Kick off immediate action with a Community Arts Onsite Visit

Create new interest in the arts, increase community involvement and boost economic development around the arts.  

Three days of small group conversations in your community, practical ideas and real world examples to build on, plus a follow up presentation with specific doable action steps. Create better connections between officials, leaders and other community members. Boost economic development around the arts and creative ideas locally.

Special Grant Funding 

The Oklahoma Arts Council is accepting applications for a matching grant for up to $5,000 of the cost for nonprofits and local governments in qualifying rural counties. You would provide approximately $2,500 in cash match and $2,500 in kind matching. We’ll help you with sample grant wording.

The following counties are eligible through June 2024:

  • Alfalfa
  • Atoka
  • Beaver
  • Blaine
  • Caddo
  • Choctaw
  • Cimarron
  • Coal
  • Craig
  • Dewey
  • Ellis
  • Garvin
  • Grant
  • Harmon
  • Harper
  • Haskell
  • Jefferson
  • Johnston
  • Latimer
  • Love
  • Major
  • Marshall
  • Mayes
  • McClain
  • Murray
  • Noble
  • Nowata
  • Okmulgee
  • Osage
  • Pawnee
  • Pittsburg
  • Pushmataha
  • Roger Mills
  • Sequoyah
  • Wagoner
  • Washita

We’ll update this list and all the grant information for next fiscal year as soon as the OAC posts it, which we think will be before July 1, 2024.

Oklahoma Arts Council information for the grant: 

What does a Community Arts Visit look like?  

This Onsite Visit from me, Deb Brown, co founder of SaveYour.Town, will help create new interest in the arts, kick off new art projects and experiences and boost community involvement in the arts. This is done by finding out what the local people would like to see in your town around the subject of the arts, and working with them to begin achieving their ideas. More than just arts people and officials are involved, your entire community is invited to participate and share their input. It will create more support for the arts by more people. It will also provide examples and information to continue to build capacity for future projects. 

Getting ready: 

I’ll work with you and your team to prepare for my visit. I’ll support you in gathering people and groups, identifying potential places to focus and avoiding some common issues. Please scroll down for more suggestions!

Arrival day: 

The visit starts when I get to town. Usually I arrive in the afternoon and do a little informal drive around to get the feel of the place. I’ll be looking for current art installations, use of art in design and possibilities for other art related opportunities.

First full day: 

This can begin with a walk through (or drive through) town. You’ll share with me art and art projects both started and completed. We spend the afternoon talking with people, organizations, businesses and students. Over dinner there’s more discussion and conversation. 

Second and third day:

We repeat the first day process for the next two days. The last visit of the day is with the team to review key points, discuss ideas already in action and what comes next. 

One Week Later:

About one week later I will share a virtual presentation with you and your community. In this presentation I will show what arts ideas and projects you said you wanted. I tabulate these answers from my notes and make sure your team has copies. I’ll tell stories of other communities already in action. I’ll also give suggestions and ideas of possible art related projects and activities. 

How do you know who to invite to visit with me? 

Your team will receive a long list of possible diverse community outreach targets to use to create your own list of people to invite to engage in the conversation. Each community is different, and your key players will create a schedule for me that includes different organizations and people like: 

  • faith based organizations, 
  • clubs and service organizations, 
  • nonprofit agencies, 
  • arts based organizations and groups, 
  • city and county employees and officials, 
  • local business owners and employees,
  • business and economic development groups, 
  • neighborhood associations, 
  • civic groups, 
  • people in healthcare industry, 
  • law enforcement, 
  • and those employed in the education field. 

What do we talk about? 

I ask each person ‘what kind of art and creative projects (or organizations) do you want to see in your town?’ It is not a conversation about what used to be in your town, it is about the possibilities for the future. Because I work in many small towns, I’m able to share stories of other communities who are doing that kind of thing. One objective, when possible, is get people started on taking action right away, while I’m there. 

I take notes recording what your people want, what steps they are taking, and what is important to them. I do write down names, for my edification only, and not to be used in a public presentation. 

Goals of these conversations is to 

  • stimulate community engagement, 
  • build awareness, and
  • find out what your people want to see in your community around art ideas and art businesses.

We discuss arts related economic development ideas with officials and organizations based upon what the community indicates they’d like to see represented in this area.

Each visit is tailored to your needs, and no two visits look alike. I’m not there to help you create a master plan that then goes back on a shelf to be dusted off 5 years later and rewritten. I want everyone in your community who wants to participate in the arts to be valued, welcomed and encouraged to get in action.

How will you know it’s a success? 

The last day I will meet with your team and discuss what happened, some of the ideas shared, projects started and how you can continue to be involved. I will provide your team with all the quantitative and qualitative data after the final presentation. You’ll be able to use that in your final grant report.

After the final call/presentation, your lead team member will hold a final evaluation call with me. I will provide a list of sample questions to cover in this final evaluation call. 

Goals and Outcomes

  • Identify what your community wants 
  • Engage diverse community members and develop new audiences for the arts
  • Create better connections between officials, leaders and other community members
  • Take action immediately on the creative ideas of your community and start projects
  • Leave your community with the tools to create economic development around the arts
  • Meet with boards and art organizations in order to build board capacity
  • Work with officials in order to strengthen arts infrastructure and create more economic development around the Arts
  • Follow up presentation and information to use to build capacity for future projects.

What’s left?  

During the informal follow up process I’ll make sure you’re receiving our newsletters. There will be stories shared about the visit and I’ll give you information to provide to your local media. I’m available to you for questions and discussions for the following year. 

Have questions? 

I look forward to visiting your community. Remember we customize these visits to fit your needs.


Deb Brown