Press Release

Tulsa Artist Fellowship Welcomes Thirteen Artists and Arts Workers

Thirteen awardees from a pool of over 1,200 applicants were chosen by a panel of esteemed arts leaders to live and work in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Tulsa Artist Fellowship is honored to announce the 2021-2023 Tulsa Artist Fellowship awardee cohort commencing August 30, 2021. A distinct group of thirteen multidisciplinary artists and arts workers were selected by a panel of nineteen esteemed arts leaders from a pool of over 1,200 submissions.

Entering its seventh award cycle, Tulsa Artist Fellowship was created as a civic enhancement initiative by the George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF) with an intent aimed towards addressing the most pressing artistic challenges for contemporary artists and arts workers living in and joining the city of Tulsa, OK. Tulsa Artist Fellowship is a place-based, durational award focused on supporting independent arts practitioners striving to serve as a global model for mobilizing communities through the transformative power of all practices of art. Tulsa is deeply shaped by its rich Native American cultural landscape. Tulsa Artist Fellowship is dedicated to celebrating and supporting Native arts and specifically reserves Fellowship awards for Native American artists.

Says incoming awardee, Chelsea T. Hicks, Wahzhazhe of Waxhakoli in the Osage Nation and of mixed creole descent, “Tulsa Artist Fellowship allows me to more fully support and immerse myself in my ancestral languages, which, along with my ancestors, are the inspiration for my writing. Nika zhutse ie waleze kaxe ma^zha^ thekaha dada^ eko^ thi^ke akxai. E ma^thi ido^theha the a^ko^thape i^doi theha a^kathe pida^. Native language writing, there’s nothing like that here on earth. As we go along, we want these languages to endure.”

Awardees were chosen through a merit-based open call process including panel review and interviews centering around the applicants’ individual artistic practice as well as their visions for engaging with Tulsa’s diverse community through art. The two-year award includes a $40,000 art-making stipend, as well as fully subsidized living and studio space, and resources for developing community programming. Tulsa Artist Fellows are able to live and create, while encouraged to intentionally engage with the city of Tulsa. Fellows are offered autonomy to make, explore and expand their artistic practices during the length of their award term.

"I’ve used my time in Tulsa, Oklahoma to reconnect with this state, where I spent my formative years through undergraduate college career, to reconsider the role of myth, erasure, and contradiction in the states’ narrative, to dive deeper into research and work on the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, and to explore new directions with film, sonic, performance, and text-based strands of my creative practice” says Crystal Z. Campbell, Tulsa Artist Fellowship Awardee, 2015-2020. She continues, “having a base for the last few years has allowed for a slowness that informs my work and permits focus for long-term projects within a larger creative community."

The 2021-2023 cohort includes artists and arts workers across a wide range of arts disciplines from literary translation to painting, among others. Fellows represent arts practitioners with a sense of urgency to bring their regarded practices home to their Oklahoma communities, Native artists seeking deeper relationships with ancestral languages, African Americans both dedicated and drawn to Tulsa, individuals who have traversed immigration and are examining the diasporic experience, champions of LGTBQ+ artistic representation, and a US Army Veteran sharing his perspective on American war.

Says Carolyn Sickles, Executive Director of Tulsa Artist Fellowship “Out of this competitive process emerged a group of exceptional socially engaged arts practitioners. It’s my wholehearted belief that their artistic work in Tulsa will be mutually impactful. Our city is a place for community builders and innovators. We are honored to continue to support the growth of this esteemed creative community and strongly believe the arts are essential to an engaged city.”

Tulsa Artist Fellowship seeks to contribute to the city of Tulsa by supporting and encouraging a dynamic and ever-changing community of artists and arts workers who are eager to engage, inspire, and creatively invest in the city. Along with Tri-City Collective, Tulsa Public Schools and Impact Tulsa, current awardee Quraysh Ali Lansana is offering high school students the opportunity to research their schools’ namesakes and origins that will contribute to creating a collective piece of creative writing. The project will culminate with a published anthology offering visibility and validation to teens who are committed to building their writing skills.

