History - 1980s

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In FY 1980-81, the agency redefined its goals to make it a priority that each county be reached annually with a grant, program or service. Long-range plans were developed and funded for arts services, touring and outreach programs, and ethnic arts development; $1.2 million was awarded in grants that year.


There was a serious decline in the state's economy in FY 1981-82 which resulted in a personnel hiring freeze (which eventually reduced the staff to half its normal size), a restriction on state travel, suspension of merit pay increases, and the threat of reduced federal funding. Despite these problems, the IAC awarded $1.2 million in grants and continued to administer a variety of special programs. The Artists-in-Education Program continued to receive recognition from the National Endowment for the Arts as a model for other states to emulate. Indiana's "Public Arts Policy" was drafted and submitted to the Governor. It covered such topics as business and the arts, economic development, education, art in public places, and private sector support of the IAC.


The "Public Arts Policy" was approved by the Governor and adopted in FY 1982-83. After four years with no increase in state funding, the Indiana General Assembly raised its appropriation for the 1983-85 biennium by a quarter of a million dollars which was all earmarked for grants. Despite this increase, Indiana slipped from 40th to 42nd place in per capita funding of state arts agencies. During the year, the IAC held 10 focus sessions around the state to gather ideas from the arts community and awarded $1.2 million in grants in four basic divisions: Organizational Development, State and Local Partnership, Arts Project Support and Artists-in-Education. Groundwork was laid for a new Local Arts Agency Test Program that was instituted during FY 1983-84. The test program allowed 10 Indiana communities to fund new arts programs with state and municipal money. In several areas, such as Columbus, the money allowed the communities to increase and improve their local arts council's services and facilities.


In FY 1983-84, the Commission continued its major service of awarding matching grants in each of its five divisions to arts and not-for-profit organizations. In total, nearly 400 groups received $1.3 million in IAC assistance. The Commission also strengthened its commitment to individual artists by initiating a Summer Fellowship Program, in which $36,000 was granted to 16 individual/solo artists. Nearly 300 artists applied for the program, demonstrating the number and quality of Indiana's individual artists and the need for continued support.

The Commissioners and staff also wrote and approved the IAC's long-range plans, consisting of goals, objectives and strategies. The comprehensive plan addresses the present and future developments of the agency while meeting the needs of the arts community in Indiana.

The IAC staff also continued its major services to the field in 1983-84, providing the arts community with grants consultations, workshops, conferences, artist directories, mailing lists, program brochures, newsletters and other publications. The Indiana Governor's Arts Awards was also a highlight of the year in which six prominent Indiana artists were recognized.


In FY 1984-85 the Commission received nearly 400 grant applications requesting $4.3 million with the IAC funding $1.4 million.

In addition, the Commission awarded $49,000 in the second year of its Individual Artist Fellowship Program. Nineteen artists from throughout the state received fellowships to create or complete projects or other activities related to their professional development. Six Governor's Arts Awards were presented.

In addition to awarding grants, the agency made a number of important achievements that helped further the development of the arts throughout Indiana. The new Presenter/Touring Program was initiated to facilitate the presentation of high-quality art in all of Indiana's 92 counties and to increase the visibility and financial support of Indiana performing arts groups and visual arts exhibitions. Through this program, the IAC provided free support to presenters.

The agency promoted the Folk Arts Program initiative project around the state to help identify and preserve the unique heritage of Indiana. The IAC launched the Folk Arts Media Project, a major undertaking to produce four slide/tape presentations on folk art in Indiana.


The Commission was able to secure the second highest funding increase in its history in an attempt to reach all of Indiana's 92 counties with a grant or service.

The IAC, the Indiana Business Research Center, I.U. and the Indiana Advocates for the Arts produced an economic impact report: "Indiana's Arts Economy." The research focused on only a small group of 77 cultural organizations out of a field of 600. This small segment defined an industry that was generating $53 million annually. Fifty-six percent of those expenditures went towards hiring Hoosiers.

In the beginning of the fiscal year, the IAC introduced a two-year funding option for arts organizations in the General Operating Support and State and Local Partnership division. The pilot of regranting of funds through local arts agencies was introduced as part of the Commission's State and Local Partnership Program. The purpose of the programs was to decentralize state arts funds through local arts agencies.

The Individual Arts Fellowship program was enhanced by an increase in the number of fellowships from 19 in FY 1984-85 to 24. In the two years since the program was started, the IAC has helped to support the artistic expression and training of 43 artists from 17 different counties.


During FY 1986-87 the Commission strengthened the public process of arts support and focused on improving the public's access to its programs and services. A coordinated campaign to actively involve grant applicants was introduced. For the first time, grant applicants were invited to attend grants review panel meetings. This provided applicants with a first-hand view of how their applications were reviewed and interpreted.

The Commission received a $75,000 increase in the Biennium Budget; Indiana ranked 43rd among all the nation's state arts agencies in per capita funding for the arts.

The IAC received 647 applications requesting $4.9 million in funding. With current legislative appropriations, the Commission was able to fund only $1.5 million of the total requests with state funds; reaching 66 counties with direct funding and numerous other communities with services. Grants workshops reached more than 300 citizens at 14 sites.

Through the Individual Artist Fellowship Program, $60,000 was awarded to 24 artists.


During 1987-88 the IAC's first Multicultural Round Table met. Twenty-nine artists, educators and community leaders representing various races and ethnic backgrounds gathered to discuss how the Commission effectively serves multicultural groups in Indiana.

The Commission awarded 402 not-for-profit organizations $1.57 million in state funds during FY 1987-88. An additional 24 grants were awarded to individual artists through the Fellowship program. The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies ranked Indiana's per capita state arts funding 44th in the nation among the 50 states and six jurisdictional agencies.


The state's arts community, in union with the IAC and the Indiana Advocates for the Arts, secured a $600,000 per year increase for the 1989-91 legislative biennium. The increase was the largest in the Commission's history.

A record 232 artists ranging from painters to video artists applied to the Individual Artist Fellowship Program. Twenty-three craft, design, media and visual artists received either $3,000 master or $1,000 associate fellowships for activities that promote their professional development. The governor recognized six individuals and institutions with an Arts Award on February 6.

In 1989 the Commission held its first round table discussion in June on how the IAC can better serve people with disabilities.


For the first time in the Commission's history, the agency received supplemental funding during the short session of the 1989-90 Indiana General Assembly to finance a new program, Arts: Rural and Multicultural (ARM), designed to nurture long-term arts development in Indiana's rural and multicultural communities.

The agency's fiscal year 1990 $1.8 million state grants budget was the largest in its history. The increased grants budget enabled the Commission to expand the reach of its programs to 71 counties. Three hundred and fifty organizations received the IAC fiscal year grants.

For the benefit of panelists and grant applicants with visual impairments, applications were available in Braille, large type and audio tape. American Sign Language Interpreters were available for the Commission's 1989-90 panel meetings to better serve panelists with hearing disabilities. The installation of a TDD at the Commission's office enabled the Commission to communicate directly with the deaf arts community.

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