Evaluation Criteria Definitions

Artistic Quality

Relative to the budget size of the organization, the extent to which the applicant demonstrates a committed effort to provide its audience a meaningful, impactful, quality and authentic artistic experience(s).

Arts Education The extent to which the applicant organization can demonstrate strategies designed to transfer specific training, skills, abilities and/or knowledge in the arts through publically recognized standards (e.g. workshop leader has appropriate experience; education standards are integrated if a school-based activity.)
Community Engagement

Extent to which the applicant organization can demonstrate an active, two-way, ongoing relationship between the applicant and community in the planning, participation and evaluation of the proposed activity(ies), which includes intentional strategies for diversity, equity, access, and inclusion

Organizational Excellence

The extent to which the applicant organization can demonstrate sound fiscal management and administrative policies and a demonstrable commitment to continuous improvement, preservation, and development of the art form.

Project Management

The extent to which the applicant organization can demonstrate the ability to successfully design and implement the project through effective planning, financial management, staffing and evaluation.

Other Definitions


Intentional cultivation of pathways that encourage involvement and communication and provide opportunities for diverse swaths of constituent groups to participate in organizational activities. 

Accessibility The design of environments, products, or services, for people with disabilities. Accessibility can be linked to the process of developing products and environments that can be utilized by the widest possible range of ability groups, operating within the widest possible range of situations. 
Community A collection of people, places and organizations that are connected through some external factor, such as geographic location or cultural affinity.
Community Engagement An active, two-way and long-term relationship in which one party motivates another to get involved or take action—and both parties experience change. Mutual activity and involvement are the keys to community engagement. Community Engagement promotes consistent community relationships that are a step beyond conventional programmatic partnerships. Consistent community engagement is an integral and multi-layered part of the work culture of the arts provider; it is not activity based, such as in collaboration or marketing to diverse audiences, nor is it solely program-based. (Definition adapted from the National Guild for Community Arts Education.)

The implementation of policies, practices, protocols, processes, and systems within an organization which are meant to ensure individuals experience fair and just engagement, treatment, benefits, opportunities and that available resources are distributed without bias.


The extent to which an organization or group works to represent individuals from across the wide spectrum of human identity and difference.  Differences can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, nationality, language, religious beliefs, and socioeconomic status, etc.


The active, purposeful, and continuous engagement of the diversity of an organization or community in order to develop equality of access, well-being, and a sense of belonging for all members and participants. Inclusion is linked to overall organizational culture including but not limited to choices made about the type of programming an organization produces.


In-kind contributions are goods and services that are donated to the project by individuals or organizations other than the applicant. To qualify as matching resources, these items also must be listed in the expense budget as in-kind costs. The dollar value of these non-cash donations should be calculated at their verifiable fair-market value. In other words, in-kind gifts should be a mirrored in your budget (expense and income). For example, if you have in-kind printing worth $1,000 - it's in-kind income because it's a donation and it's an in-kind expense - what you would have paid for the printing.

Many applicants mistakenly designate as in-kind contributions items that are actually cash contributions. For example, applicants often list their own contributions to the project (such as supplies, rent, and staff salaries) as in-kind. These items are considered cash contributions. They do not qualify as in-kind because they are being "contributed" by the applicant, and not a third party. For an applicant's staff salary on a project to qualify as in-kind, an employee would have to donate his or her time beyond the regularly compensated work schedule.

In-Kind Matching Some Indiana Arts Commission grant programs allow applicants to use in-kind support for up to 50% of their match requirement (consult your program guidelines for matching requirements.)  To project and record in-kind support, here is a template that may help. If you use donated space, supplies, and/or volunteer services (i.e., in-kind contributions) as part of your match, you need to maintain proper documentation. For help in doing this, see our sample format for recording in-kind (third party) contributions. You may want to speak to your accountant or bookkeeper regarding recognition of in-kind support for the purposes of your financial statements
Persons with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act defines a person with a disability as one who: Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; Has a record of such an impairment; or Is regarded as having such an impairment.

Public Funding Imperatives
  • EXCELLENCE, because all should be able to experience the highest possible artistic quality.
  • AUTHENTICITY, because all artistic endeavors have value.
  • FAIRNESS, EQUITY AND ACCESS, because all should have the opportunity to benefit.
  • INCLUSION, because all should feel welcome.
  • EDUCATION, because all should be changed through the experience.
Underserved Populations People lacking access to arts programs, services, or resources due to isolated geographic location, low income, age, race/ethnicity, cultural differences, disability or other circumstances.