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The agency is governed by a Council comprised of up to twenty-one private citizens, from throughout Illinois, who are appointed by the Governor. Chosen for their demonstrated commitment to the arts, the Council members are charged with developing the state's public arts policy, fostering quality culturally diverse programs, and approving grants expenditures. These members serve in a voluntary capacity for four-year terms.
Advisory panels composed of volunteer experts from throughout the state are appointed by the Council Chairman to assist the Council in the review of grant applications and to lend expertise on policy and program development. Panelists are selected through open nominations and serve for one-year terms.
A professional staff administers and develops the Council's programs, assists grant applicants and provides pertinent information to the public. The Arts Council staff provides technical assistance and lends expertise to artists, arts organizations and community organizations that present arts programming.