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The Evanston Arts Council has announced the annual Cultural Fund Grant awards for cycle 2021-2022.
With input from their Equity Working Group, last year the Arts Council revised and simplified the application process and criteria for evaluation for the Cultural Fund Grant program to reflect both the impact of the pandemic and a heightened focus on racial equity. The same guidelines were followed for the 2021-2022 awards.
To make the grant program more inclusive, grassroots community arts groups were invited to apply, as well as 501c3 organizations. The application was made more approachable, with three narrative questions rather than seven. It was specified that applications from Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) organizations, and projects or programs that serve underserved demographics and communities would be favored, and the judging panel was predominantly BIPOC.
Invitations to apply were widely offered throughout the community, and individual coaching was offered by peers to applicants who might have less grant-writing experience.
These changes led to a significantly different allocation of the Cultural Fund Grant compared to 2019 before the guidelines were changed. This year:
- 50% of applicants had never applied for this grant before.
- The same total budget of $30,000 was distributed among 22 grantees, compared to 12 in 2019.
- 36% of the grantees awarded this year had never applied for this grant before the guidelines were changed.
- 86% of the grants went to BIPOC organizations or projects primarily serving BIPOC or underserved populations – that is 19 out of 22 grants, compared to three out of 12 in 2019.
The 2021 awardees of the Evanston Art Council’s Cultural Fund Grant are: