A Summary of Recommendations for Serving the Arts in this Economic Climate

A Summary of the Recommendations for Serving the Arts in this Economic Environment

1.  Administer statewide Arts Operating Support (AOS II) grants centrally with existing IAC staff. (For more detail on this program component, click here)

2.  Utilize online granting for all grants, with regional re-grant agents continuing to provide Arts Operating Support (AOS I) and reduced number of project grants. Agents will administer new grant category: Arts Operating Support (AOS 0) developed to provide grants for the smallest arts organizations. (For more detail on this program component, click here)

3.  Centralize the majority of statewide technical services with more consistent, higher quality service delivered in conjunction with the statewide arts service organization Indiana Coalition for the Arts (INCA), and regional re-granting agent contractors. Cultural planning and information referral would also be delivered through this more centralized system coordinated and programmed by existing, central staff. (For more detail on this program component,
click here)

4.  Change the name of the Regional Arts Partnership to Regional Grants Administration system, and open the system for other organizations to apply to be regional re-granting agents. (For more detail on this program component, click here)

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will there be any administrative money for those organizations selected to be re-granting agents?

  • Yes, the scenario includes a 12% administrative fee for the value of all money re-granted by the agent.

2. Why are Community Arts Program (CAP) grants decreasing? Weren’t they commensurate to other similar sized organization grants before?

  • Our current Partner organizations are AOS I or AOS II size organizations and their average CAP grant is $29,000, whereas the average AOS grant to other organizations in the state is currently $6,100. The restructuring of this grant amount actually makes program money availability more equitable for all organizations and recognizes public value that all grantees provide in their communities.

3. Will current arts organizations (AOS II) still apply for funds from their current partner? What about AOS I and Projects?

  • AOS II applicants will apply directly to the IAC and be paneled in statewide pools. Using the same centralized online system, AOS I and Project applicants will still apply to and be paneled by a regional re-granting agent so the same local wisdom and decision-making can continue as it has to add value to the IAC’s public process and the reach into rural counties can continue as it has.

4. Could a current Partner still be chosen as a regional re-granting agent?

  • Absolutely! Even though this proposal opens up the possibility for other organizations to apply for and fulfill a regional agent role, the IAC expects that many of its current Partner organizations would successfully compete to be regional re-granting agents.

5. Why does the Arts Commission need to make a decision so quickly?

  • IAC grant and program changes have been discussed since the IAC’s state appropriation started declining in FY2008. However, the urgency for a decision has increased over the past month because state revenue shortfalls have continued and will likely affect the IAC’s FY2011 appropriation.

6. How does this plan correlate with suggestions from the arts community? How was the process transparent?

  • Even though policy decisions are at the discretion of the Commission, this plan was developed over the course of more than a year and entirely in the realm of public meetings devoted to this subject. The discussions have spanned quarterly Commission meetings, a Regional Arts Partner retreat, expanded planning meetings, and expanded committee meetings.  Also taken into consideration were the results from a survey conducted by the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs which examined the needs of arts organizations and providers statewide. This plan incorporates priorities and strategies suggested by Commissioners, staff, current partners, current grantees, artists, and other organizational partners. It also references grant and service delivery practices of similar state arts commissions nationwide. There are currently only 16 of 54 state and territorial arts commissions with some form of regional strategy. The changes proposed in this plan will keep Indiana’s system as one of the most decentralized throughout the country. The Commission hosted a public meeting March 24th at the Indiana Government Center South Auditorium to collect additional public input. Citizens who were unable to attend the meeting in person can submit comments on our blog by clicking here.

7. If the IAC’s revenue stays the same for next year, how much grant money will this put out in the field? What will the grant average be in each category?

