The Iowa Arts Council has transitioned its School Arts Experience grant program to Virtual Arts Experience grants for fiscal year 2021.
Virtual Arts Experience Grants help Iowa schools and arts organizations engage artists and arts educators to create and present innovative online arts activities, performances and educational content. The grants are designed to promote learning, engagement and greater equity in the fine arts, especially through projects that address and reduce racial, economic or geographic inequities in access to arts experiences across Iowa.
Funding for the Virtual Arts Experience Grant program is made possible by an annual appropriation from the Iowa Legislature to the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Applicants must adhere to the funding policies of the Iowa Arts Council.
Fiscal Year 2021 Application Deadline
Applications will be accepted starting October 1, 2020, and considered on a rolling basis until funds are exhausted.
Applicants will be notified of funding decisions within 4 weeks of submitting an application.
Final Report Deadline
Grant recipients are required to complete a final report by August 1, 2021.
Grant Request Amount
Applicants may request funding for eligible one-time project expenses that are incurred and expended within the eligible funding period.
For public and private schools that serve grades pre-K through 12 and are physically located in Iowa whose primary orientation, mission and purpose is education and the awarding of academic credits.
- Minimum Grant Request: $500
- Maximum Grant Request: $1,000
For federally tax exempt 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations incorporated and physically located in Iowa.
- Minimum Grant Request: $1,000
- Maximum Grant Request: $10,000
Applicants are required to demonstrate investment in a project by providing matching funds for eligible one-time project expenses that are incurred and expended within the eligible funding period in an amount that is equal to or greater than the total grant amount requested from the Iowa Arts Council. Update for fiscal year 2021: The required match may be either in-kind or cash. For example, an applicant that requests $10,000 in grant funds must have at least $10,000 in cash match, in-kind donations, or a combination of the two for a total project budget of $20,000.
All project activities and incurred expenses must occur within the eligible funding period of October 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021.
Eligible applicants must be one of the following types of entities. Entities who do not meet these requirements are not eligible to apply.
- Public and private schools that serve grades pre-K through 12 and are physically located in Iowa whose primary orientation, mission and purpose is education and the awarding of academic credits.
- Federally tax exempt 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations incorporated and physically located in Iowa
- Physical location of the organization is defined as maintaining a current home office and registered agent address in Iowa defined by Iowa Code 490.501 as well as maintaining a primary staff presence physically located and working in Iowa
- Entities located in a border community may be eligible under the Border State Policy
- Entities not yet formally organized may be eligible under the Fiscal Agent Policy
The following types of entities are not eligible to apply:
- Nonprofit or public institutions of higher education physically located in Iowa
- Unit of local, county or federally-recognized tribal government physically located in Iowa (including public libraries)
- For-profit corporation or business
- Applicants who have already submitted two unfunded applications for this same project
- Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs grantees who have already received a grant from the department for any part of the project
- Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs grantees with an outstanding final report or who have been placed on a department funding moratorium
- Organizations that receive Student Arts Education funding through Bravo Greater Des Moines and the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines to support virtual programming are ineligible to receive funding through this grant program.
Note: Iowa Arts Council administered grantees who have already received a grant from the department for the current application funding period will be considered eligible for this opportunity provided the project is entirely distinct from the previously funded application.
Virtual Arts Experience Requirements
Funding may be requested in one of two sub-categories:
- Lifelong Learners: Supports the creation and presentation of innovative virtual programming focused on participatory learning of an artform that is accessible to adult learners;
- preK-12 Education: Supports the creation and presentation of arts content that is intended primarily for preK-12 students and connected to a fine arts discipline(s) and applicable fine arts standards or early learning standards.
In addition to grant funding, all grantees will have access to related training focused on creating engaging arts learning activities that anticipate students transitioning between multiple modes (in-person, hybrid, and fully online) of learning in the 2020-21 school year. All educators will learn tools and techniques to utilize existing teaching skills to create innovative online lessons.
Applicants in the preK-12 Education sub-category may want to consult the AEA Online Learning’s recommendations for developing modular learning content.
The following types or activities and projects are not eligible for the grant program.
- Acquisition/purchase of artwork including public art
- Capital projects
- Collection maintenance or restoration
- Construction or renovation of a property
- Fundraiser or benefit event
- Lobbying activities
- Non-arts projects
- Ongoing projects or programming for which the identified beginning and end dates are arbitrary
- Projects that result in an applicant’s course credit, degree or certification
- Projects that occur prior to or after the funding period
- Projects that have already received an Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs grant for any part or phase of the project
- Religious activities
Virtual Arts Experience Grants support one-time, direct project expenses that are essential to the completion of the proposed project. Applicants are required to demonstrate investment in a project by providing matching funds in an amount that is equal to or greater than the total grant amount requested from the Iowa Arts Council. The required match may be either in-kind or cash. For example, an applicant that requests $10,000 in grant funds must have at least $10,000 in cash match, in-kind donations, or a combination of the two for a total project budget of $20,000.
