General Operating Support Guidelines

For purposes of the General Operating Support program:

  • A local arts agency is a community organization that has a permanent administrative facility, a representative board, at least a part-time executive or artistic director, and that provides financial support, services, or other programs for a variety of arts organizations and/or individual artists and the community as a whole
  • A single-discipline arts organization is a producing/presenting agency in one art form primarily with a permanent administrative facility, a representative board, and at least a part-time executive or artistic director.

Grant awards for FY20 will be made to help coordinate projects, programs, and activities occurring between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020.

Grant awards are based on anticipated Arkansas Arts Council revenues and can be reduced at any time during the grant period.

Grant funds are viewed as supplementary to the budget of any grantee. Applicants are encouraged to secure and demonstrate broadly based financial commitments for the proposal submitted.

General Operating Support Eligibility

An organization is eligible to apply for General Operating Support if it:

  • Received a GOS award for FY19 as a 501(c)(3) arts organization with a total operating budget equal to or greater than $50,000, or has been approved as a newly eligible GOS applicant after filing a Letter of Intent by November 30, 2018;
  • Employs a full-time executive director if its annual budget total is $150,000 to $999,999, or employs at least a part-time paid executive director if its annual budget is $50,000 to $149,999.
  • Has a copy of the independent audit of its most recently completed fiscal year sent to the Arkansas Attorney General on file with the Arkansas Arts Council if its annual budget is $500,000 or more, or has an IRS tax form 990 on file with the Arkansas Arts Council if the annual budget is less than $500,000.

Intent to Apply for General Operating Support

Potential new or previous GOS applicants who were not funded in FY19 and wish to return to the program must submit a Letter of Intent application by November 30, 2018.

All Letter of Intent organizations applying for a General Operating Support grant must first consult with the Arts Council’s Grant Programs Manager, and then submit the FY20 General Operating Support (LOI) application found in the Arkansas Arts Council's online grant portal found at the link for GOS Application Information. For a pre-registration look at the grant site, go HERE.

Criteria Scoring

The Council has established a weighted scoring scale that the panelists are instructed to use in evaluating the different grant categories:


To acknowledge the importance of broadly based community involvement with organizations requesting General Operating Support, the review criteria are scored on the following scale:

  • Organizational history and program description - 15 points
  • Community interaction and accessibility - 30 points
  • Educational outreach - 25 points
  • Long-range planning and evaluation - 30 points


The agency staff reviews applications in the second and third year of the established General Operating Support rotation cycle. The grant recommendation for those years is determined from the eligible request percentage of the last completed fiscal year's total income adjusted by the panel score determined in Year 1 of the organization's funding cycle. An increased grant recommendation in Years 2 and 3 will generally be based on a larger eligible percentage determined by operating growth as reflected in the organization's larger actual total income at the end of its last completed fiscal year.

Application Limits

Eligible basic GOS applicants may also submit a total of two Arts in Education grant requests in different categories. Major Arts Partner GOS applicants may submit only one MAP AIE request.

General Operating Support Application Cycle

Organizations will be panel reviewed for General Operating Support in the first year of a three-year rotation cycle. Years 2 and 3 will be staff reviewed. The FY20 requests for Year 2 and Year 3 applicants will be determined from a percentage of each organization's Total Income from FY18 factored by the ranking the organization received during its Year 1 panel review.

Applicants entering or returning to the GOS program through the Intent to Apply process are panel reviewed regardless of the discipline or budget category the organization fits into. These new organizations are panel reviewed again in the next Year 1 of their particular rotation cycle group, whenever it falls in the review schedule. Click here to access the Fiscal Year 2019 Major Arts Partners and General Operating Support rotation cycle.

General Operating Support Limitations

Arts Council funds may be spent only for non-programmatic, administrative expenses. These can include, but are not limited to, administrative staff salaries, general marketing and fundraising costs, facility rental, utilities, maintenance of the facility, staff travel, or other expenses associated with the general operation of the organization.

These funds may not be used for artistic or technical staff, or for contracted administrative or artistic costs.

General Operating Support Request Amounts

General Operating Support applicants may request a percentage of the adjusted operating Total Income of their last completed fiscal year. The amount of percentage is based on budget size:

$50,000 - $149,999 - 12 %
$150,000 - $499,999 - 10 %
$500,000 - $999,999 - 7 %
$1 million or more - 5% of the average of the last three completed years' total incomes (2015 - 2016, 2016 - 2017, and 2017 - 2018) not to exceed $75,000.

For example, if the calculated total income at the end of a GOS organization’s FY18 is $235,000, it would be eligible to request an FY20 GOS grant of 10 percent of that amount, or $23,500.

Matching Funds

GOS requests for administrative support must be matched 2 : 1 by the applicant’s expenditures on artistic programming. The cash must be from sources other than the Arkansas Arts Council, the Mid-America Arts Alliance, or the National Endowment for the Arts. Other portions of the proposal not involved in the specific Arts Council request and its match may be funded by government sources. Matching funds that are anticipated at the time of application must be received and obligated no later than June 30, 2020.

In-kind contributions may not be used as matching funds on applications or counted as matching funds on final reports. They may, however, be included in applications as evidence of the commitment of other resources to the applicant.