This web site was copied prior to January 20, 2005. It is now a Federal record managed by the National Archives and Records Administration. External links, forms, and search boxes may not function within this collection. Learn more.   [hide]
National Endowment for the Arts  
About Us
  Partnership Agreements  
 

Application Review

Review Criteria

State Arts Agencies

The following criteria are considered during the review of applications:

  • Quality of the process by which the plan was developed.
  • Quality of the plan.
  • Quality of implementation including accomplishments in relation to the plan.
  • Quality of work with underserved communities.

Equal weight will be given to each of these criteria in recommending competitive award amounts for the Arts Education and Arts in Underserved Communities components.

In applying these criteria, panelists will take into account the following:

A. Basic State Plan Component

In relation to the above review criteria, past advisory panels have identified the following as characteristics of excellence in planning and implementation:

  • Inclusion: Many creative efforts have been made to engage the full range of arts constituents and the public, including potential partners, and to involve them in the planning process.

  • Appropriateness: The plan is grounded in and responsive to the particular elements of the agency’s environment -cultural, demographic, economic, geographic, and political.

  • Vision: The plan conveys a strong overall sense of the agency’s vision, mission, and goals.

  • Integration: The agency’s vision is evident throughout the plan and programs. All that the agency does clearly flows from its strategic goals.

  • Adaptability: The plan allows for flexibility to achieve objectives under a variety of circumstances.

  • Centrality of the Arts: The planning process, plan document, and implementation reflect the centrality of creativity, the arts, and artists including commitment to artistic excellence and merit.

  • Evaluation: Performance is measured regularly against clearly defined goals, objectives, and/or benchmarks, and the agency responds to the results of evaluation in the continuing development of its plan and programs. Constituents, stakeholders, and other outside experts are involved effectively in evaluation wherever possible and appropriate.

  • Leadership in Nationally Shared Priorities: The plan and programs of the agency demonstrate strong leadership in supporting and promoting learning in the arts, access to artistic excellence, and partnerships for the arts.

  • Collaboration: The agency seeks a wide range of opportunities to further its values through partnerships with other state agencies, state-wide organizations, local government, non-arts organizations, and through multi-state regional, national, and international cooperation.

  • Communication: The agency aggressively promotes awareness of the arts and public support through a variety of means including communication of the plan as a public document; crediting policies that lead to prominent acknowledgment of state and federal support; effective working relationships with the press and broadcast media; and through publications, Web sites, and other presentations that reflect high standards in creativity and design.

NOTE: For more information about characteristics of excellence in planning, see A State Arts Agency Strategic Planning Toolkit, published by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The toolkit is available online at www.nasaa-arts.org.

B. Arts Education Component

In recommending support for state arts education efforts, the Arts Endowment will consider the review criteria as they relate to arts education. In relation to the review criteria, past advisory panels have identified the following characteristics of excellence in arts education that supplement the characteristics of excellence for the Basic State Plan.

Inclusion:

  • A variety of education-related constituencies (e.g., students, teachers, teaching artists, parents, school and administrative boards) are included in the planning process.

  • Aggressive efforts reach broadly throughout the state, especially to underserved communities.

  • Educational partners, including departments of education and State Alliances for Arts Education, are involved actively in planning.

  • Educators are engaged directly in the assessment of needs and the development of the plan.

Appropriateness: The plan reflects the current needs in educational improvements in the state with a particular emphasis on arts education and is connected to the state (and, as appropriate, national or local) arts education standards.

Vision: The role of arts education is articulated clearly in the vision of the plan.

Adaptability: The plan allows for flexibility, including innovative efforts, to achieve objectives under changing circumstances, particularly in pre-K through grade 12 policy and practice.

Centrality of the Arts: There is a commitment to the arts as well as quality educational programs and practices.

Leadership in Nationally Shared Priorities:

  • Arts education, in the spirit – if not the letter – of the partnership goals for arts education, is a priority in the plan.

  • Effective strategies to advance arts education are in place.

  • Leadership, where needed to achieve the arts education goals, is in evidence.

Collaboration:

  • Partnerships have clearly defined roles and responsibilities.
  • All partners, including the state arts agency, are credited for their contributions.

C. Arts in Underserved Communities Component

In recommending support under this component, the Arts Endowment will consider the review criteria and characteristics with attention to the quality of the strategies for involving and serving underserved communities.

D. State Challenge America: Reaching Every Community Component

Proposals for the use of State Challenge America: Reaching Every Community component funds will be reviewed for consistency with the Challenge America: Reaching Every Community areas and for their potential to assist the Arts Endowment in its goal to provide access to the arts for all Americans.

