Get A Glimpse Behind The Grant Panel Curtain

As if he wasn’t already bringing his A-Game on a regular basis, Joe Patti recently published an article at Butts In The Seats that provides a behind the scenes look at one of the more cloistered processes in the business: the grant panel review process.

If that weren’t a good enough topic in and of itself, it’s wrapped inside the context of barriers to engagement; both perceived and tactile.

I mentioned that something that can’t be discounted was the impact a renovation to the physical spaces of the facility had on the community…I went on to talk about the pre-renovation experience where the line to the women’s restroom in our facility was so long that it extended out the front door and the men’s room often had to be closed to men in order to accommodate women. Still intermission would need to be extended. I spoke about the restroom renovation garnering the most effusive response from people…My mention of the impact of the renovations met with some criticism by the panel. What annoyed me most about this was that the panel was comprised of artists or those associated with arts entities drawn from throughout the state.  I could understand if panelists drawn from the general public didn’t understand the importance of the physical environment in arts and cultural experiences.

It’s a thought provoking read and well worth your time.

Door To Seat As Important As The Quality Of The Event

I’m very curious to hear from readers who have been on both sides of that table, as Joe has, experiencing the process as an org seeking a grant and a panelist tasked with reviewing applications and ranking award candidates.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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