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Indiana Arts Commission Launches New Five-Year Strategic Plan
Updated April 6, 2017 6:55 AM
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(INDIANAPOLIS) - The Indiana Arts Commission (IAC) announced the release of its new five-year (2017 - 2021) Strategic Plan.

With more than a year invested in information gathering, followed by constituent research, audience identification, surveying, and public input, the final plan was adopted by the Commission at its March 17, 2017 quarterly business meeting in Valparaiso, Indiana.

"This plan represents a fresh approach to long-range planning and implementation by the Commission and agency staff, and involved in-depth research and surveying of our constituents and the general public," said Lewis C. Ricci, IAC Executive Director. "Our survey process included more than 1,000 artists; more than 250 community and civic leaders; and more than 1,400 citizens with general interests about the arts and arts-related issues in education and their communities."

The survey results and initial planning outlines were then bench-marked against strategic plans developed by the National Endowment for the Arts, Arts Midwest, and four peer state arts agencies.

A Strategic Plan Steering Committee, chaired by Commissioner Sherry Stark of Columbus and facilitated by consultant Sara Peterson, examined the plan structures and reoccurring themes that could be applied to communities, large and small, as well as under-served populations. The goal was to develop a "Big Idea" central to the plan.

"The Big Idea was a search for one unifying, inspiring idea that encapsulates both the work of the Indiana Arts Commission and its impact on the state," said Commissioner Sherry Stark. "We looked for something that captured our mission, and found it in the poem "Hoosier Quilt" composed by Indiana's Poet Laureate Shari Wagner. 'The work of our hands radiates outward, block by block, circle by circle.' Capturing the impact of the arts was central to developing this plan."

New in this Strategic Plan is the articulation of a "Theory of Change" for the arts in the State of Indiana. The theory is that when the arts are centrally positioned in communities and everyday lives of citizens, their effect radiates outward and impacts how we think, plan, and develop initiatives to shape intermediate and long-term change.

The new Strategic Plan focuses on four strategic goals:

  • Facilitate meaningful engagement between arts practitioners and their communities
  • Support deeper understanding and integration of the arts by and in communities
  • Provide pathways to learning in the arts for all
  • Nurture and acknowledge each citizen's unique creative expression and artistic interests

With each of these goals, the Arts Commission will apply four strategic priorities:

  • Build capacity for the development and nurturing of transformative relationships
  • Ensure a commitment to the principles of excellence, authenticity, fairness and equity, and inclusion
  • Prioritize research and evaluation to identify needs and opportunities and build evidence of effectiveness
  • Direct strategic investment in conjunction with our Regional Arts Partners and state agency partners

"This new Strategic Plan is an impact-focused road map for the agency," said IAC Chair Nancy Stewart, Fort Wayne. "It will provide strategic focus for every program, service, and community engagement activity we will undertake in the next five years and beyond."

To read details of the 2017-2021 Strategic Plan, visit

The Indiana Arts Commission is dedicated to the vision of the arts everywhere, every day, for everyone in Indiana.

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