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Step 4: Cultural District Application

Step 4: Cultural District Application

An Indiana Cultural District is a well-recognized, labeled, mixed-use area with a unique, authentic arts and cultural identity. The IAC provides project funding for designated Indiana Cultural Districts, facilitates statewide collaboration through the Indiana Cultural District Consortium, and provides other capacity building opportunities for cultural district leadership.

This program typically accepts letters of intent in February of even-numbered years.

To apply, the applicant must

  • Be the municipal government in which the proposed cultural district is located
  • Submit a letter of intent through the IAC’s online system
  • Be recognized as a Spotlight Community


Letter of Intent (LOI) due Thursday, March 5, 2020, 4:30 p.m. eastern time
Support Team site visit or phone call April 27-May 1, 2020 (2 hour meeting)
LOI approval and Spotlight Community Recognition Late June 2020
Indiana Cultural District application due September 3, 2020
Indiana Cultural District public panel meeting Late October 2020
Indiana Cultural District Designation announcement Mid December 2020 (by email)
Indiana Cultural District 2022 Annual Report due February 2022 (TBA)

Get Started

Next Step > Designation and funding

Evaluation Criteria and Resources

  • Arts and Culture Identity
    Application Criteria Resource(s)
    The community has a unique, authentic arts and cultural identity, and it is articulated clearly. 
    The cultural district identity and experience is connected to the history or long-standing traditions and culture of the place and its residents. 
    The cultural district currently has a high concentration and a variety of types of arts and culture assets and programming available year-round and on nights and weekends. 
    The cultural district is recognizable and well-known (both physically and in reputation) to residents and visitors as a vibrant center for creativity, arts and culture. 


  • Cultural Development and Leadership
    Application Criteria Resource(s)
    Organizations and programming in the cultural district empower residents and visitors to learn about the arts and culture and express themselves creatively.  Arts Learning Experiences example: Tippecanoe Arts and Cultural District - Arts Intersect
    Artists (of any discipline or approach) are active in the cultural district such as offering programs, selling products, using studio space, etc. 

    Active artists activity: Where are artists in my community?

    Toolkit: Find an Artist

    Artists and arts and culture organizations partner with others to identify resources that will sustain their work and life in the community, such as small business resources, professional development, access to leadership or special funding.

    Partnerships for Arts Resources tips: Artists Thrive "I work with artists" self-assessment

    Toolkit: Health and Housing for Artists

    Arts, cultural and community collaboration: new and innovative cultural and arts assets (such as temporary or permanent art spaces, activities, local or visiting artists, etc.) within or nearby the cultural district. Innovation examples: Exhibit Columbus, Wabash Walls, Secretly Summit


  • Community Development
    Application Criteria Resource(s)

    An existing community development plan includes quality of life goals for those who live and work in or near the cultural district (i.e. access to workspace, housing affordability, access to public transportation, access to groceries, safety, access to a high quality school, etc.).

    Community development goals involving the cultural district will clearly support the community’s growth and wellbeing in measurable outcomes.

    An inclusive group of perspectives (i.e. diversity in race, gender, ability, grassroots, leadership, etc.) continually informs community development plans involving the cultural district.
    • Accessibility resources: here or contact the IAC accessibility coordinator, Stephanie Haines shaines@iac.in.gov 317-232-1274
    Local artists and/or arts and culture leaders have been and continue to be involved as partners in the ongoing planning and implementation of community development strategies that impact the cultural district and/or local creative ecosystem.


  • Economic Development/Tourism Development
    Application Criteria Resource(s)
    The local economic development plan incorporates strategies to support and build upon arts and culture assets in the cultural district. (LOI)  
    Local artists and/or arts and culture leaders have been and continue to be involved as partners in the ongoing planning and implementation of economic development strategies that impact the cultural district and/or local creative ecosystem. Artist partner toolkit: Guide for business districts to work with local artists
    Existing assets like historic structures are recognized, embraced, utilized and/or future opportunities to do so are included in a revitalization goals or efforts.  
    The cultural district partners with local and/or regional tourism such as in-kind marketing, participation on a guiding team, etc.  


  • Cultural District Management and Planning
    Application Criteria Resource(s)
    The cultural district has a current work plan with clear, measurable goals.
    A strong, sustainable leadership/management model exists to move the cultural district plan forward. Coming soon!
    A guiding team of relevant partners actively collaborates to move the cultural district's long range plan forward. This team includes local artists and/or cultural sector leaders, key public, nonprofit and private sector leaders, tourism, community and economic development partners, and others as appropriate. 
    Appropriate resources exist (i.e. funding, partners, etc.) to move the cultural district plan forward.  Coming soon!