The Norman Arts Council (NAC) was founded in 1976 to enrich the Norman community by stimulating artistic, cultural, and economic growth through the support and promotion of the arts. At its inception, the NAC became the face and voice of arts advocacy in Norman. Since then, the NAC has continued to uphold its mission through a variety of programs and initiatives. Early on, the Roundtable, was formed. This network of 501 (c) 3 arts and cultural organizations in Norman allows for dialogue and collaboration between all involved for the purpose of continuing our community’s growth as an arts destination. Each year, the NAC sponsors festivals, programs, workshops, and arts education activities that grow as the community expands through it grants program. Among the NAC’s historic contributions is the co-founding and continued support of the popular Jazz in June, which has attracted nationally known acts such as Ellis Marsalis and T.S. Monk III. The NAC also provides support for such well-attended festivals as, Mayfair, the Medieval Fair, and the Norman Public Library’s Cultural Festivals – all dynamic annual events that have helped Norman earn a reputation as the City of Festivals.
In 2008 the NAC created the Norman Music Festival, a multi-genre music festival that has grown to a three-day event featuring over 150 bands from across the country each year. Every attendance has grown by the tens of thousands and a survey conducted by the Norman Convention and Visitors Bureau found that the 2010 festival brought $2.6 million to the local economy and generated nearly $100,000 in sales tax revenue for the City of Norman.
In 2009 the NAC and the City of Norman created the Norman Public Arts Board, with the mission to create exciting, appealing, and harmonious public space by integrating art into the public place in Norman. The NPAB unveiled its first completed project in September of 2010, the stunning metal work, Indian Grass by Toas, NM artists Juan and Patricia Navarrete.. This phenomenal work of public art is located in the East Main Street roundabout.
Also in 2009, the NAC collaborated with local artists to create three Artist Communities: the Norman Studio Artists Association, the Cinematic Artists of Norman, and the Songwriters Association of Norman. These communities give individual artists opportunities to network, participate in learning workshops, and promote their work.
Norman Arts Council founded Norman Open Studios in 2012 to give Norman art lovers a chance to step into the process of local artists who opened up their workspace to visitors.
In 2013, Norman again made its support of art and Norman Arts Council clear with a vote to increase the hotel/motel tax and subsequently making more funds available to the dozens of art events and organizations Norman Arts Council supports.