The grant request, cash match and in-kind match expenses must be dedicated to eligible one-time project expenses, legitimate parts of the proposed project, and must be incurred and expended within the eligible funding period. Expenses identified in the grant request and required match should be based on competitive, current market pricing. Applicants may identify supplemental project expenses that occur before or after the eligible funding period, or that are otherwise not eligible to be part of the grant request, cash or in-kind match in the application; however, supplemental expenses may not be included in the grant request or required dollar-for-dollar match. Applicants that include ineligible expenses in the grant request or required match will be considered ineligible.
- Cash match is actual cash contributed to direct project expenses by the applicant or other funding sources
- In-kind match is donated goods or services contributed to the project by the applicant or other sources
- Funding from the state government cannot be used to meet the match requirement
- Funding from the federal government cannot be used to meet the match requirement
Eligible Grant Request & Match Expenses
The grant request, cash match and in-kind match expenses must be legitimate parts of the proposed project and must be incurred and expended within the eligible funding period. Expenses identified in the grant request and required match should be based on competitive, current market pricing. Eligible grant request and match expenses include direct project costs such as:
- Artist Fees* (e.g. creation, preparation, performance time)
- Contractor Fees (e.g. printer, graphic designer, security)
- Equipment under a total of $5,000 per unit (e.g. camera, software, kiln)
- Materials (e.g. paint, costumes, props)
- Marketing (e.g. print material, ad buys, design fees)
- Personnel Time Dedicated to the Project** (e.g. planning, execution, evaluation time)
- Rentals (e.g. stages, lighting/sound, scissor lift, portable restrooms)
*Artist fees can only be paid to an artist not already employed by the applicant. If an employee is creating content, this would be considered Personnel Time.
**Applicants must demonstrate how personnel time is specifically dedicated to the proposed project. Personnel benefits are not eligible.
Ineligible Grant Request & Match Expenses
Expenses that fall outside of the identified eligible expenses for the project may not be included as part of the grant request or the required cash and in-kind match. Applicants that include ineligible expenses in the grant request, cash or in-kind match will be considered ineligible. Ineligible grant request and match expenses include:
- Budget shortfalls
- Capital expenditures including equipment over a total of $5,000 per unit
- Collection maintenance or restoration
- Deficit or debt reduction
- Expenses incurred prior to or after the funding period
- Foreign travel
- Fundraising or benefit
- Lobbying activity
- Ongoing or operating expenses including utilities, rent/lease, office supplies, and personnel time that is not dedicated to the project
- Personnel benefits
- Prizes and awards
- Property maintenance, restoration or renovation
Online Application Submission
Applicants must submit applications via the Iowa Arts Council’s SlideRoom, an online application portal. Applications will not be accepted in any other format. Late, incomplete or ineligible applications will not be accepted. Applicants can access the current online application requirements at iowaartscouncil.slideroom.com. Applicants must create a login to view the full application requirements for the program. Applicants can visit help.liaisonedu.com for SlideRoom assistance related to the online submission.
Department Eligibility Review
Submitted applications are reviewed by staff for completion, eligibility and adherence to published funding priorities and guidelines. Applications are reviewed as submitted. New application information or subsequent application clarification submitted after a program deadline is not considered unless requested by staff. Staff will also review an applicant’s record of compliance and good standing with the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, State and Federal government. Applications or applicants determined by staff to be ineligible or incomplete will not move forward to panel review and are specifically denied any appeals process.
Competitive Panel Review
Eligible applications will be referred to a competitive review by a volunteer citizen panel of Iowa arts and culture professionals with appropriate expertise commensurate to the purpose of the grant program. Applications will be scored and ranked based on the published scoring rubric, with priority given to projects that seek to address and reduce inequities in access to fine arts experiences along lines of race, income, and/or geography. Panel ranking and recommendations are submitted to the Administrator of the Iowa Arts Council and Director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs for consideration and funding approval. Applications will be awarded funding based on the ranked list and available funding. All funding decisions are final and may not be appealed due to dissatisfaction. Applicants may review the department appeals policy for information on grounds for appeal and the appeal process.
The Virtual Arts Experience Scoring Rubric will be used by the panel to evaluate grant applications. Each section has criteria and corresponding point values to ensure a fair review process. The rubric is on a scale of 29 points.