Vermont Arts Council

Maple, Mud, and Grantmaking: Spring is a Great Time to Consider Getting Involved at the Arts Council!

Two thought bubbles with the words, “The process was well explained, and I enjoyed reading the applications and learning more about what people are doing across the state.” and “What I liked best was reading the applications and seeing the breadth of people’s ideas and creativity in my local arts scene.”Spring in Vermont means maple, mud, and meeting grant deadlines! The deadlines for many of our annual grant programs are fast approaching, which means soon we will turn our attention to reviewing proposals and notifying recipients. We can’t do this work without you! Submissions to our grant programs–from artists to arts and community organizations, from schools to teaching artists–are reviewed by external panelists comprised of knowledgeable and experienced peers just like you.

We are actively recruiting panelists to serve as reviewers for these programs. And if you are willing and able to serve as a panelist, you might find several benefits.

First and importantly, we recognize that your time is valuable: All panelists receive an honorarium for their participation.

Reviewers receive an orientation about the grant program before beginning. They have several weeks to review the applications and provide scoring and comments using our online grant portal. These comments are incredibly helpful when Council staff provides constructive feedback to applicants at the end of the process. In some cases, this is the end of a reviewer’s obligation. In other cases, we convene a panel to discuss proposals and make funding recommendations. Panel reviews are facilitated by Vermont Arts Council staff. They take place online from the comfort of your cozy home office, studio, or wherever you like to zoom in.

Two thought bubbles with the words, "I loved reviewing the projects and looking over the previous work of each applicant and gaining insight into their working process.” and “This is so fun, educational, and inspirational – thank you so much for including me as a panelist.”

We seek a wide variety of reviewers with diverse perspectives. For example, experience as a working artist in any discipline or as an arts educator, can be very helpful, as is a background in community development, nonprofit management, and even construction and building systems (the latter for our Cultural Facilities grants). Panelists are chosen based on their specific skill sets and experience and then matched to the particular program. Capacity to thoroughly review applications and provide constructive feedback, and open mindedness are key characteristics for a good reviewer.

Anyone is eligible to be a panelist, unless of course you’ve applied to the program currently under review.

So in addition to making a valuable contribution of time in service to the Vermont arts community, why serve as a panelist?

Learn about the review process and strengthen your own grant writing skills!

Professionally, reviewing grant proposals can provide valuable insights into the review process as well as the work of Vermont’s vibrant artistic and cultural sector, from community projects and education proposals to projects from arts organizations and individual artists. “Reviewers learn about common problems with proposals – and gain insight into what makes a strong one,” explained Artists Services Manager Dominique Gustin.

Discover new Vermont artists!

Participating in a review can also provide an opportunity to discover new artists and creative work across a wide spectrum of artistic disciplines.

Build your network!

Review panels are not only fun, but collegial. Professional artists, educators, arts administrators, community leaders, and others with specialized knowledge lend their time, expertise, and thoughtful consideration to these important programs. Panelists come not just from Vermont but all over the US and the world. In the intimate work of a review panel, you’ll have a chance to share common challenges and make new connections.

So how do you get involved?

Complete this brief form to nominate yourself (or someone else). Perhaps you know someone who has specific expertise who would make a great panelist — nominate them to serve!

All submissions will be considered, and the nominee will be contacted if an appropriate opportunity arises. In addition to grant panelists, we’re also always interested in people who would like to serve as accessibility and/or diversity/equity advisors. You can indicate your preference on the form.

Thank you for considering serving the Vermont Arts Council!