Oak Park Area Arts Council
Board of Directors

Yves Hughes, Jr., President
William Wallace, Treasurer, Chair of ArtsFunds Review Panel
Sarita Smith Childs
Meghan Eagan
Tammie Grossman
Takara Beathea Gudell
John Mayes, Chair of Scholarship Committee
Paul Neumann
William Sullivan


Camille Wilson White, Executive Director
Oak Park Area Arts Council
123 Madison Street
Oak Park, IL 60302
708.358.5690 or 5692

DEADLINE FOR ALL APPLICATIONS: Tuesday, JANUARY 21, 2020, 11:45 p.m. Incomplete or late applications will be rejected.

Applications are available on the Oak Park Area Arts Council’s website, http://opa.ac

Because we believe art is intrinsic to the quality of life in our communities, the Oak Park Area Arts Council celebrates, supports and promotes artists and arts organizations in Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park.

By raising funds for the arts, and advocating for policies that promote the arts, we enhance the social, economic, and cultural foundations of our communities.

The ArtsFunds program is supported by the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a state agency, the Village of Oak Park, members, and other contributors. The goal of the program is to sustain and develop the area’s arts industry.



Not-for-profit organizations may request funds in the following categories:

Organizations applying for the first time will be eligible for no more than $500.

Organizations applying for the first time will be eligible for no more than $500.

The total available funds from the Oak Park Area Arts Council will be allocated among applicants based on their eligibility level and how well they meet the grant criteria. Applying for ArtsFunds does not guarantee receipt of funding.

Work to be funded must be performed and expenditures incurred between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020.

The Oak Park Area Arts Council’s goals in awarding grants are to:
• assist both established and emerging organizations in long-range planning, board, and staff development, artistic or financial development, marketing or other priority areas;
• strengthen the organization’s contributions to the local economy.


• Not-for-profit arts organizations whose primary mission is to provide performing, visual or literary arts programs or services.
• Not-for-profit organizations that provide ongoing arts programs or services as a component of their overall mission. Non-arts organizations may be social service organizations, schools, religious institutions, health care facilities or other organizations whose arts programs or services benefit the Oak Park area. Non-art organizations can only apply for project support.


• Organizations with current Internal Revenue Service tax-exempt 501(c)3 status or proof of application for such status;
• Organizations with current nonprofit status in the State of Illinois (Secretary of State) www.ilsos.gov/corporatellc/ (you can visit this site to check on your current status);
• Organizations based in the Tri-Village area of Oak Park, Forest Park and River Forest or directly serving the Tri-Village area of Oak Park, Forest Park and River Forest in terms of programming location, audience, board, staff and volunteers;
• Organizations which provide ongoing programs or services in the performing, visual or literary arts;

• Organizations which have fulfilled requirements of previous grants from the Oak Park Area Arts Council (if applicable). This includes submission of final reports and recognition of ArtsFunds support on program materials and in publicity.


Incomplete or late applications;
• Organizations without tax-exempt 501(c)3 status, or application thereof;
• Expenses are anticipated to be incurred prior to award;
• Failure to complete previously funded projects;
• For-profit organizations;
• Units of government;
• Projects which are part of the curriculum of elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities;
• Projects which serve only or primarily the congregation of a religious organization;
• Projects which serve only residents or patients of a healthcare or related institution;
• Individuals. Artists are encouraged to affiliate with eligible not-for-profit organizations;
• Capital improvements, construction, purchase of real property, permanent equipment, and accumulated deficits.
• Expenses anticipated largely for the purpose of awarding scholarships or regranting.
• Organizations which have not existed for at least one year and which do not have at least one year of financial history.


• Certify compliance with all Federal statutes relating to nondiscrimination. These include, but are not limited to, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
• Obtain authorized signature on a grant agreement and submit with cash request form to the Oak Park Area Arts Council within 30 days following notification of grant award.
• Include the following donor credit on all program materials and in publicity: Organization is partially funded by the Oak Park Area Arts Council, in partnership with the Village of Oak Park and the Illinois Arts Council Agency through federal funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. The donor credit must be prominently displayed on all program materials and in publicity. Organizations which fail to credit the Oak Park Area Arts Council may be declared ineligible for future funding.
Organizations which are unable to use an ArtsFunds grant for the purpose requested are obligated to return the grant back to the Oak Park Area Arts Council.


