Minigrant, project and operating grant applications submitted to the Mississippi Arts Commission will be reviewed and scored according to the following criteria. Other grant programs, such as Whole Schools and Core Arts, have unique criteria explained in their guidelines. Before you begin writing your application, be sure to read very carefully the following descriptions and definitions of the criteria. Make sure that each is clearly addressed in your application narrative and in your supporting materials.
Clearly and carefully addressing each criterion indicates thoughtful planning and a well-organized project or organization. Remember: this information is what the panelists will use when evaluating and scoring your application.
A goal is the desired end result of your efforts and energy. When you develop a program or a long-range plan, your goals should be clearly established in order for you to identify what you hope to achieve. Ask the question, "What end result are we trying to achieve through this project or through the work of our organization?" Examples of goals include to enhance the cultural life of our community through the arts or to celebrate Mississippi’s unique musical heritage. Your goals should be clearly identified in your proposal.
An outcome is the result of the actions or activities you take in pursuit of your stated goals; outcomes are tangible, measurable and time-specific. Examples of outcomes to the goals stated above might be present quality performances and art exhibitions at our community center or present performances and workshops by master blues artists at the annual spring festival. Typically, more than one outcome is stated to achieve a goal.
So, when you’re stating outcomes, think carefully about your goals and consider what measurable, tangible events need to happen in order to achieve these goals.
Now consider: What would indicate to your organization that you have achieved your outcomes? These indicators are characterized by the extent or degree to which an outcome is realized and by the quality or quantity of the outcome. To continue the above example, indicators might be an increase in the number of high quality arts events at the community center or an increase in attendance or the participation of more well-known blues artists at the festival.
When considering indicators, think about quality, quantity, extent, and degree to which outcomes must be achieved for your organization to come that much closer to realizing its goals.
Now that you have established goals and outcomes for your project or organization, what activities are planned to help you achieve them? Your task is to provide a clear and concise description of the activities planned for the grant period so that the panelists can easily visualize your project in action and understand how grant funds will be used. By doing this, no questions are left unanswered Panelists, Commission staff and board members understand exactly what you plan to do.
Be sure to identify
Artistic excellence refers to the standards applied to an individual or activity to assure high artistic quality. When planning project activities, consider if the individual selected to perform or conduct a workshop is a professional, accomplished artist who produces work of high artistic quality. If you are working with a consultant, consider if he/she has a track record of successfully providing desired services to similar organizations. When planning a performance series, ask yourself if it will produce led by professional artists and technical personnel. If your project does not directly support arts programming (like operating grants or conference Minigrants), please explain how grant funds will indirectly support artistic excellence within your organization, either this season or in the near future.
Many factors can impede access to the arts: a shortcoming on the part of your board or staff to welcome all members of your community; failure to make accommodations for individuals with a disability or to reach those who live in isolated rural areas or low-income urban areas; and presentation of a performance or exhibition in an out-of-the-way locale, to name a few. Making arts programs more accessible to the whole community served by your organization requires thoughtful and inclusive thinking and planning. It requires identifying who makes up your community and involving representative members from these identified segments (especially members of the cultural community whose traditions are featured in a project) in the planning, production and evaluation of project activities.
Examples of programming where organizations include their community’s underserved populations (those where individuals lack access to arts programs due to geography, disability, economic conditions, ethnic background, or age) include:
From board make-up to the planning of events to the actual participation in project activities, participation and access by all segments of a community is key to addressing this criterion.
If the planning, producing and evaluating of project activities does not reflect the demographics of your community, explain why they do not.
Your organization’s ability to successfully carry out the project and to show proper stewardship of state and federal money in accounting for grant funds is critical. Your application should be complete, including all required information and materials listed within the guidelines and should demonstrate
On your application form, be sure to pay careful attention to
Throughout your project and upon its completion, you will want to consider its success or perhaps how you can improve upon it now and next year. This is the all-important evaluation. Once your organizations activities are planned, think about how you will know, throughout the project or year and once it has ended, that you accomplished what you set out to do. Also, how can you show these accomplishments? In other words, what changes are you expecting as a direct result of your activities and when do you expect to see them? On what evidence will you rely? For help designing the evaluation component of your application, please refer to the Suggestions for Evaluating Projects and Programs, in the Grant Resources section.
Copyright 2006–2013 Mississippi Arts Commission