In 2022, the Ohio Arts Council (OAC) and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) collaborated on the Equitable Grant Making Assessment Pilot Project—known as the “Equity GAP Project.” This initiative examined arts funding patterns in Ohio and helped the OAC work toward its goal of making arts funding opportunities more accessible to all Ohio communities. It also served as a demonstration of how to attune grant assessments to the unique roles and responsibilities of state arts agencies. Operating support funding was the primary focus of this evaluation, which analyzed grants made to rural and Appalachian regions, populations of color, individuals with disabilities, and low income communities. For more information on the project, contact NASAA Chief Program and Planning Officer Kelly Barsdate.
The Initiative Overview offers a concise summary of the project approach, key findings and policy recommendations. Also noted are ways that the OAC is making use of the results.
The Summary Report provides further detail on the outcomes of the equity assessment, including constituent consultations and system reviews. Twenty-two action recommendations suggest ways that the OAC can strengthen its grant-making policies and practices.
The project included extensive statistical and geospatial analyses of the OAC’s grant-making data. The Quantitative Analysis and Technical Report presents the findings of these analyses along with benchmarking data from multiple states. This paper also offers recommendations relating to data collection and reporting.
For additional information on state arts agency strategies for advancing funding equity, see Equity Choice Points, State Arts Agency Equity Strategies and NASAA’s State to State article archive.
Equity GAP Project reports were produced by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies in partnership with the Ohio Arts Council and with support from Arts Midwest.
Photography by Irina Muller