Norman Artist Receives Mid-America Arts Alliance Innovations Grant

The Mid-America Arts Alliance announced their esteemed Arts Innovations grant recipients on June 28. 21 recipients from the five state region, were selected for awards. Of the 21 recipients, only three Oklahoma artists and arts organizations were announced as recipients. 

Of those, only one was from Norman, Oklahoma: Actor, director and playwright Sheryl Martin.

Her project, entitled “Oklahoma StoryWorks: THE FOOD PROJECT”, will spend the next year developing a script for a new play based on interviews with Norman and area residents. The focus of the project will be food; stories, issues and relations with this most essential element of living.

Martin has been a mainstay of theatre in Central Oklahoma since her arrival in Norman in 1989. She came to Norman as a newly cast actor with Norman's then professional theatre company, The Street Players Theatre; with whom she toured children's theatre and appeared in independent, original productions for the next two years.

In subsequent years, she appeared in productions with most of Central Oklahoma's theaters, including Stone Soup Theatre, Oklahoma Children's Theatre and her own company, 2x4 Productions. While with Oklahoma Children's Theatre, and later 2x4, Sheryl began playwriting children's stories for touring programs, writing more than 15 scripts over the years.

Most recently, Martin appeared in the Two Weird Sisters production of The Vagina Monologues at The Depot in Norman.

The Arts Innovation grant award is the first project for Sheryl's 2x4 Productions new program, StoryWorks. StoryWorks is committed to bringing the family tales and stories of area residents to the stage. Degrees in both Anthropology and Theatre, both from the University of Oklahoma, gives Martin a unique set of skills to apply to this project.

The Artistic Innovations program, according to the Mid-America Arts Alliance "...has been supporting the creation of groundbreaking new artistic work since 2013, with grants of up to $15,000 to artists and arts organizations in member states creating a variety of art across mediums. This round of awards proves no different, with grants made in the disciplines of dance, music, film, theater, and visual art."

This program is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Windgate Charitable Foundation. In all, $234,746 has been awarded to the 21 recipients.

Martin is currently engaged in planning meetings with project partners the Norman Arts Council and The Depot before beginning the interview process in the Fall.