  • In additional to standardizing the grant application process, criteria, and categories, regardless of the re-granting agent, this plan utilizes three financial strategies to put more money out in the field in an equitable fashion.
  1. A total of $162,000 of administrative and decentralized service money is reallocated into statewide grant categories.
  2. Approximately $160,000 is reallocated from the inequity in the current CAP grant levels. 
  3. 33%, or $131,000 of the current project grant category is reallocated to a new AOS 0 category for the smallest of the state’s arts organizations. The remaining portion of the current project grant category, $266,000, is proportionately reallocated, one-half among the AOS I, and AOS II grant categories, and one-half to the project grant category. Project grants will still be available to non-arts organizations. 
  • Using the aforementioned strategies, average AOS I and II grants would actually increase from $6,100 to $9,200, or a 50% increase. The project grant average would remain at $1,900, based on 70 fewer funded projects.

8. How does the IAC’s current budget compare to its budget throughout the Partnership years?

  • The IAC’s budget is at an historic and critically low point. When adjusted for inflation, our current appropriated federal and state budget, including mandatory, nonexpendable state reserves, is $3,689,232. This is 26% less than the lowest recorded IAC budget of the past two decades (1994), and 35% less than the 1999 budget, the first fully implemented year of the Partnership when the IAC actually received additional funds deemed necessary to make the Partnership program work. Currently, the IAC does not have sufficient money to fund all the aspects of the original program which included cultural planning, information referral, technical assistance, and full, regional-based re-granting.  For an overview of the IAC budget throughout the history of the Regional Arts Partnership, click here.

9. How will the IAC reach rural communities?

  • The regional re-granting agents will still receive funds to provide grants to smaller arts organizations and projects. Therefore, these grants will still be available to rural area applicants. The decreased funding has forced the IAC to refocus its funding efforts on Indiana arts organizations to preserve the strength and presence of the arts in Indiana. Consequently, fewer grants will be available in the project category which could adversely affect rural counties, but the added operations grant category (AOS 0) for the smallest of arts organizations is expected to provide opportunities for those organizations that would normally fall in the “project” category. In addition, the IAC will implement review criteria for all applicants which reward organizations for serving underserved / rural areas.

10.  Does the IAC plan to do all technical assistance and workshops centrally? Could a grantee apply to help administer portions throughout the state?

  • The majority of technical assistance monies will be used centrally for the common statewide needs of artists and arts organizations. Some money will be available for specific and targeted services proposed by regional re-granting agents and other organizations. All services will be coordinated by IAC staff, but facilitated by qualified contractors as necessary. The current, limited budget necessitates that most local technical assistance be funded by local providers rather than the IAC.

11. Why should “partner” be removed from the granting category name?

  • First and foremost, all organizations which receive public dollars for the IAC are considered partners. Our entire granting system invests public dollars in private, not-for-profit corporations, in order to partner our state government with not-for-profits to deliver services of public value to all citizens.  Removing the word “partner” accurately assigns all grant recipients to the same level since all grantees provide public value to Indiana citizens. Also, our current situation necessitates that we reduce some services that constituents have come to expect. As long as the title of the program remains the same, constituents will continue to have the same expectations that can no longer be met and current funding levels. The name change will signal a change in services, and with it, a new set of expectations. Finally, some current partners may not compete successfully to be a regional re-granting agency, so the removal of the word “partner” from the current partnering organization and transferring that “status” to another organization in their region or community could potentially damage an organization’s community reputation. This name change fairly protects and respects all organizations which may or may not have regional re-granting agency status in the future.

12. Will the regions always include the same counties?

  • No. Depending on which applications for the regional re-granting agent program are successful, the geography of the regions and number of regions may change.

13. Will these changes increase the IAC’s staff?

  • No. The IAC’s objective is to decrease administrative expenses and provide more grant money to arts organizations. In the midst of its declining state appropriations and reducing its staff by two full-time positions, the IAC still managed last year to return most of its revenue to the Indiana arts through grants and programs. This was accomplished because the IAC realigned job responsibilities and reduced administrative expenses. In anticipation of further changes and its continued commitment to the field, the IAC is currently cross-training several staff members to manage grants and services that may be centralized. If further budget reductions are sought, it is likely that the IAC staff will decrease, along with its services and granting activity.