How to Select and Run Successful, Stress-free Panels

Tuesday, August 3, 2:00 EDT/ 11:00 PDT [PASSED]
Frances Phillips, Program Director for the Arts and The Creative Work Fund, Walter and Elise Haas Fund
Patrice Walker Powell, Deputy Chairman for Programs and Partnerships, National Endowment for the Arts

Session 5 of the 6-part  2010 Web Conference Series
Video of this presentation is available here.


A lively, thoughtful grants review panel can be a high point in a program officer’s work. At the same time, there’s nothing worse than a dour, imbalanced, ill-prepared, or contentious committee. No single formula will ensure a great panel meeting; but the speakers will share advice about recruiting for balance, compatibility, and rigor. They will touch upon issues including ethical questions, finding panel talent, tools for shaping decision-making, clarifying and controlling the staff’s role, and pros and cons of working toward consensus. They’ll even share a few panel nightmares that inspired on-the-spot problem-solving.

Presenter Bios:
Frances Phillips is Program Director for the Arts and The Creative Work Fund at the Walter and Elise Haas Fund in San Francisco. Guided by grants review panels, the Creative Work Fund awards grants of $10,000 to $40,000 to Northern California artists to create new works through collaborations with nonprofit organizations. Since late 1994, the Creative Work Fund has awarded $7.3 million for projects in literary, media, performing, traditional, and visual artists. Phillips also has served on panels for the Bush Artists Fellows, City of San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs, Rasmuson Foundation’s artists’ fellowships, and the San Francisco Arts Commission’s Cultural Equity Grants; and she serves as an advisor to the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation’s commissioning grants and The Columbia Foundation’s arts program. Before joining the Haas Fund, Frances Phillips was executive director of San Francisco’s oldest alternative arts space, Intersection for the Arts (1988-94) and director and assistant director of The Poetry Center and American Poetry Archives at San Francisco State University (1982-88). She is the author of three small press books of poetry and co-author (with Stan Hutton) of The Nonprofit Kit for Dummies (third edition, 2009).

In February 2010, Patrice Walker Powell was appointed Deputy Chairman for Programs and Partnerships at the National Endowment for the Arts. In this role she has oversight of the Agency’s nearly $100 million in grants and special projects for a national network of governmental and non-profit partners, as well as for grant awards to cultural organizations in all disciplines and fields. Prior to this new role, Ms. Powell served as Deputy Chairman for States, Regions, and Local Arts Agencies (2007-2009). During her early tenure with the NEA she managed several national projects, including the Community Foundation Initiative and the Rural Arts Initiative. Before joining the NEA, Ms. Powell served as Deputy Director for the Texas Commission on the Arts and Program Staff for the Connecticut Commission on the Arts. She also served as the principal research consultant for a U.S. Department of Labor report on exemplary arts and humanities projects funded under the Cultural Employment and Training Act (CETA). Early in her career as a stage manager, Ms. Powell worked with international and national commercial touring artists. She earned her B.F.A. from Howard University and an M.F.A. from Yale University’s School of Drama.