Understanding the Review Process

Erie Arts & Culture’s grant review panels provide a system of impartial peer review in the evaluation of grant applications. The decision to use private citizens on Erie Arts & Culture grant review panels reflects the importance of having expert and diverse public participation in the grant-making process.

Q: How are grant panelists selected?

A: People who work or live in Crawford, Erie, Mercer, Venango and Warren Counties are eligible to serve on Erie Arts & Culture’s grant panels. Additional panelists from outside the grantmaking area may be used 1) to incorporate regional perspective 2) to provide additional expertise and diversity or 3) to mitigate the potential for conflicts of interest.

  • Erie Arts & Culture staff members strive to construct panels that reflect the demographic and geographic diversity of our grantmaking footprint.
  • Panels are composed of artists, arts educators, arts and nonprofit organization administrators, corporate and fundraising managers, knowledgeable arts specialists, and interested community members.
  • Panelists are chosen for their professional experience, expertise in an artistic discipline, knowledge of the community, and ability to objectively review grant materials.
  • Panelists are screened for conflicts of interest, and where they exist, panelists are excused from discussion of the grant application or assigned to an alternate panel where a conflict does not exist.
  • Panelist nominations are accepted and processed by Erie Arts & Culture staff year round. If you would like to serve as a volunteer grant reviewer, please contact the program director.

If you would like to be considered to serve on a grant review panel, please contact our program staff.

Q: How do panelists review applications?

A: Panelists evaluate applications according to criteria and evaluation tools developed for each grant program. Erie Arts & Culture Project Grants are reviewed using a scoring rubric. PPA Program Stream and Project Stream Grants are reviewed using assessment guidelines and a scoring thermometer. Panel comments are documented and incorporated into the funding recommendation process.

Panel comments are made available to applicants upon notification of the funding decision.

The function of the grant review panel is advisory only. Panels evaluate the merits of the applications, based upon published criteria, and make recommendations on funding to the Erie Arts & Culture Board of Directors. Panelists do not make funding decisions.

Q: Who makes the final funding decisions?

A: At the conclusion of the panel review, the Erie Arts & Culture Board of Directors takes panel scores and comments into consideration and makes final funding decisions. Notifications are mailed to applicants. Award letters include instructions about accepting your grant. 

Contact Erie Arts & Culture to learn more