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 for arts practitioners working across creative sectors.
2024 Grant Review Panel Process
Grant panelists will be independently reviewing and ranking applications within their assigned program categories. Intermittent virtual check-ins with Arts Program Specialists will be scheduled to address and resolve any panel process, application, or adjudication questions. Orientation and check-in meetings are a training and support space for panelists only.
After award recommendations have been approved or denied by Council, grant applicants can view their application’s panel notes by going onto the online grants portal (calartscouncil.smartsimple.com) and opening their grant application. A tab labeled “Panel Details” will appear on the far right. After clicking on this, applicants will be able to view their reviewed application’s panel notes.
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 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 and can serve as a professional development practice for their career and artistic goals. 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.
As an appreciation for our volunteer panelists, individuals who complete their panel service will receive a $300 honorarium to subsidize them for their attendance at two to three virtual meetings and rank submission activities. Panelists make a four- to six-week commitment to read and rank roughly 30-50 applications by the grant review deadline. An average of 30-60 minutes of time is needed to appropriately review and rank each panel application.
Panelist applications will be open for the 2024 period from January 12 through March 8, 2024.
If you submitted an application before the March 8 deadline, please review the timeline below for more information.
- Panelist applications submitted may be considered for 2024 grant review panels. Panelists selected to serve during the 2024 grant season will be contacted by CAC staff between April and July.
- Panel service will run approximately between July and August. Dates are subject to change.
Please review the Panelist Criteria and Grant Review Process sections below.
Panelists are chosen based on the following criteria:
- Be a California resident
- Be 18 years of age or older
- Have the ability to independently assess the strengths and weaknesses of up to 50 applications based on a grant program’s published review criteria
- Have the capacity to take part in 2 to 3 mandatory virtual group meetings and complete online submission of reviewer ranks by the designated panel due date. More information on meeting and rank dates will be shared with selected 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.
- Before panelists gain access to the grant applications, they will attend an online orientation meeting. The orientation meeting will cover a panel overview and logistics, including an introduction of the applications to be reviewed, steps to evaluate and rank applications, instructions on using the electronic grants management system, and required payment documents.
- Panelists commit to reading and submitting a preliminary score (Initial Rank) for all applications in the grants management system prior to attending the panel midpoint check-in meeting.
- Access to the grants management system website, www.calartscouncil.smartsimple.com, is provided after the orientation meeting to address any questions that may arise as panelists become familiar with the system.
- Mandatory grant panel orientations and check-in meetings take place online using a selected video conferencing platform. Panelists are asked to notify the Programs team in advance if they anticipate connectivity issues.
- Computer access and a reliable internet connection are required for panelists to successfully review and rank applications.
- Panelists are asked to commit to allocating enough time to thoroughly review and rank all assigned applications. An average of 30-60 minutes of time is needed to appropriately review and rank each application.
- Panelists are required to submit a Payee Data Record (STD204) and a Panelist Payment Invoice document to process honorarium payment in a timely manner.
- Panelist final ranks are presented to the Council to vote on final funding allocations.
New Panel Applicants
Once panel applicants are approved by Council, those applicants will be eligible to serve on CAC panels for one year. Applicants will need to reapply on a yearly basis to ensure the CAC has accurate information for eligible panelists as needed.
Returning Panel Applicants
The CAC has modified our panel application eligibility to better reflect the needs of panelists and staff. If you are interested in continuing to serve as a panelist, we recommend submitting a new application every year. However, we will honor the current panel pool list eligibility. If you are unsure if you are on a current panel pool, please reapply.
Questions? For General panel questions, please review the “Application Review & Rewards” section of our Grant FAQs webpage. If your question does not appear on the Grant FAQs page, please reach out to the Panel Contact at the email address listed below.
The California Arts Council is continuously striving to improve our review panel experience for all accessibility levels. If you are selected to participate on a panel, please inform the program specialist of your requested accommodations before your orientation.
Panel Contact: email@example.com