Failure to submit a final report jeopardizes the receipt of future OPAAC funding and will cause the following penalties to be imposed:
a. There will be a 10% reduction of all current fiscal year awards for a grantee that is late filing any final reports from the previous year.
b. If the grantee has no current fiscal year grant awards, the grantee will be prohibited from applying for any grants during the following fiscal year.


Applications will be reviewed and scored according to the following criteria:

Artistic Merit
Quality and creativity of programming
Uniqueness of programming
Strength of supporting documentation and reviews
Programs consistent with stated mission
Attractiveness of programming to audiences new to the arts

Administrative Ability
Quality and composition of the Board of Directors
Strength and stability of management
Ability of organization to formulate and implement plans
Ability to attract volunteers and in-kind contributions
Quality of application

Community Engagement
Size and composition of audience
Involvement of Oak Park area residents in all aspects of organization
Collaboration with other arts and non-arts organizations
Diversity, equity and inclusion in governance, administration, and audience
Membership in and support for the Oak Park Area Arts Council.

Economic Impact
Organization is based in Oak Park area
Use of Oak Park area artists
Use of Oak Park area businesses
Programming largely takes place in Oak Park area
Programming attracts audiences/tourists from outside the Oak Park area

Financial Strength
Efforts to obtain a mix of revenue from fees, grants, ticket sales, etc.
Ability of organization to control expenses and stay within budgets
Net assets are appropriate and can sustain the organization through difficult economic times
Contributed revenues provide a significant and diverse source of funding.

Council staff first reviews applications for completeness, clarity, accuracy and compliance with guidelines.
Incomplete applications will be rejected.
The ArtsFunds Committee, which includes members of the Oak Park Area Arts Council Board of Directors and community representatives, review applications according to funding criteria.

The Arts Council Board of Directors makes final determinations of awards on the basis of:
• ArtsFunds Committee recommendations,
• Benefit to the Villages of Oak Park, River Forest or Forest Park,
• Availability of funds.

We will review requests for reconsideration of a grant award or a “no funding” decision if an applicant can demonstrate that there was an undisclosed conflict of interest on the part of a committee or Council board member, or that review criteria other than criteria included in the guidelines were a major part of the decision.

Requests for reconsideration will be accepted up to 30 days after the date of the grant award notification letter. A decision will be made within 45 days. All requests must be in writing and directed to the Executive Director.


Questions about the 2019 ArtsFunds program or completion of the application should be directed to Executive Director, Camille Wilson White at 708.358.5692.

Camille Wilson White, Executive Director, e-mail: camillew2@oakparkareaartscouncil.org


We encourage applicants to make use of the following technical assistance resources:

Lawyers for the Creative Arts assists with federal and state regulations for registering articles of nonprofit incorporation, obtaining 501(c)3 tax exemption and other issues (312.649.4111, www.law-arts.org).

Illinois CPA Society trains organizations in bookkeeping, accounting, budgeting, tax procedures and board development (312.993.0407, www.icpas.org).


ArtsFunds 2020 grant writing workshop:
Oak Park Village Hall, 123 Madison Street, Oak Park, IL 60302
Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019, 8:30-11:30 a.m., room 101.
Alica Boddy, Director of Development for Code Platoon will facilitate the grant writing workshop.

Application Deadline:

Tuesday, January 21, 2020, 11:45 pm
All applications must be submitted by the deadline date and time. There will be no exceptions.
ArtsFunds Panel Reviews:
•Will take place in late February or early March 2020, exact date to be determined.
•ArtsFunds Panel Reviews will be held at Oak Park Village Hall, 123 Madison Street. No supplemental materials may be brought to the panel reviews.
•Awards will be announced at the Oak Park Area Arts Council’s Annual Meeting Thursday, March 19, 2020.
•ArtsFunds checks will be distributed in early summer of 2020.

Submit ArtsFunds Application Here