Below you’ll find our most frequently asked questions about the Regional Arts Commission’s annual grants. As always, we welcome your comments and any additional questions you might have about who we are and how we are working to make St. Louis a more equitable and vibrant place to live through the arts.
WHERE DOES THE REGIONAL ARTS COMMISSION (RAC) GET ITS FUNDING?
Through a legislative mandate established in 1985, RAC receives its funding from 4/15 of the hotel/motel room sales tax revenue from St. Louis City and County, in addition to special project grants from foundations and corporations.
HOW MANY GRANT PROGRAMS ARE OFFERED BY RAC?
RAC offers four grant programs:
General Operating Support grants provide unrestricted, renewable funding to support the day-to-day operations of nonprofit arts organizations that produce and present year-round programming.
Program Support grants provide aide for a one-time project or ongoing program that broadens and deepens participation in or access to the arts. If you are a new applicant to RAC grants, program support is the appropriate grant category.
Artist Support Grants provide direct funds for an individual artist’s projects, needs, or creative opportunities in all artistic disciplines.
RAC Artist Fellowships provide awards that recognize artistic excellence and honor the work of seasoned artists, advance the work of mid-career artists, and nurture the work of developing artists.
HOW MANY ORGANIZATIONS APPLIED FOR PROGRAM SUPPORT GRANTS IN THE CURRENT GRANT CYCLE?
RAC received a total of 149 eligible applications for Program Support grants this cycle.
HOW MANY ORGANIZATIONS RECEIVED FUNDING FOR PROGRAM SUPPORT IN THE CURRENT GRANT CYCLE?
This year, RAC funded 111 organizations through Program Support grants.
HOW MUCH DOES RAC GIVE OUT IN AWARDED GRANTS ANNUALLY?
The total amount varies each year based on the number of applicants and the quality of applications. On average, RAC awards about $4 million in grants annually. This includes both organization and individual artist grants.
HOW CAN I APPLY FOR A RAC GRANT?
Any organization or individual artist interested in applying for grant from the RAC must first determine eligibility. Eligibility requirements are outlined here. If you have any questions about your eligibility, please contact the Grants Department.
If applying for an organization grant, you must fill out a pre-application, which becomes available every November. All eligible applicants will then be invited to fill out a full application.
Applications for individual artist grant opportunities become available every January and July.
All applications are submitted through RAC’s online grant application website: grants.racstl.org.
WHO DECIDES WHO GETS FUNDED?
Funding is determined at the end of a multi-step process that involves several key participants working together over several months. All applications are reviewed and evaluated on the same criteria and subject to the same impartial review process.
RAC Staff reviews applications for eligibility.
Citizen Review Panelists and Discipline Readers review and rate applications and consider appeals.
RAC Grants Committee recommend the grantees for funding and the allocation of funds.
The RAC Board of Commissioners approve the grantees and final allocation of funds.
WHAT IS THE CITIZENS REVIEW PANEL?
Citizen Review Panelists play a central role in RAC’s annual grant-making process. Panelists review all grant applications individually prior to attending a public meeting where the same applications are discussed and rated with other panelists as a group. The panelist’s rating is one of several factors that determines the applicant’s funding. Each year, RAC invites dozens of local citizens representing a broad and diverse range of artistic and cultural viewpoints, professions, and backgrounds, to volunteer on panels. We’re always looking for individuals with experience and/or expertise in the arts to serve as panelists. If you’re interested in becoming a RAC Citizen Review Panelist and would like to nominate yourself or someone else, please click here.
WHAT ARE DISCIPLINE READERS?
Discipline Readers are knowledgeable individuals who are informed about their specific artistic disciplines through experience as either practitioners or support professionals and are able to commit the time and energy to fulfill the obligations of the review process. Click here to nominate yourself or another qualified candidate to be a Discipline Reader.
IS THE GRANT REVIEW PROCESS KEPT CONFIDENTIAL?
RAC works to make every aspect of its grant-making process as transparent as possible. We encourage anyone interested to sit in on a Citizen Review Panel meeting to observe how the process works. We also list the names of panelists and readers on our website. Although we publicly announce the names of awarded grantees on our website and in the media, we responsibly keep confidential the names of applicants who are not approved for funding.
CAN ORGANIZATIONS REAPPLY THE NEXT YEAR IF THEY DO NOT RECEIVE FUNDING THIS YEAR?
Yes, eligible organizations not approved for funding are encouraged to reapply in the future. Applicants should review the comments received from the Citizen Review Panel to learn ways to improve their applications. RAC staff provide technical assistance opportunities throughout the application period to help all organizations submit more competitive applications.
IF MISTAKES WERE MADE IN REVIEWING MY ORGANIZATION’S APPLICATION, CAN I APPEAL MY RATING?
Yes, after applicants receive their organization’s panel comments and rating, they have the right to appeal if they believe an error was made during the review process. Applicants must have solid grounds for an appeal for it to be considered. Dissatisfaction with a rating is not sufficient ground for an appeal. Solid grounds for an appeal are based on a misstatement of fact made during the panel meeting that is evidenced by written information found in the application. A successful appeal will result in a higher rating, but a higher rating does not guarantee funding.
HOW DO WE FIND OUT MORE ABOUT RAC’S GRANTS PROGRAMS?
Announcements about our annual grants are posted on the RAC website, on our Facebook page and on our Twitter account. If you are interested in learning more about our grants programs, click here or you may contact James Anderson, Director of Grants, at firstname.lastname@example.org.