To learn about the Tennessee Arts Commission, please review the Overview page.

What the Tennessee Arts Commission can fund:
• Projects that involve and promote Tennessee artists
• Visiting artists conducting master classes
• Specific aspects of workshops, festivals, and conferences
• Public performances, productions, and exhibitions produced by the applicant
• Exhibitions of art by Tennessee artists and artists from outside Tennessee
• Promotion, publicity, and newsletters
• Administrative and artistic staff support
• Consultancies and residencies for administrative and artistic activities

What the Tennessee Arts Commission can NOT fund:
• Capital improvements (buildings or construction)
• Programs not open to the general public
• “Seed money”
• Elimination of an accumulated deficit
• In-school, curriculum-based projects except under Arts Education
• Applications for colleges or universities that do not involve community planning and implementation
• Applications to begin, match, add to, or complete any type of endowment campaign or program

Project grant applications
• Should include quality arts projects
• Dollar-for-dollar match required, except for AE grants

PS grant applications (this does not include AE grants)
• Organizations may apply for 12% of operating expenses up to $40,000 (The Commission staff will verify amount request with audited expenses and report any variance, should there be any, to the panel)
• Eligibility (The Commission’s staff verifies eligibility prior to panel review):
– Funded 3 of past 5 years by the Commission
– Audit submitted with application
– Must have a full-time, year-round staff person
– Must submit a Long range plan, inclusive of the current and next fiscal year
– Reviewed biennially by panel

All annual grants, with the exception of Arts Education grants, require a one-to-one (1:1) dollar match of the requested Commission funds. In each application, on the budget expense pages (B1-B3) the middle column will represent the amount of funds the applicant has requested, and the left column represents the applicant’s matching funds. Generally speaking, the total amount in the left column should be equal to (for APS grants) or greater than (for PS) the middle column.

• All Commission programs, services, and facilities are fully accessible to all Tennessee artists
• No person on the grounds of race, color, national origin, disability, age, religion or sex shall be excluded from, participation in, or be denied benefits of, or otherwise be subject to discrimination of services, programs, and employment provided by the Tennessee Arts Commission and its contracting agencies

Things to make your participation easier and smoother
• Panel reviews will begin at 10:00 a.m. CST, so please try to arrive early enough to park your vehicle and enter the Citizen’s Plaza building (entrance on Charlotte Avenue) through security
• Lunch is provided
• Base ratings on value, quality, and excellence – not on the organization’s perceived need for the money
• Panel meetings are open to the public. Applicants are notified of date, time, and place
• Please contact us during the process if we may be of assistance

General Evaluation Criteria
It is important to read the entire grant, but much of the information contained in the narrative section will help you when evaluating how effectively the applicant has met the evaluation criteria. Below are some helpful tips on where to locate the information you are looking for within each application. Again, the overall impression that the entire application gives you is important, but you may find most of the answers in the narrative section of the application.

1. Evidence that the proposed project demonstrates artistic, cultural and/or educational value to the community being served
• Will be found throughout the application, but mostly in the narrative on pages A1-A5.
• Relative worth, merit, or importance
• Imply intrinsic excellence or desirability • Value is unique to each community
• Quality and excellence has always been important in the review of Commission grant applications – value is also important as a determinant of time, money and energy
• Examples of value include:
– Contribute to education and development of children
– Stimulate creative thinking/thought provoking
– Benefit local economy
– Provide entertainment and enjoyment
– Increase cultural understanding
– Provide opportunities to socialize
– Inspire personal creativity
– Increase connection to community
– Promote diversity and understanding
– Improve quality of life
– Foster pride in community
– Support lifelong learning for adults
– Preserve cultural heritage
– Recognize local artists
– Outreach to underserved artists and communities

2. Evidence that the proposed project advances the organization’s mission to the community being served
• The mission statement for the organization is found on page 2 of the application

3. Evidence that the organization understands and is responsive to the diverse interests and needs of the community it serves
• Ways to assess this include (though are not exclusive to) the diversification of the programming as described in the narrative, the diversification of the members of the board and staff of the organization, the types of partnerships the organization pursues and the audiences that the organization serves

4. Evidence that the proposed project supports the work of artists through payment of fees, services or appropriate benefits
• Ways to assess this can be found in the narrative of the application, and the supplemental materials

5. Evidence that the organization understands and acts as an advocate for the public value of the arts in the community
• Application contains narrative portion where applicants address their commitment to arts advocacy on the state and local levels. (Examples include: membership in Tennesseans for the Arts, attendance at Arts Advocacy Day, legislative receptions, and letters to elected officials)

6. Evidence that planning procedures are comprehensive, inclusive and communicated
• Found throughout the application, but specifically in narrative questions 1, 2, and 3

7. Evidence that the organization understands principles of documentation and evaluation and results are used to guide future planning and programming
• Evaluation is instrumental in developing and sustaining good work. Evaluation is for the organization’s benefit. Organization should plan to use evaluation methods that will help them improve their projects/organization in the future.
• Evaluation can be the most effective advocacy tool an organization can create – hard evidence in tangible form to place in the hands of legislators, policy makers, journalists, teachers, principals, parents and the general public.
• Example Evaluation methods include:
– Collect audience data for future marketing and promotional efforts (zip codes, home addresses, county names on license plates, etc.)
– Count Web site hits, use online survey tools (SurveyMonkey, SurveyGizmo, Zoomerang), etc.
– Collect verbal and written audience feedback, published reviews, comment cards, student thank-you letters, etc.
– Accurately count audience and/or participants for comparison
– Administer a pre- and post-test to participants (adults and children) to determine impact
• May be found in the narrative of the application in project planning (pages A1 & A2 for APS, and A1-A3 for PS) and, specifically on page A6 for APS and A5 for PS.

8. Evidence that the organization understands and demonstrates the value of public and private partnerships
• Throughout the narrative, but specifically, page A-4 question 6 for APS applications, page A4 for PS applications

9. Evidence that the organization demonstrates financial stability and a broad base of financial support
• Varied funding sources (i.e., contributions from individuals, corporate donations, earned income (such as ticket sales), fundraisers, rentals, grants from varied sources.
• Grants from sources in addition to the Commission; organizations should not become too dependent on one source of funding.
• Organization’s financial statement will help determine this

10. Evidence of the organization’s ability to carry out proposed project based on history of Commission funding
• The Deputy Director (or appropriate staff member will report on this during the panel session)

11. Evidence that the organization’s application is well planned, addresses all questions, and is correct and complete in all information provided

Thank you for serving as a panelist and don’t hesitate to call the program director associated with your panel meeting if you have any questions.

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