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Grant Review Process


All applications submitted to the Delaware Division of the Arts undergo a rigorous grant review process. The process may vary, depending on the applicant type, budget size or program. More specific information on the review processes can be found below.

Panel Review:

  • All grant applications submitted to the Division are first reviewed by Division staff for completeness and eligibility.
  • With some exceptions as noted below, eligible applications are then reviewed by grant review panels made up of artists, arts educators, arts and nonprofit organization administrators, corporate and fundraising managers, knowledgeable arts specialists, and interested community members.
  • Panelists and staff evaluate applications according to criteria developed by Division staff and published with the grant guidelines for each program
  • Panel and staff comments are recorded, incorporated into the funding recommendation process, and made available to applicants upon notification of the funding decision.
  • Panel meetings are public, posted and held in accordance with State of Delaware public meeting requirements, and chaired by a member of the State Arts Council or Division of the Arts staff.
  • The function of the grant review panel is advisory only. Panels evaluate the merits of the applications, based upon published criteria. They do not make funding decisions.

Exceptions:

  • Some applications such as small requests for General Operating Support, Project Support, Education Resource, Arts Access, Artist Opportunity, Special Project, and TranspARTation Grants are evaluated internally by Division staff and/or Council members in lieu of a panel.
  • For grant categories that utilize a multi-year application process, such as General Operating Support, an Interim Application is required in the “off-years” of the application cycle in order to be approved for funding in the subsequent fiscal years. Interim Applications are reviewed internally by Division staff and/or Council members.

Funding Decisions:

  • Division staff members develop funding recommendations based on the panel/staff comments and rankings for
    • Interim Applications
    • All applications reviewed by a panel
    • Staff/Council-reviewed small budget proposals for General Operating Support, Project Support and Education Resource programs
  • The Delaware State Arts Council conducts a public review of these funding options, as well as the available funds, and makes funding recommendations to the Division Director, who is responsible for all final funding decisions.
  • The Division announces grant awards after the approval of the State’s fiscal year budget.
  • Proposals for Arts Access, Artist Opportunity, Artist Residency, and TranspARTation programs are reviewed by staff, and in some cases by Council members, and approved by the Division Director.

Panelist Selection:

  • People who work or live in Delaware are eligible to serve on panels. Additional out-of-state panelists may be used to incorporate regional or national perspective, to provide additional expertise and diversity, or to mitigate the potential for conflicts of interest.
  • Division staff members strive to construct panels that reflect Delaware’s demographic and geographic diversity.
  • Panels are composed of artists, arts educators, arts and nonprofit organization administrators, corporate and fundraising managers, knowledgeable arts specialists, and interested community members.
  • Panelists are chosen for their professional experience, expertise in an artistic discipline, knowledge of the community, and ability to objectively review grant materials.
  • Panelists are screened for conflicts of interest, and where they exist, panelists are recused from discussion of the grant application or assigned to an alternate panel where a conflict does not exist.

To be considered for service on a grant review panel, you may nominate yourself or someone else. Download the:

Grounds for Appeal:

Applicants may appeal funding decisions only on the basis of procedural error or impropriety. Dissatisfaction with the amount of an award, or a decision not to fund a project, is not sufficient reason for appeal. To be considered, appeals must provide evidence that:

  1. The application was reviewed on the basis of criteria other than those appearing in the published guidelines for that grant category, or
  2. Panelists or Council members were influenced willfully or unwillfully by members who failed to disclose conflicts of interest, or
  3. Erroneous information was provided by staff, panelists, or Council members at the time of the application’s review.

