Panelists play a critical role in the grant application process as field representatives.
The panel experience provides great insight into the grant-making process, offering professional development and networking opportunities for arts practitioners working across creative sectors.
Open Call for Grant Review Panelists
The California Arts Council seeks arts and cultural practitioners from disparate communities statewide to volunteer for our upcoming grant review panels. Panelists play a critical role in the grant application process as field representatives. They work both independently and virtually alongside staff Programs Specialists and other panelists to evaluate grant applications, ensuring an equitable, honest, and thorough review and ranking process.
The panel experience provides great insight into the grant-making process, offering professional development and networking opportunities for arts practitioners working across creative sectors. Community members with careers in social justice, focusing on youth and adult programs that provide links between social service and the court systems, are also welcome to apply. In addition to experienced arts practitioners, this is a great opportunity for new and emerging members of the arts & culture community.
Invited panelists receive a $100 per day honorarium to subsidize them for their 3-day panel participation. Panelists make a three- to four-week commitment to read through roughly 33-55 applications per panel prior to the grant review panel meeting.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Collection dates for this year’s panels are November 16, 2020 & January 7, 2021. Applications submitted after January 7, 2021 will be considered for the 2022 grant season.
Please review the Panelist Criteria and Grant Review Process sections below.
Panelists are chosen based on the following criteria:
- A California resident
- Ability to assess and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of up to 60 applications based on a grant program’s published review criteria
- Capacity to take part in two to three virtual group meetings with up to five panelists
Diversity of panel pools include:
- Intersectional backgrounds – gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic status, and disability, reflecting California’s overall demographics
- Geographic distribution representing the various regions of California, including both urban and rural areas
- Experience in a wide range of artistic, cultural, and social fields, including, but not limited to:
- Artists and cultural practitioners of all disciplines
- Arts learning for youth
- Cultural placekeeping/creative placemaking
- Cultural development
- Youth advocacy
- Arts programming of, for, and by people with disabilities
- Social service, justice, community building
- Adult, juvenile detention/court
- Nonprofit management
- Arts programming for veteran populations
- Eligible applicants are included in a panelist pool list to be approved by the Council governing body during a public meeting prior to the grants panel season.
- Prospective panelists are selected based on the needs of the particular grant panel and contacted by Programs staff to discuss panel participation and commitment. Expectations will be established with program staff and through a panelist agreement.
- Panelists commit to reading and submitting a preliminary score for all applications in the grants management system prior to attending the online panel meeting.
- Prior to the grant review panel convening, panelists will attend online trainings to discuss the panel overview and logistics, including an introduction of the applications to be reviewed, steps to evaluate and rank applications, and instructions on using the electronic grants management system.
- Access to the grants management system website, www.calartscouncil.smartsimple.com, is provided before the orientation meeting to address any questions that may arise as panelists become familiar with the system.
- Grant panel meetings take place online using a selected video conferencing platform. Panelists are asked to commit to working from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for up to three days until all applications are adjudicated. Computer access and a reliable internet connection are required for panelists to participate. Panelists are asked to notify the Programs team in advance if they anticipate connectivity issues.
- Eligible ranking levels and award requests based on percentages determined during the grant panel process are brought before the Council governing body to vote and approve grant award amounts.
Returning Panel Applicants
Panelists are included in the eligible panel pool for up to three consecutive years. If a prospective panelist’s name no longer appears on an active list, they are invited to apply again. The active panel pool lists can be viewed below:
Panel Pool 1 (approved January 25, 2018)
Panel Pool 2 (approved December 6, 2018)
Panel Pool 3 (approved December 5, 2019)
Panel Pool 4 (approved December 2, 2020)
The California Arts Council is committed to making the grant review panel experience equitable for all participants. If you are selected to participate on a panel, please inform the program specialist of your requested accommodations during your orientation.
Panel Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org