Process and Policies

The following information applies to grant applications for the General Operating Support program, Arts in Education, Major Arts Partners and the Collaborative Project Support program.

Click HERE to download a copy of the Standard Definitions for Grant Guidelines.

FUNDING RESTRICTIONS

Under these guidelines, funding for organizations is not available for:

  • Deficits or start-up costs for new organizations
  • Contingency funds
  • Contributions and donations to other organizations or individuals
  • Building renovations or capital expenditures for facilities
  • Entertainment expenses, including buses for field trips, tickets to performances, or refreshments
  • Tuition for academic study or any form of scholarship or student financial aid
  • Faculty salaries, and additionally, staff salaries in Arts in Education grants
  • Lobbying expenses
  • Interest and other financial costs

FUNDING PROCESS

Prior to the beginning of the grant cycle each state fiscal year (July 1 through June 30), the Arkansas Arts Council approves grant categories, policies, and review procedures. The Arkansas Arts Council uses a review process at the time of application to determine grant recommendations. All grant recommendations are presented to the Council for review and are voted on to determine final grant amounts. Grant award payment schedules are set up relative to the activity periods outlined in the approved grant applications.

REVIEW PANEL SELECTION

Review panels are composed of Arkansas Arts Council members and field representatives. Arts Council panelists are chosen from members who have expressed an interest in reviewing a particular grant category. Arts Council members serve on panels as ex-officio advisors to facilitate the review process and to provide insight and historical perspective.

Field representatives are chosen from a pool of nominations consisting of former panelists, academicians, arts administrators, and discipline specialists. Staff members select panelists from the pool based on consideration of geographic proximity, artistic qualifications, racial/gender diversity, and availability. The executive director of the Arkansas Arts Council approves final panel selections. Each panelist completes a conflict of interest statement prior to the application review and does not participate in any application review where a potential conflict may exist.

APPLICATION PROCESSING

Applicants must submit a complete application package as outlined in the FY20 online guidelines no later than the stated application deadline for a particular grant program.

Once an organization submits its online application package, the Arkansas Arts Council staff checks the submission for technical completeness. Any question of application eligibility is resolved at that time.

Questions on costs submitted for ineligible projected budget line items, or for a projected budget surplus or deficit, will be resolved before the application goes on to panel review.

Each panelist is assigned of every eligible application in a specific grant category for an online preliminary analysis prior to the scheduled public review. A signed online copy of each submitted evaluation is available in the Arkansas Arts Council office for review.

APPLICATION REVIEW

Arts Council grant application reviews are conducted as conference call webinars. Grant applicants are invited to listen in while outside panelists are selected Arts Council members comment on each submitted applications. Procedural rules are stated prior to the beginning of the panel discussions to ensure that all panelists and applicants understand the review format. The panel chair, facilitated by staff coordinator, is responsible for maintaining the announced review schedule and enforcing procedural rules.

The discussion for each application is limited to the amount of time agreed upon in advance of the reviews. A timekeeper will monitor the time.            

The panel chair introduces each application to the panel. The staff facilitator presents comments on technical aspects of the application based on the information submitted.

The panel then discusses and evaluates the information in each application narrative relative to established criteria. Official representatives of an applicant organization will only be given the chance to answer specific questions addressed to them by the panel during its discussion of the application narrative. The relevance of information presented will be monitored by the panel chair.

REVIEW PARTICIPATION

Representatives of the applicant organizations are encouraged, but not required, to listen the panel review to answer questions that panelists may have, and to utilize the review comments as a management tool.

PANEL RECOMMENDATIONS

Each panel discussion is recorded through the webinar format used, and the panelists' preliminary written comments are available as a PDF if requested after the review. 

Each panelist uses a review sheet listing the criteria established by the Council to record a numerical score and provide written comments. The completed panelist review sheets are signed, dated, and submitted to the Council staff for processing.

After the individual discussions are completed, the staff calculates two lists of application rankings based on an average of the field panelists’ scores and an average of the Council member panelists’ scores. The panel then compares the two averages, with further discussion held on any application with significant score discrepancies.

The average of the field panelists’ scores is given precedence in determining the panel’s recommendation to the Arkansas Arts Council. If panel agreement on a final score cannot be reached, the matter will be forwarded to the full Arts Council for discussion.

All panel scores are reported to the Arkansas Arts Council. Review sheets are kept on file in the Arts Council office.

FUNDING DECISIONS

The final amount of funding awarded for each grant application is determined at the annual funding meeting of the Arkansas Arts Council.

Each year the Council approves funding priorities for each grant category based on available funds. Arts in Education, Major Arts Partners AIE projects, and Collaborative Project Support proposals are reviewed first based on panel recommendations. General Operating Support and MAP GOS Years 2 and 3 are reviewed for funding before GOS and MAP GOS Year 1 panel reviewed applications are considered. 

The applicant’s request amount adjusted for ineligible items and the panel’s numerical score provides the basic grant amount eligible for each applicant. The Arkansas Arts Council staff factors the basic eligible amount by available funds to determine the final grant amount recommended to the full Council.

The recommended amount is presented to the Arkansas Arts Council along with a prepared summary on each application review. A copy of this summary will be sent to each grant applicant after the annual funding meeting as part of the official announcement of the grant award.

REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION

Once the Arkansas Arts Council determines the awards at the annual funding meeting, an applicant may request reconsideration of a decision. A request for reconsideration may be made if the applicant can demonstrate any of the following:

  • The review of its application narrative and budget statistics was based on criteria other than those appearing in the Arts Council's guidelines
  • The final decision was unduly influenced by a panelist with undisclosed conflicts of interest
  • Required information submitted by the applicant was withheld from the review panel or the Arkansas Arts Council

Dissatisfaction with either the denial of an application or the amount of an award is not sufficient reason to request Arkansas Arts Council reconsideration.

RECONSIDERATION PROCESS

To request reconsideration, an organization should consult with the appropriate program manager to review the factors that contributed to the Arkansas Arts Council’s decision.

If an applicant believes there are grounds for reconsideration, its representative must write a formal letter to the Arkansas Arts Council executive director requesting reconsideration within ten (10) working days of funding notification. The letter should contain evidence to support one or more of the listed grounds for reconsideration.

The request will be reviewed by members of the Arkansas Arts Council staff and by the executive committee of the Arkansas Arts Council. The executive committee may deny the request, or it may recommend a review by the full Arts Council at its next scheduled meeting.

The applicant will be notified in writing of any decision made by the executive committee and by the Arkansas Arts Council within 30 days of the decision.