Panelists play a critical role in the grant-making work of the Ohio Arts Council (OAC), and make possible a wide array of investments of public funds in Ohio arts and cultural activities. Their contributions of time and expertise allow the agency to conduct a fair, transparent, and thoughtful decision-making process for grant awards, and support the state in its efforts to recognize and reward excellent artists, arts and cultural organizations, and other institutions. Most panelists also describe panel service as an invaluable professional development and networking opportunity that hones evaluation skills and better connects them to their colleagues in Ohio’s arts and cultural landscape. The OAC accepts panelist nominations year-round. Recruitment and panelist placement occurs in fall to align with the grant cycle.

Review the Selection Criteria and Recommendation & Review Process below, then complete the Panelist Nomination Form online.

Serving on a panel? Review the Panelist Handbook.

Selection Criteria

OAC panelists are selected based on these criteria:

  • Professional qualifications and breadth of experience
  • Evidence of broad-based knowledge of the arts at the local, state, national or international level
  • Ability to clearly articulate applications’ strengths and weaknesses based on stated scoring criteria
  • Strong past performance in an adjudication or grant-writing role, and/or peer recommendation
  • Proven ability to work well in a group  

Each panel represents diversity in a variety of areas, including:

  • Gender, age, race, ethnicity and disability, reflecting Ohio’s overall diversity
  • Geographic distribution representing all regions of Ohio including both urban and rural areas
  • Artistic disciplines and sub-disciplines (for multi-disciplinary panels)
  • Organizational budget size, to include small, medium and large institutions
  • Arts organization structure including board members, administrators, artistic directors, education specialists and others, as well as individual artists

Recommendation & Review Process

1) Prospective panelists are contacted by OAC staff to discuss panel service and confirm their availability. The OAC Board approves panel service and the executive director invites them to serve.

2) Several weeks before the panel meeting, application packets are forwarded electronically to panelists; those packets include: meeting logistics, applications to be reviewed, information on evaluation and scoring, and instructions on using the ARTIE system. Online panelist training is held via webinar to walk through these documents and address any questions that may arise. 

3) Panelists read and enter a preliminary score for all applications prior to attending the panel meeting, making comments as appropriate in ARTIE. 

4) Panels meet in Columbus for an open discussion about how well each application aligns with the program’s stated review criteria. Each panelist has the opportunity to adjust his/her scores before they are finalized in ARTIE at the conclusion of the meeting. Some panel meetings last two to three hours, while others can last a day and a half; meeting length varies according to the program and the number of applications received. OAC staff can advise you on the likely length of each program’s meeting prior to your agreeing to serve.

5) Following the meeting, panelists receive an honorarium to cover the service fee/costs associated with their preparation for, travel to, and service at the meeting. No reimbursements are issued.  

6) Panelists may serve on an OAC panel for up to four consecutive years after which they must sit out for at least two years before serving again.