Protect peer assessments – protect the arts. Speak up for the Arts Fund now.

This was sent to us today by a colleague – Isabella Stefanescu. I stand absolutely behind the Arts Fund, and behind a peer reviewed jury. Please read, and consider writing a letter today.
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The Region of Waterloo Arts Fund has been a game changer in the local arts community: it is the only local funding source that awards grants not only to arts organizations but also directly to artists. Since it started awarding grants in the fall of 2003, the Arts Fund has supported  470 artistic projects.
In 2014 the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund began implementation of a new peer jury assessment process for the evaluation of the grant applications.
It has been a process that has presented challenges. 
The Arts Fund will be evaluating the jury process at their board meeting on Thursday, January 15, at 4:00 pm. I encourage you to write a letter to the Arts Fund board expressing your support for the work of the board and for the peer jury process. Essentially the letter would show support for the principles under which the Arts Fund has been run from the beginning, such as:
  • making art happen in the Region of Waterloo
  • artistic merit & innovation paramount
  • arm’s length
  • clarity, simplicity, transparency of the application and evaluation process
  • peer review
  • minimal operating expenses
and for additional principles such as:
  • appropriate remuneration for artistic work
  • no direct, indirect or perceived conflict of interest in evaluating the applications

The letter should especially emphasize support for the new assessment process in which applications are evaluated by a different jury of peers for each granting session, a process that brings the Arts Fund closer to the Canadian standard way of making grants to artists and arts organizations.

NOTE:

Your letter could also include an offer to support the Arts Fund board of directors’ work in any way we can and they see fit: make yourselves available for consultation, deliberation and advice; help with recruitment for board and peer assessment pool; outreach in your respective circles and geographic communities.

 Personally I would like the board to consider paying an honorarium to the people who are asked to participate in the jury process (this would bring the Arts Fund in line with the way things are done at the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts).
Your letter should be addressed to:
Region of Waterloo Arts Fund Board of Directors
Attn: Stevie Natolochny
Council & Administrative Services
c/o Regional Clerk’s Office
Regional Administration Building, 2nd Floor
150 Frederick Street, Kitchener, ON
N2G 4J3
You can email the letter to snatolochny@regionofwaterloo.ca
I have attached a letter template that you can use – please feel free to change it to make it personal.
Please spread the word: The Region of Waterloo Arts Fund is very important for all artists who are based in the Region, and it needs our support. Please forward this note to anybody you think might be able to help.

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