Indiana Arts Commission
Funding Plan
Around the country state arts agencies face multiple challenges stimulated by decreasing contributions from both federal and state sources. WolfBrown worked closely with one of them, the Indiana Arts Commission, to develop strategies capable of meeting such challenges.

WolfBrown consultants developed and then conducted a year-long planning process for the Commission that began with a variety of research and consulting elements. The consultants convened ten focus groups of arts constituents around the state to hear their concerns and formulate an understanding of areas that needed to be addressed in the plan. In addition, they generated and analyzed the results of a mail survey that was distributed to hundreds of individuals, throughout Indiana, who have an interest in the arts and the Arts Commission's role in supporting them. They used the information and insight they had gathered in drafting an agenda for a board/staff retreat that WolfBrown subsequently facilitated, a retreat that led to the drafting of an initial planning framework.

The consultants went on to develop the plan by consulting with the Commission's staff and its planning committee, an on-going process culminating in a document that fundamentally changed the Arts Commission's approach to supporting arts in the state. The final document, written by the consultants, and approved by the Commission, focused on the development of regional partners throughout the state. These partners work directly with artists and arts organizations by making grants, providing technical assistance, and offering other types of service programs. The Arts Commission itself continues its direct funding of arts organizations through highly targeted programs and develops new initiatives that emphasize partnerships and collaborations, information and technical assistance, and communications and training. Finally, the document looked at long-term resource development for the arts in Indiana through a public/private endowment.

The consultants continued work with the Arts Commission on implementing the plan, ensuring that the investment in planning would pay off in terms of real and constructive change. The consultants helped staff devise an implementation strategy and structure; facilitated numerous meetings with potential regional partners; researched regranting programs and public/private endowments nationwide; reviewed and urged changes in program guidelines; surveyed regional partners to determine their needs and concerns; provided background information to guide development of a new "capacity-building" program for arts organizations in the state; and offered technical assistance sessions to regional partner organizations to help them conduct self assessments and community cultural assessments.

The Condition of Indiana Artists
Throughout its history, the Indiana Arts Commission has sought to develop and support Indiana artists with grants and services. To that end, the Commission engaged WolfBrown to assess the condition of Indiana artists and to present to the Indiana Arts Commission some options for developing Indiana artist support in the future. Together with a national survey research firm, WolfBrown developed, administered, and analyzed a survey of Indiana artists. Based on findings of those surveys, WolfBrown was able to identify four areas of program development, and shape a planning strategy for Indiana artists. WolfBrown recommendations to the Commission were endorsed by the Individual Artist Advisory Committee in 1998.

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