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Decision Making Process

Review the information below to learn more about the grant funding process followed by the Indiana Arts Commission.

  • Guidelines

    The funding process for IAC grant programs begins with the development of guidelines. IAC staff and Commissioners shape the guidelines based upon IAC priorities and the agency’s strategic plan. They work with stakeholders and program focus groups for public input to update and revise guidelines.  The Commission reviews and approves guidelines for all programs at their scheduled public Quarterly Business Meetings.

  • Grant Assistance Workshops and Webinars

    Conducting public grant assistance workshops and webinars is the next step in providing information and guidance to those interested in applying to the Commission for grant funds. Workshop notices are broadly disseminated, and press releases are issued. Workshops are conducted throughout the entire state by the IAC and its Regional Arts Partners (RAP). IAC often partners with other service organizations to provide additional information on grants writing, grants making and improved project management. IAC staff and Regional Partners provide technical assistance and consultation to applicant organizations until the grant application deadline.

  • Applications

    Applicants are required to use our online grant system. Use the links below for more information.

  • Panel Process

    In order to provide an open environment in which to review applications for funding, IAC utilizes a panel application review process. The peer panel process places great importance on the review of applications by conflict-free professionals in the arts, arts and cultural management and related fields. Peer professionals from the state and specific regions evaluate and score the grant applications based upon published program criteria found in the guidelines.

    Panelists individually review and score each application in advance of the public panel review meeting. As part of the public panel review meeting, each application receives an additional primary and secondary review. Primary reviewers conduct in-depth reviews, report their findings to the panel and lead panel discussion, and secondary reviewers also provide their findings, adding additional detail or opposing comments.  The panel review then opens to the remainder of the panelists for additional or opposing comments. After discussion of the grant application has concluded, panelists do final scoring via the online grant system to individually record or update their comments and score for each application.

    A qualified moderator (IAC Commissioner, former Commissioner or other) convenes the group but does not review, score or comment on grant applications. The panel review meeting is open to applicants and the public for observation and may be recorded. Applicants may observe only and cannot lobby or address the panel on behalf of their applications before, during, or after the panel review meeting. Panel specifics will be posted on the RAP website and/or IAC website for each grant program. Commission or Regional Arts Partner staff manage the panel process, provide information, and adhere to policies and procedures to ensure fair and equitable treatment of all grant applicants. Only the peer panel reviewers participate in the application discussion and scoring.

    All peer panel reviewers certify they are free of conflict with the organization from which the application is submitted. Interaction or communication between grantees and panelists is prohibited before, during and after the review process. Review information from grantees is restricted to those items allowed and required as part of the online application process.

  • Panel Appointments

    Recommendations for panelists come from the field, IAC staff and Commissioners, Regional Arts Partners and former panelists.

    Peer review panels are convened for each grant program by the IAC or the Regional Arts Partner as appropriate to the grant program. Panelists are selected based on the following criteria:

    • Professional qualifications
    • Broad-based knowledge of arts and /or cultural field(s)
    • Diversity (e.g. all of the ways people differ)
    • Geographic representation
    • Representation of various arts and cultural disciplines (visual arts, music, dance, theatre, history, education, etc.) and genres within each discipline (symphonic, chamber, jazz, etc.);
    • Representation of a cross-section of the arts and cultural organizations, groups, and structures including board members, administrative managers, artistic directors, education specialists, etc.; and/or
    • Representation from large and small, developing and established, and urban and rural organizations.

    *Representation from related, pertinent fields including fund raising, project and organizational management, planning, and evaluation.

  • Deadlines

    All deadlines for grant applications and letters of intent (if applicable) are binding, and extensions are not given.

  • Funding

    After scores across all like grant program panels are completed and normalized, a score ranked list is assembled for Commissioner review and approval. Scores below the identified cut-off number are not eligible for funding.

  • Appeals

    The reconsideration process is designed to review the method and fairness of an IAC decision concerning a grant application. This process is not intended to impose a different panel’s choices/judgment over the original panel’s decision. Dissatisfaction with the denial of a grant or the amount of an award is not sufficient reason for an appeal.

    Applicants may request reconsideration of a funding decision if the applicant can demonstrate:

    • The panel or review team used incorrect review criteria; and/or
    • There was influence by an IAC staff person or IAC volunteer panelist having a conflict of interest; and/or
    • Required information submitted by the applicant was withheld from consideration.

    Applicants must send a formal letter to the IAC Executive Director stating the reason for reconsideration based on at least one of the three points above along with evidence of the grounds for the appeal. The letter must be received by the IAC office within 30 days of notification of the IAC grant award in question. If deemed viable, an appeals committee appointed by the IAC Chair will review all appeal requests and make recommendations to the full Commission at its next business meeting. All decisions of the Commission are final and may not be appealed further.