“Visual Arts Students Find Solace at Norman’s Resonator Institute Amid Budget Cuts” (Online)


Kaelan Deese

Eric Piper featured prepping for Friday evening’s Cat Castle Art Collective.

Despite intense budget cuts, university visual arts students have found ways to elevate their platform outside the campus.

The University of Oklahoma’s Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts is facing budget cuts like never before in recent years, specifically in the OU School of Visual Arts.

One student, Alyssa Howery studio art senior said, “I’ve heard talks of cuts among professors in the school, we don’t even have the money to pay for pizza at our events like we used to–we have to chip in every once in a while just to have that.”

Pizza money aside, it is no understatement that the school has seen a hefty drop in support in the last few years; before President Jim Gallogly took office in July of this year. Along with these cuts, students in the school are expected to supply their own tools and supplies for projects.


Back in the 2015-2016 school year, the visual art college received a rounded total of $2 million in funding for their entire department combined. From 2016-2017, that number dropped to an estimated $1.8 million, a decrease of over eleven percent in only two years. Currently, the budget remains the same without any public statement or reason offered by the University.

Graduate Coordinator Curtis Jones remained optimistic when speaking about the budget cuts that have setback the school. “We have a lot of talented and ambitious students working on various projects in our Lightwell and Spotlight galleries within the School of Visual Arts,” Curtis said. Some students have sought advances in their work at art spaces across the city of Norman, such as Resonator Institute or “Resonator” on Main Street. “I know of at least three interns in our department that have ties to Resonator and future collaborations are in the works for some of our students to curate displays at the new location they’ve opened up,” Jones said.

OU graduate and co-founder of Resonator Eric Piper is well aware of the defunded visual arts program that he was once a part of and how it can affect production and exposure for student artists. Concerning the budget cuts at the OU School of Visual Arts, Piper said,

“I believe in arts funding and maintaining a culture in a community but I also believe in an artist’s ability to seek funding when it is needed or available; sometimes it just doesn’t come our way. With university money, it’s almost like this parent-child relationship where the kid is constantly asking for more and I think there are other ways to seek funding that don’t always need to rely on the university.”