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Arts Council of Indianapolis Seeks Creative Agency and/or Freelance Partner for Arts & Culture Sector Reopening Campaign

Posted by Arts Council of Indianapolis ; Posted on 
Arts Council of Indianapolis Seeks Creative Agency and/or Freelance Partner for Arts & Culture Sector Reopening Campaign



Request for Information

Qualifications submission deadline: May 10, 2021


The Arts Council of Indianapolis is Indy’s arts advocacy and services agency. Our mission is “to foster meaningful engagement in the arts by nurturing a culture where artists and arts organizations thrive.” Advancing racial equity, inclusion and access, which includes ensuring arts and culture experiences and audiences reflect the diversity of our city, is at the heart of our mission of “A Full Creative Life for All.”


We are conducting an open search for a creative agency and/or freelance partner(s) to work with our team to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to:

● Celebrate and support the reopening of Indy’s arts and culture sector;

● Invite and inspire residents (primary) and visitors (secondary) to confidently re-engage with arts and culture events and experiences; and

● Drive broad understanding of the value of arts and culture in our city’s economic health/recovery and social well-being.


Arts Council surveys showed that in 2020, nearly 100% of artists and culture workers and nonprofit arts/culture organizations reported major losses in earned income due to COVID-19, while incurring new, unanticipated expenses. In March 2020, the Arts Council launched the #IndyKeepsCreating campaign to promote the resilience and innovation of the sector. To date, the campaign has raised more than $13 million to support COVID relief and recovery programs for cultural organizations and artists. In our Q1 2021 survey, arts leaders confirmed their top current needs for Arts Council support:

1. Funding resources: General operating and relief/reopening.

2. DEI support: Access to training, consulting expertise, shared framework/accountability.

3. Marketing for the sector, including access to marketing shared services for small/midsize orgs, and enhanced platforms to connect orgs, artists, and audiences.

4. Research and best practices.

5. Information sharing and peer support.

While we are focused on supporting all of these priorities in 2021, this RFI and scope responds to the need for elevated sector-wide marketing and community engagement specific to the reopening and recovery of the sector. There are strong reasons for optimism: Nearly 60% of nonprofit arts and culture organizations expect to be open by June 2021, and that number grows to 85% by September. Artists and organizations have also created new experiences and programs to welcome back arts lovers and ensure their safe, comfortable return.


Our goal is to select an agency and/or freelance partner(s) and make progress on the campaign scope/approach by June 1, 2021. We anticipate a 4-6 month engagement with the potential to extend. Note: We are open to collaborations between organizations and individuals to accomplish this work as well.

We look forward to co-creating the final scope with the selected partner(s). We anticipate key deliverables to include:

● A detailed campaign and creative strategy, including key messaging and a graphic/visual identity.
● Development and oversight of a creative asset toolkit to ensure consistency.
● An implementation strategy and support, including recommendations on content marketing; earned, paid, and owned media; and key stakeholder, influencer, audience, and community engagement.
● A refresh of ACI’s digital properties, including a digital strategy and updates to our website and socials. ● A strategy to achieve and measure campaign goals.

The focus for this campaign is the Indianapolis / Central Indiana market – Marion County and the donut counties. There may be some state and regional market extensions through civic and promotional partners as well. It is our priority to work with a central Indiana-based agency but we will also consider agencies outside of the Indianapolis market that have deep experience working with arts and culture organizations.


We are working to finalize the budget for this initiative as part of this RFI process. We will welcome input from the selected partner(s) on developing the detailed budget as part of the planning process. We anticipate the minimum budget available will be $100,000, with the potential for more pending current fundraising efforts.

If budget permits, we would like to consider that part of this program will include a shared services agreement to provide consulting and implementation support to small and mid-size nonprofit arts organizations, including organizations led by and/or predominately serving BIPOC communities, on their specific organizational reopening marketing plans.


We ask that you please limit your response to a maximum of three pages and include the following information:

● A description of your agency and core competencies/services, current client roster, and why you are a good fit for the Arts Council’s mission and its goals to build racially diverse arts and culture audiences.
● Brief summaries of 2-3 relevant case studies that showcase the challenges, insights, solutions, and results achieved for your clients.
● A high-level description of your proposed approach to this scope of work.
● References for relevant work that we may contact.


Agency/partner selection qualifications will include: A demonstrated commitment to advancing racial equity, inclusion, diversity, and access; proven ability to create/design campaigns and brand identities that are differentiators in the market; strong strategic and analytic capabilities; and experience integrating earned, paid, and owned media channels. During the selection process:

● Members of the Arts Council leadership team will review and score all RFI submissions.
● The Arts Council CEO and marketing team will interview a maximum of three finalists via Zoom to discuss qualifications and invite perspective on the scope and recommended approach.
● Once a finalist is selected, the Arts Council will work with the agency to finalize a detailed scope of work, budget, and executed partnership agreement.

Questions and Support 

We ask that you please limit your response to a maximum of three pages and include the following information. Please email your response to with the subject line: “Arts Council Request for Information Response.”


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