cao Fei’s RMB City Opera, Wolfgang Laib: Without Place—Without Time—Without Body,Siah Armajani: Dialogue with Democracy,Tapping Currents: Contemporary African Art and the Diaspora,Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle: Vanishing Sky,and Shirin Neshat: Turbulent. She also served as venue curator for Impressions & Improvisations: The Prints of Romare Bearden,Through African Eyes, and George Segal: Street Scenes.

Fanning authored two essays in and edited a major volume called Encountering the Spiritual in Contemporary Art(2018), a 312-page book published by Yale University Press and The Nelson-Atkins Museum. She has lectured widely on the topic.

Fanning’s dissertation was Abstract Expressionism and the Body: Philosophical and Cultural Interpretations, and she holds a doctorate in art history from the University of Kansas. She has taught art history classes on African art and contemporary art at The University of Kansas, The University of Missouri, and The Kansas City Art Institute.

Today, as independent curator, Fanning is lecturing, researching, writing, and working with several artists to develop survey exhibitions of their art.

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, 2019. 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!




2018 Oklahoma Visual Arts Fellowship Recipients
Ginna Dowling, Norman
Jordan Vinyard, Mustang

2018 Student Awards of Excellence Recipients
Devin Howell, Tulsa
Audrey Wells, Tulsa

Curator: Mark Scala, Chief Curator
Frist Center for Contemporary Art, Nashville, TN


2017 Oklahoma Visual Arts Fellowship Recipients
Chase Kahwinhut Earles, Ada
Haley Prestifilippo, Norman

2017 Student Awards of Excellence Recipients
Jasmine Jones, Midwest City
Camila Labarca Linaweaver, Norman

Curator: Bradley Sumrall, Curator of the Collection
Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA


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)