Steps in the Appeal Process:

  1. Prior to submitting an appeal, applicants should first consult with the staff member assigned to the application to review the panel comments and considerations.
  2. If the applicant wishes to pursue an appeal, the appeal must be sent in writing to the Division Director within 30 days of the date notifying the applicant of the funding decision. The letter should contain evidence to support one or more of the grounds for appeal.
  3. The Director will notify the Chair of the State Arts Council of the appeal.
  4. The Director and Chair will review the appeal and, at their discretion, will make a ruling or submit the appeal to the full Council for review and recommendation.
  5. The Director will notify the applicant in writing of the ruling on the appeal.
  6. If the applicant is not satisfied with the ruling, a public hearing with the Council may be arranged.
  7. The Division will arrange for a public hearing to be held, according to State of Delaware guidelines.
  8. At the conclusion of the public hearing, the Council will reconsider the appeal and make a final ruling. A simple majority vote is needed in the case of an appeal.

Individual Artist Fellowships:

Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF) researches and provides a list of potential jurors for each artistic discipline to Delaware Division of the Arts staff. Potential jurors are out-of-state arts professionals who have significant professional achievements and recognition within their respective fields.

Staff from the Delaware Division of the Arts selects the jurors – usually one juror per artistic discipline. In the Music and Jazz disciplines, the same juror may be used to review composition and solo recital or performance. An application may be moved to a different artistic discipline due to juror recommendations or at the discretion of Division staff.

MAAF administers the review process with the jurors. The jurors receive the artist statements and work samples and are instructed to evaluate the work samples based on artistic quality. Resumes are for Division use only and are not viewed by the jurors. Additionally, the jurors are asked to respond in writing to this question: “What recommendations (or comments) do you have for the artist regarding his/her work?” This response and a list of jurors with their bios is available each year upon request from the Division of the Arts. Applicants are prohibited from communicating with jurors.

The results of the jurors’ reviews are analyzed by Division staff and the highest ranked artists are presented to the Delaware State Arts Council for approval. Masters Fellowship applicants are also reviewed by the Arts Council on additional qualifications as determined from their CV and narrative.

There is no quota per discipline for awarding Fellowships. Funding decisions may be appealed only on the basis of procedural error or impropriety. The Appeals Process is available on the Division’s website.

All applicants will be notified in writing after the December Delaware State Arts Council meeting.

Artist Opportunity Grants:

Division of the Arts staff members, in conjunction with the Division Director, review artists’ applications for Opportunity Grants. The Division Director then makes final decisions on funding.

Applications are evaluated on the following criteria as applicable to the category selected:

  • Anticipated impact on the artist’s work or career
  • Proposal’s financial feasibility and need as demonstrated in the submitted budget
  • Plans for marketing the project to attract an audience or participants
  • Immediacy and uniqueness of the opportunity

Grounds for Appeal:

Applicants may appeal funding decisions only on the basis of procedural error or impropriety. Dissatisfaction with the amount of an award, or a decision not to fund a project, is not sufficient reason for appeal. To be considered, appeals must provide evidence that:

  1. The application was reviewed on the basis of criteria other than those appearing in the published guidelines for that grant category, or
  2. Jurors or Council members were influenced willfully or unwillfully by members who failed to disclose conflicts of interest, or
  3. Erroneous information was provided by staff, jurors, or Council members at the time of the application’s review.

Steps in the Appeal Process:

  1. Prior to submitting an appeal, applicants should first consult with the staff member assigned to the application to review the juror’s comments and considerations.
  2. If the applicant wishes to pursue an appeal, the appeal must be sent in writing to the Division Director within 30 days of the date notifying the applicant of the funding decision. The letter should contain evidence to support one or more of the grounds for appeal.
  3. The Director will notify the Chair of the State Arts Council of the appeal.
  4. The Director and Chair will review the appeal and, at their discretion, will make a ruling or submit the appeal to the full Council for review and recommendation.
  5. The Director will notify the applicant in writing of the ruling on the appeal.
  6. If the applicant is not satisfied with the ruling, a public hearing with the Council may be arranged.
  7. The Division will arrange for a public hearing to be held, according to State of Delaware guidelines.
  8. At the conclusion of the public hearing, the Council will reconsider the appeal and make a final ruling. A simple majority vote is needed in the case of an appeal.

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