Multi-Year Review

The Arts Endowment uses staggered, multi-year review for State Partnership Agreements. While each SAA is required to submit an application annually, those organizations that are determined to have addressed satisfactorily the requirements and review criteria receive three-year approval of their proposals. They are not required to submit another full-scale application, including all material necessary for panel review, for another three years. In the other years ("off years"), the application requirements are simplified greatly. Multi-year approval is subject to an agency’s continuing ability to carry out its approved plan. At the discretion of the Arts Endowment Chairman, multi-year approval may be revoked if state support is substantially reduced or if other circumstances threaten an agency’s ability to carry out its approved plan.

NOTE: In recommending action on State Partnership Agreement proposals, the advisory panel, the National Council on the Arts, and the Chairman of the Arts Endowment have a variety of options. These include but are not limited to:

  • Approval
  • Approval with requirement of an update after one year in an area of concern.
  • Approval for a period of one year only.
  • Approval contingent on a satisfactory response to a concern.
  • Deferral with a request for a new application or additional information to be reviewed at a later date.
  • Determination not to provide Arts Education or Arts in Underserved Communities funds.

Regional Arts Organizations

The following criteria are considered during the review of applications:

A. Basic Regional Plan Component

  1. Quality of the partnerships with member state arts agencies including benefits to member states and responsiveness to priorities that they identify.

  2. The identification of needs and opportunities through inclusive planning that involves member agencies and other potential supporters and constituents including artists and constituents in underserved communities.

  3. Evaluation of accomplishments in relation to clearly defined objectives.

  4. The quality of the plan including a clear, appropriate, and realistic mission.

  5. Provision for program funding decisions that are based on criteria that take into account artistic excellence and merit.

  6. Cost effectiveness of the operation.

  7. Evidence of success and the potential for success in developing a substantial and diversified base of non-federal revenue sources for regional and/or national programming.

  8. Evidence of success and the potential for success in extending resources and effectiveness through partnerships and other means.

B. NEA Regional Performing Arts Touring Program, a Challenge America: Reaching Every Community Initiative

In awarding funds that are available for this initiative, the Arts Endowment will consider the above criteria as they relate to:

  • Strategies for ensuring that a high proportion of activity takes place in underserved communities. (Currently 92 percent of the funds available for the Touring Program are designated for underserved communities.)
  • Strategies for increasing access through educational activities and community partnerships.
  • The involvement of community presenters and touring artists in needs assessment and planning.
  • Provisions for ensuring high quality and encouraging diversity.
  • Strategies for ensuring that activity is well distributed among all member states.
  • Strategies for ensuring that activity is responsive to the identified priorities of member state arts agencies.

Multi-Year Review

The Arts Endowment uses staggered, multi-year review for Regional Partnership awards. While each RAO is required to submit an application annually, those organizations that are determined to have addressed satisfactorily the requirements and review criteria receive three-year approval of their proposals. They are not required to submit another full-scale application, including all material necessary for panel review, for another three years. In the other years ("off years"), the application requirements are simplified greatly.

NOTE: In recommending action on Regional Partnership Agreement proposals, the advisory panel, the National Council on the Arts, and the Chairman of the Arts Endowment have a variety of options. These include but are not limited to:

  • Approval.
  • Approval with the requirement of an update after one year in an area of concern.
  • Approval for a period of one year only.
  • Approval contingent on a satisfactory response to a concern.
  • Deferral with a request for a new application or additional information to be reviewed at a later date.
  • Determination not to provide a regional Partnership Agreement.

What Happens to Your Application

Applications are evaluated according to the "Review Criteria" for their category.

After processing by Arts Endowment staff, applications are reviewed, in open session, by advisory panelists. SAA applications are reviewed in two stages. First, arts education specialists review the Arts Education component. Their comments and recommendations are forwarded to the second stage which involves an overall review of each agency's full application by a panel of present and former state arts agency leaders including at least one knowledgeable layperson. RAO applications are reviewed in full by a separate panel of state arts agency leaders and other individuals including at least one knowledgeable layperson. Panel membership rotates regularly. The panel arrives at recommendations, scores to be used in apportioning competitive funds, and comments that go back to applicants. Recommendations are forwarded to the National Council on the Arts, where they are reviewed in open session. The Council makes recommendations to the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. The Chairman reviews the Council’s recommendations and makes the final decision on all grant awards. Applicants are then notified of funding decisions.

Applicants are welcome to attend advisory panel meetings and meetings of the National Council on the Arts.

Contact the State & Regional staff at 202/682-5753 or 682-5430 if you have questions about the review process.

 
     
Apply for a Grant