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#6 Who We Are Wednesdays

Jul. 09, 2019 | Arts Council Napa Valley

Who We Are Wednesdays: What does an Arts Council do anyway?

Does the Arts Council just have a big pot of money that they dole out to their favorite artists? The answer to that is: No. Here’s why. When most people hear the word “grant,” they hear “free money.” However, there is a lot more to the granting process than what meets the eye. While you have to pay back the money you’re rewarded, you do have to deliver the results that you promised in your grant application.

If the Arts Council isn't the judging body that decides who gets the money, then who does? Let’s talk about it.

How Does Granting Work?

How do I know I’m right for a grant?

When somebody creates a grant, it’s because they have something specific they want to see in the world. When you look at grants, you are looking for grants that are capable of changing the world in a way you can provide. Sometimes, this requires some outside help, and that’s where grants come in. When you apply for a grant with the same vision as you, your application is your way of showing that your idea aligns with their end goal.

That pot of money that is meant to be used for a specific purpose.

Grants are meant to fulfil specific needs in the community, and the grant is a call for artists to put their ideas to work for the community. What makes the granting process so great is that it provides the foundation for your idea to grow from.

What do I have to do to get this money?

Can you come up with an idea for a project that can make a difference in the community? Do you have enough experience to know the costs of your project? Can you tell me why you’re the right person for the job? Just write all that down. All a grant application is, at its core, is a way for you to document your idea and show other people that you’re capable of making it a reality.

Why would you give me a grant?

A grant is a problem to solve and nobody has your unique skill set and creativity. Artistic merit is the combination of those two things standing out in a crowd. If you can set yourself apart, you deserve the money to make it happen.

Who decides who gets the money?

This panel usually consists of experts in their fields. Staff and the Board of Directors has no say in decision-making process. Your work speaks for itself.

Why do you need to report back to us after your project is completed?

Say you’ve completed the project and fulfilled the promises you made in your contract. While we might know you’ve done what you set out to do, our investors need to know it too. People like to know their money is making an impact, so we need to be able to report back to our funders if we want the arts to be supported in the future.

Here’s how it works at ACNV.

We give out grants twice a year. Our pot of money is used to increase public access to the arts. Do you have an idea on how to do that? Attend one of our workshops or apply during our open application window. The awardees are chosen by a panel of three people: a creative and arts administrator both from outside of Napa County and a community-oriented, non-arts, leader from within Napa County. Once the applications are reviewed and voted on, the Board approves the grantee selections [which they almost always do], then ACNV takes care of the rest.

We are looking forward to seeing what ideas you have to bring the arts to the people of Napa County!

ACNV is here to help. Think you have an idea, but not sure how to get it in writing? Do you need a community partner to help make it happen? Set up an appointment with ACNV and we can guide you toward making your idea a reality.

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Arts Council Napa Valley 501(c)3 is funded in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

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