The Tulsa Indian Art Festival is the annual showcasing of American Indian artworks in Oklahoma City. It was initiated by the American Indian Theatre Company of Oklahoma. In March 20, 1987, the first Tulsa Indian Art Festival was held in Tulsa?s fairgrounds. The first artist featured in the fair was Ben Shoemaker who donated his painting entitled ?The First Night.? The American Indian Theatre Company of Oklahoma was able to invite 40 participating artists and 100 individuals and group of dancers from Oklahoma. The following years, hundreds of artists from all over the United States participated in the fair.
The art festival runs for three days. It is usually held from Fridays to Sundays of May season. Every day, there is an opening program in the fairgrounds. It features activities like flute playing, exhibition dacing of more than 600 participating dancers, Storytelling, and other musical numbers. During the program, the American Indian Theatre Company of Oklahoma gives awards to students who achieve academic excellence in their studies. These students are scholars of American Indian Theatre Company of Oklahoma. A portion of the proceeds of the Tulsa Indian Art Festival is use for scholarship program to help less fortunate but deserving students in Oklahoma.
The Art Market is one of the most highlighted activities in Tulsa Indian Art Festival. For three days, artworks from different artists in U.S. are displayed in the fairgrounds. The exhibit has an average of 100 artwork display. Some of these artworks are for sale, while people can also contact the participating artists if they are interested of their artworks.