“We see the program having the potential for greater community and inter-generational dialogue about the history of the schools and surrounding neighborhoods,” said Quraysh Ali Lansana. “Tulsa Artist Fellowship has been a consistent foundation for my many ideas since joining the Fellowship in 2019. I am humbled by the embrace as well as the support.”

Growing the program to 52 contemporary arts practitioners in residence, incoming awardees will join second-year Tulsa Artist Fellows and Arts Integration Award recipients including United States Poet Laureate Joy Harjo; multidisciplinary artist Kalup Linzy; and Quraysh Ali Lansana, poet, community organizer and Acting Director of The Center for Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation at Oklahoma State University.

For more information, please see:

2021 – 2023 Tulsa Artist Fellowship Awardee Cohort
Kaveh Bassiri | Writer and Literary Translator (Fayetteville, AR)
Ashanti Chaplin | Multidisciplinary Cultural Producer (Brooklyn, NY)
Rodney Clark | Playwright and Filmmaker (Tulsa, OK)
Jennifer Croft | Writer and Literary Translator (Los Angeles, CA)
Ryan Fitzgibbon | Publisher (Tulsa, OK)
Matt Gallagher | Writer (Brooklyn, NY)
Arthur Haywood | Painter, Illustrator and Muralist (Philadelphia, PA)
Brit Hensel | Writer and Filmmaker (Tulsa, OK)
George Henson | Literary Translator (Monterey, CA)
Chelsea Hicks | Writer (Pawhuska, OK)
Jae Kim | Writer and Literary Translator (Saint Louis, MO)
Natani Notah | Interdisciplinary Artist (Alameda, CA)
Jenny Wu | Writer and Art Historian (Saint Louis, MO)

Selection Panel
Rachel Adams | Chief Curator & Director of Programs at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts
Jae Cho | Director at Spencer Brownstone Gallery 
Florine Démosthène | Artist and Past TAF Awardee
Mark de Silva | Novelist and Past TAF Award Awardee
Mark Dion | Artist and GKFF Public Art Commission Recipient
Will Evans | Executive Director and Publisher at Deep Vellum Publishing
David Everitt Howe | Curator and Arts Editor of The Pioneer Works Broadcast 
Cannupa Hanska Luger | Artist and SETTLEMENT Organizer 
Rachel Hayes | Artist and Past TAF Award Awardee 
Jessica Hodin | Curator at GOOD TO KNOW.FYI 
Jamillah James | Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Janine Joseph | PhD, Writer and Faculty at Oklahoma State University
Denise Kripper | PhD, Translation Editor, Latin American Literature Today
Jeff Martin | Writer, Editor and Founder of Booksmart Tulsa
Janet McAdams | Poet and Faculty at Kenyon College 
Juliana Steiner | Curator at GOOD TO KNOW.FYI 
Ambika Trasi | Artist, Writer and Curator 
Alexandra Valls | Artist and Co-Founder/Curator at GOOD TO KNOW.FYI 
Julianna Vezzetti | Co-Founder/Curator at GOOD TO KNOW.FYI 

About Tulsa Artist Fellowship
Tulsa Artist Fellowship is a place-based award located in the heart of Oklahoma’s Green Country. With the belief that arts are critical to the advancement of cultural citizenship, Tulsa Artist Fellowship supports both local and national artists while enriching the Tulsa community. Tulsa Artist Fellowship is a civic enhancement initiative of the George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF).  

About George Kaiser Family Foundation
George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF) is a charitable organization dedicated to providing equal opportunity for young children through investments in early childhood education, community health, social services, and civic enhancement. GKFF believes that Tulsa is a land of opportunity. A generous and welcoming community, this city is not bound by traditional conventions. GKFF is dedicated to making Tulsa the best city for children to be born, grow and succeed.

Media Contact: Cheyenne Smith,