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Strategic Plan

IAC's Five-Year Strategic Plan

After an intensive, year-long process the Indiana Arts Commission in March 2017 gave final approval to the 2017–2021 five-year strategic plan. This document is an important planning foundation for our vision of the arts everywhere, every day, for everyone in Indiana.

The Big Idea

As part of our planning, we searched for that one unifying, inspiring idea that encapsulated both the work of the Indiana Arts Commission and its impact for the state. We looked for something that captured our mission. In doing so we realized that Indiana’s 2016-2017 Poet Laureate, Shari Wagner, had already given it to us in Hoosier Quilt when she wrote: “the work of our hands radiates outward; block by block, circle by circle.”

The Theory of Change

When the arts are centrally positioned in communities and the everyday lives of citizens, their effect radiates outward. The arts impact how we think, plan and develop.

  • When the arts engage their communities, they create authentic and relevant work; and
  • When communities value creative work as relevant to their everyday lives, they engage in the arts; and
  • When communities engage in the arts, the arts thrive; and
  • When the arts thrive in a community, the community thrives; and
  • When communities thrive, so does the state

Short Term Plan

Over the next five years, the Indiana Arts Commission will embed the role of the arts in Indiana in conjunction with our Regional Arts Partners and state agency partners by focusing on four strategic goals:

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

Within each of the above goals there are four strategic priorities, to:

  • 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.

Long Term Plan

Through the five-year goals and priorities previously outlined, the Indiana Arts Commission is charting a course for long term change which will be reflected in the following outcomes and impacts in the lives of our citizens.

I. The Arts Engage Community

  • Arts practitioners have mutually-beneficial, accountable, and creative relationships with citizens and communities.
  • Artistic process and production respects and reflects Indiana’s diversity – its people, places and ideas.
  • Arts practitioners support excellence, authenticity, fairness and equity and inclusion as core principles.

II. Communities Value Creative Work as Part of Their Everyday Lives

  • Citizens have an expanded understanding of, appreciation for and participate in creative endeavors.
  • Communities integrate the creative intelligence of the arts into planning and decision-making.
  • Communities embrace the creative spirit expressed by their citizens and, as a result, incorporate it as a measure of their success.

III. Communities Engage in the Arts

  • Citizens have relevant and equal access to engage with the arts, especially in rural areas.
  • Citizens have the opportunity to gain knowledge, skill and ability in the arts.

IV. The Arts Thrive

  • Arts practitioners reach artistic, engagement and financial goals.
  • Arts practitioners affect policy-making on a local, state and national level.
  • Arts education is a core requirement in public and private education.

V. Communities Thrive Economically, Educationally, Socially and Culturally

  • Cultural vibrancy attracts and drives more economic activity in communities and in the state.
  • Communities continuously build positive cultural dialogue through the arts.
  • Indiana has a unique and authentic identity as a creative state embracing urban and rural assets.
Cool, right? But, how are we going to start to make that happen?
Click here to view the Strategic Workplan

Public Steering Committee

The IAC thanks the following committee members for their wisdom, insight and dedication, as well as Sherry Stark (Commissioner, Columbus) for her leadership throughout the process.

Bill Barnes
Community Foundation of Madison and Jefferson County
Suzann Lupton
Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis
Daren Redman
Tania Castroverde Moskalenko
Center for the Performing Arts
Susan Mendenhall
Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne
Fort Wayne
Eric Shields
Indiana Economic Development Corp
Minju Choi
University of Indianapolis
Breanca Merritt
Indiana University Public Policy Institute
Geoff Shomacker
Office of Community and Rural Affairs
Sandi Clark
former commissioner, board member of Arts Midwest
Warren Miller
ArtsWork Indiana Artist
Micah Smith
Kathryn Cruz-Uribe
Indiana University East
Karen Moyars
Prairie Preservation Guild
Sherry Stark, Chair
Senator Jon Ford
Terre Haute
Brenda Myers
Hamilton County Tourism
Nancy Stewart
Fort Wayne
Jon Kay
Traditional Arts Indiana
Jennifer Perry
Terre Haute
Lane Velayo
Indiana Music Education Association
Sharen Kazee
Educator and musician
Michael Pettry
Indianapolis Symphonic Choir
Jim Walker
Big Car

Public Forums

Survey findings were shared with the strategic plan steering committee who identified key themes which were further discussed by the full Commission. Those key themes became the focus of three facilitated live public forums (Web Caf├ęs) for artists, community organizations and community leaders. 153 citizens participated and gave feedback on a variety of questions including in what areas the arts can have the greatest impact in community; support community development goals; and work effectively with economic development.


The plan process was facilitated by Sara Peterson, of Sara Peterson Consulting. Sara is a management consultant to nonprofits, government, foundations, and community groups. She specializes in practical governance and board development, a wide range of planning and facilitation, evaluation, and organizational assessments. Sara was supported by additional facilitators including Brian Blackford, Project Manager at Indiana Communities Institute, Ball State University; Jamie Levine-Daniel, Assistant Professor, IUPUI School of Public and Environmental Affairs; Joanna Taft, Founding Executive Director, Harrison Center for the Arts and Susan Zurbuchen, Director of the Arts Administration Program at Butler University. David O’Fallon, President & CEO, Minnesota Humanities Center was also engaged to lend expertise to the Commission and staff related to evaluation and outcomes.

Throughout the process, all meetings (both public forums and Commission-level meetings) had external, objective facilitation, to insure a non-biased result.

It should be noted that all facilitators and hosting institutions offered their assistance and facilities pro bono, in service to their fellow citizens.