Member Spotlight on the Idaho Commission on the Arts

For the month of January, GIA's photo banner features art and projects supported by the Idaho Commission on the Arts. The Commission was established in 1966 to "stimulate and encourage throughout the state the study and presentation of the arts, and public interest and participation therein… and to encourage and assist freedom of artistic expression essential to the well-being of the arts." It provides services and direct grants to organizations, arts educators, and individual artists across the state, including those practicing folk and traditional arts. 2016 marks the start of the Commission's 50th anniversary.

Reduce Effort. Increase Reliability. Build Capacity.

Five years ago, the Idaho Commission on the Arts adopted a strategy inspired by their peers at the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, with the philosophy, “If we can’t provide more, make what we provide more valuable.” The result has been reduced effort by applicants, increased reliability of our grants, and capacity building for arts administrators.

For Idaho organizations with a history of producing quality public programs in the arts, the Arts Commission folded together multiple, restricted, project-grants into one, unrestricted grant, supporting organizations’ public programs. Grant review is based on past performance instead of future plans, using prior final reports. Thus, the agency paradoxically increased accountability while reducing applicant effort.

For the managers of Idaho arts organizations, the Arts Commission reviews grantees’ cash flow, with documentation submitted in final reports. The intent is to ensure the ability of organizational leaders to review cash flow curves over time, identify trends, and address problems before they become crises.

Finally, to increase the managers’ leadership capacity, four years ago the agency launched the Idaho Change Leader program in partnership with the program originators, the Utah Division of Arts and Museums and now, Colorado Creative Industries. The intent is to provide arts administrators with organizational and change management training, and maintain a supportive peer network.

Idaho Commission on the Arts has been a GIA member since 2010.

Learn more about Idaho Commission on the arts and its grant programs.

You can also visit the photo gallery on the Photo Credits page.