USAO Dean awarded $10,000 community-based grant from Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition

A photo of Jordan Vinyard in front of a sculpture featuring cartoonishly transformed mouths in a wall
Jordan Vinyard one of the recipients of the Thrive Powerhouse Grant

Jordan Vinyard is connecting the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma and Chickasha community through her art. Vinyard, dean of the school of visual and performing arts, was recently named a recipient of a Thrive Powerhouse Grant, a $10,000 community-based award from the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition made possible by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Vinyard’s project, “This Little Piggy Has Meaning, This Little Piggy Has None,” consists of kinetic sculptures that playfully address how we define community values and meaning, asking a population to pause and consider what their wealth is constituted by. The work consists of eight fabricated piggy banks laden with electronics installed throughout the Chickasha community and USAO campus.

A Plexiglas container attached to each sculpture with laser-cut coins prompts, “what is valuable to you?” Viewers are encouraged to fill in the coins with sharpies and deposit them into the piggy bank resulting in the sculpture’s mechanical reaction.

“To be a figure who can fluidly connect the USAO community to downtown Chickasha is something I’m immensely proud of,” said Vinyard. “It’s not been achieved without the tremendous support of the university and community. I hope to continue contributing to an ecosystem where we recognize each other’s values. I specifically want to thank Jim Cowan, who has been a profound figure in connecting me to the local businesses and a broader support network. I’m thrilled to be able to create a community project that is so readily embraced by people like him.”

Cowan, the president and CEO of the Chickasha Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council, notes how crucial it is for Oklahoma communities to be willing to embrace new ideas and new forms of creativity.

“For a rural town in Oklahoma to stand out from other communities, we must do what many are not, and that means working closely with creative thinkers and doers,” said Cowan. “Every town wants their young people to stay around, as well as attracting the young creative class, but few are willing to embrace their ideas. That’s what makes us different in Chickasha.”

Thrive grants support artists in the creation of publicly accessible visual art projects that push the boundaries of the traditional exhibition experience. All events must take place in Oklahoma and the lead applicant as well as the majority of collaborators must reside in the state.

Logo of the Oklahoma Coalition for Visual Arts

Since receiving her MFA from Florida State University, Vinyard has exhibited national and internationally, including at the International Symposium of Electronic Arts in Dubai; The Czong Institute for Contemporary Art Museum, South Korea; The Museum of Contemporary Art in Tucson, Arizona; Art Basel, Miami; The Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina; Collarworks, New York, and has upcoming exhibitions in Estonia and Tulsa. Additionally, she is the director of USAO’s Art Wrecker, an experimental space predicated on socially engaged and dialogical forms of art.

For more information, contact Vinyard at 405-574-1301 or