A group in Oklahoma is dedicated to supporting visual artists through promotion, education, funding and connection. That organization is the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition – or OVAC.

Established more than 20 years ago, OVAC seeks to raise public interest and awareness of visual arts for all ages. It’s also a great venue for up-and-coming artists to show their work through its online virtual gallery. The group also provides opportunities for gallery exhibitions and even offers an Artist Survival Kit (with the appropriate acronym of ASK).

Fernando Calvillo, the membership and marketing manager for OVAC, focuses his own artistic flair on jewelry making, ceramics and digital graphic design.

“We support artists on the business side of their practice,” he says. “We offer educational opportunities and facilitate them to show their work through exhibitions and our online gallery. We give funding to artists through our Grants for Artists and Fellowship Awards. Through our exhibitions and our publication Art Focus Oklahoma, we connect the community to the visual arts in our state.”

But there’s more, he says.

 “Additionally, our OK Art Crawl and Tulsa Art Studio Tour provide ways for the community to meet local artists and learn about their work,” he says. “Alongside each of our exhibitions, we create a curriculum guide that teachers and parents can use with their students. We create a quarterly high school e-news for teachers and students that lists opportunities and events.”

What’s New at OVAC

“We have a digital art gallery that features our artist members,” says Calvillo.  “We also have annual programs – art fundraisers and exhibitions – such as 12×12 Art fundraiser, Momentum, 24 Works on Paper and Art 365, among others.”

The biennial 24 Works on Paper begins a tour on Aug. 1 in Weatherford, and the exhibit will visit 10 other in-state locations. According to Calvillo, it is the only traveling show of art by living Oklahomans.

“The 12×12 Art fundraiser fuses 175 of Oklahoma’s finest artists with local restaurants and live music to create a memorable, one-night-only event,” says Calvillo. “Each artist must create a work that conforms to the dimensions of 12 inches by 12 inches.”

Calvillo encourages anyone interested in art in Oklahoma to visit their website at ovac-ok.org and to follow the organization on social media to learn more about upcoming events, workshops and artists opportunities.

According to the OVAC website, those interested can join as a member to access a wide range of benefits as an enthusiast, an artist, or both. OVAC also gladly accepts donations in order to continue its important work in the community.

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