Apply to be a Statewide Cultural District

The Statewide Cultural District Program is currently accepting Letters of Intent and Applications for designation in 2019. This program traditionally accepts applications every other year.

Program Overview

A cultural district is a well-recognized, labeled, mixed-use area of a community in which high concentrations of cultural assets serve as the anchor. Indiana Statewide Cultural Districts seek to make Indiana stronger through the arts and culture. Indiana Statewide Cultural Districts support community life and economic vitality.
There is currently limited project funding associated with Statewide Cultural District designation. State designated districts may also see increased tourism marketing and economic activities that come with being part of a branded program with a statewide emphasis. Managers and leaders of the state designated district are also invited to take part in convenings with their peers from around the state. 

Once a cultural district receives a Statewide Cultural District designation, the designation will last for the duration of the program unless the cultural district fails to comply with annual reporting requirements or the IAC Board of Commissioners determines the cultural district to no longer be viable for the community. Acceptance into the program signifies an ongoing commitment to the development and sustainability of the cultural district. Required annual reports will allow the IAC to assess the economic and community impact of the cultural district on the city, town or larger area it serves.

Review the 2019 Statewide Cultural District Guidelines here.


Letter of Intent due July 11, 2018, 4:30 p.m. ET
Application Due September 5, 2018, 4:30 ET
Panel Review TBD (Tentatively – Week of October 1, 2018)
IAC Site Visits As needed, October 2018
Designation Announcement December 2018

Eligibility and Criteria

Prior to applying, it is essential to completely understand ALL of the following requirements.  You must be able and willing to fulfill every requirement listed to be eligible for the Statewide Cultural District program. 

Applicant requirements and restrictions:

  1. The applicant MUST be the municipal government (city government, or if none exists, the county government, or both applicable governments if applying jointly) of the area in which the proposed cultural district is located. 
  2. Applicants must have a local cultural district designation by the governmental body in which the district is located.  The designation can be in process when the application is submitted but evidence of completion must be submitted before a state designation is officially given.
  3. Two or more cities, towns or counties that extend across a common boundary may apply jointly for statewide cultural district designation.  The above two requirements must still be met.

Applications will be reviewed and assessed by a panel of professionals with expertise in preservation, tourism, community affairs, etc. The following criteria will be used to assess each application. Read these criteria in greater detail in the guidelines.  

  • Community Profile/District Identity Components (20 points)
    The cultural district’s distinct, creative character and strong, lasting connection to the community is illustrated using supporting information like maps, photos, and narrative. 
  • Cultural Development (20 points)
    The cultural district is a vibrant center of culture. It sparks the development of cultural assets that are integral to the community. It also encourages the exploration of and participation in cultural experiences through arts and culture. 
  • Community Development (20 points)
    The community is strengthened through partnerships by engaging local residents in community-build events rooted in arts and culture. Community partnerships may include some combination of government, for-profit and non-profit organizations. 
  • Economic Development/Tourism Development (20 points)
    The cultural district is leveraged as an integral piece of the community’s economic development strategy. Strategies may include (but are not limited to) tax incentives, building revitalization tourism strategies, artist housing, etc. 
  • Cultural District Management and Planning (20 points)Cultural district development includes providing adequate management for the cultural district throughout its lifespan. The cultural district must have a current long range plan for developing and sustaining itself. The support and growth of the cultural district is ensured by the municipality and the partnering organization.

How to Apply

A Letter of Intent must be submitted though the IAC’s online system by July 11, 2018, 4:30 pm ET before an applicant can apply to the program. An application can be accessed upon LOI approval.

Applications must be submitted through the IAC’s online system by September 5, 2018, 4:30 pm ET.

IAC Online System –

Need help with the IAC's online system? Click here

Applicant Resources

Application Templates


Cultural Development Resources


Housing and Workspace Development

Creative Placemaking and Public Art

Historic Preservation

Economic Development

Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA)


Artist Development

Evaluation and Communication

Contact Us 

Anna Tragesser
Artist and Community Services Manager