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Evaluation Criteria Definitions

Artistic Quality

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

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

The extent to which the applicant 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


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

AccessibilityThe 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. 
CommunityA collection of people, places and organizations that are connected through some external factor, such as geographic location or cultural affinity.
Community EngagementAn 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.)

Includes ALL the ways in which people differ, and it encompasses ALL the characteristics that make one individual or group different from another.

We are using the broadest definition possible. It includes not only race, ethnicity, and gender — the groups that most often come to mind when the term "diversity" is used — but also (and not limited to) age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, physical appearance, and geography. It also involves different ideas, perspectives, and values, and any way in which people might identify themselves.


Is the fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups.

Folk and Traditional Arts

The folk and traditional arts are rooted in and reflective of the cultural life of a community. Community members may share a common ethnic heritage, cultural mores, language, religion, occupation, or geographic region. These vital and constantly reinvigorated artistic traditions are shaped by values and standards of excellence that are passed from generation to generation, most often within family and community, through demonstration, conversation, and practice.


Is the act of creating environments in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate.


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 MatchingSome 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. 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.

Underserved PopulationsPeople lacking access to arts programs, services, or resources due to isolated geographic location, low income, age, race/ethnicity, cultural differences, disability or other circumstances.