Guidelines > Review Criteria and Grant Tips




| Review Criteria | Panelists Suggestions |
l Examples of Successful Grant Narratives l

 

Review Criteria
Although no single project is expected to fully address all of the criteria outlined below, preferential consideration will be given to applications that most adequately meet the following criteria:


 
  • Artistic Excellence. Digital Worksamples and any additional publicity materials from the artist/company uploaded to your application should help panelists determine the quality of the artist/company. The relevance and potential impact of the artist/company in relation to your community will also be considered. Please see the "Guidelines" section for excluded performance categories.

     
  • Presentation of programs to underserved and/or culturally diverse audiences. Through TourWest, WESTAF and the NEA aims to encourage the presentation of performing arts programming to culturally diverse audiences and those that do not typically enjoy ready access to the performing arts. In order to understand local need and interests, WESTAF advocates working directly with individuals and community groups from communities that your organization seeks to serve. Community development and participation will be a key component of a successful TourWest grant application.

     
  • Quality of the outreach activities. Each project must include at least one community outreach activity (lecture-demonstrations, open rehearsals, educational in-school activities involving students with the artist, etc.). The following items are not considered as qualifying outreach activities: 1) a performance for students that does not include an educational component about the art form or a pre-performance lecture; 2) a guest artist's residency at an institution of higher education; 3) activities at an institution of higher education for which the majority of the audience are students and/or faculty; 4) tickets to the public performance offered on a complimentary basis; and 5) a lecture or demonstration that precedes the public performance.

     
  • Outreach activities are a key element in a funded project's design. Applications that address reasons as to why the outreach activity is important to the community in question and the community partnerships that are in place to execute the outreach activity will be given a distinct advantage.

     
  • Collaboration with other presenters. In order to reduce costs and make artistic opportunities available to a broader audience, WESTAF encourages all presenters to take advantage of collaborative opportunities such as block booking, presenter networks, and booking conferences. Although block booking is not always possible, the degree of effort that the applicant expends in order to obtain the efficiencies available through partnerships and collaborative efforts with other presenters is considered in the panel's evaluation of an application and project.

     
  • Thoroughness of the project's planning. The project's overall planning, marketing strategy, evaluation process, and proposed impact on the presenting organization's future seasons will be evaluated by a panel of qualified individuals from the field.
     
Panelists Suggestions
  • Do not try to write the grant in one day. Projects that receive funding are often those that are the most clearly articulated.
  • Make sure you understand the guidelines and evaluation criteria before you begin to write your proposal.
  • Assess your entire season and evaluate which of your presentations are best suited to the TourWest program. TourWest grants are used to fund particular projects, so ensure that the project you select is the best fit for a TourWest grant.
  • Outreach activities are a very important part of the TourWest program. Please explain them in the most thorough manner possible.
  • If the artist is unable to perform the outreach activity, please provide an adequate explanation.
  • Review the examples of successful TourWest grant applications that are posted on the web site.
  • Allow plenty of time for the project's development, and work with all of your partners in the planning and preparation of the application. Successful projects are often those that show a strong connection between the artist, presenter, and community.
  • Provide specific information related to your involvement with communities and community groups whenever possible; for example, provide the names of community organizations that you are working with on the project.
  • Answer all questions in a clear, concise manner. Be honest and positive. Focus on what your project is about and how it will affect your community and any underserved audiences.
  • Write your grant as if you were explaining the project to a complete novice. Test the clarity of your responses by including a layperson among the reviewers of your application.
  • Review panelists may not be familiar with your community. Provide them with the necessary background information on your city and the underserved audiences that you are trying to reach. For instance, answer the questions with details and examples related to your project and provide specific information about the outreach activities.
  • Testimonial statements endorsing the quality of an artist or company are strongest when made by a recognized group or individual from outside of the applicant's organization.
  • Upload all of the required materials, artist's contract, proof of non-profit status, presenting seasons, artist's supporting materials.
  • Double-check your budget calculations.
  • Keep a copy of the application and support materials for your files.
  • The artist's contract or letter of intent should reflect the entire project, not just the date of performance.

 

Examples of Successful Grant Narratives

Example TourWest Application Narrative 1

1. Provide a brief introduction to your community (location, demographics, economics, etc.). How is it underserved culturally, economically, and/or geographically? What specific underserved population(s) are you attempting to reach with this project?

Our organization mainly serves Caldwell, ID (40,873) and the towns of Parma, Wilder, Middleton, Marsing, and Homedale. A wide variety of crops are produced from seeds to sugar, and wine. Trailer manufacturing is the main industry. Schools, the hospital, and Albertson College are the area’s major employers. Many people commute 9 miles to Nampa (81,354) or Boise (213,503), 26 miles. Half of Caldwell families fall below the median income of $30,843 compared to $42,432 in Boise. Hispanics are 51% of the students in the Caldwell School District. Throughout the area, the majority of students qualifies for free or reduced lunch, some schools at 80%. A minority Asian population has a significant history in the Treasure Valley and to Ontario, Oregon. The underserved target audiences are Japanese-Americans, elementary and college age students, young families (including Hispanics and families with adopted Asians), and martial arts enthusiasts.

2. Describe the public performance portion of your project, including date(s) and location(s) of the performance(s). How does the public performance address the needs and interests of your targeted underserved audience? Describe the involvement of these individuals and/or community partners in the planning and implementation of the project.

On Tuesday, September 25, San Jose Taiko will perform in Jewett Auditorium. Co-presidents of the Boise Valley Chapter of the Japanese-American Citizens League: Rob Hirai and Tamea Takeshita and Janet Komoto of the Snake River Chapter effectively cover western Idaho and eastern Oregon. The Rev. Joshin (Dennis) Fujimoto of the Idaho/Oregon Buddhist Temple in Ontario, OR, will publicize the program to his members. The Japanese language teacher at Boise State, Tetsuya Ehara, the high school teachers in the valley, and even Akio Egawa, the Consul General of Japan who is located in Portland, have offered to help us reach local Japanese-Americans. The last taiko group we presented attracted 200 campus students from Albertson College, so we will also target students from Treasure Valley Community College in Ontario, Boise State, and Northwest Nazarene. Students do not go to many fine arts programs in larger venues because of the cost. Hispanic families associated with music and folklorico dance, those with adopted Asian children, or those who attend martial art academies will receive family rates. This is the first event of the 2007-08 season, so we want to engage as many newcomers as possible. All audience members will be touched by the dedication, physical endurance, harmony, and collective spirit that is necessary for excellent taiko presentations. We will also enlist the help of Japanese and Asian travelers to provide a display for the foyer of the auditorium.

3. What are the outreach activities for the project as they have been planned thus far? Include the expected location for the activities and the anticipated participants. How have these individuals and/or community partners been involved in the planning and implementation of the outreach? Explain the benefit to your community that the outreach will provide.

On Monday, September 24, SAN JOSE TAIKO will present school programs at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. in Jewett Auditorium for elementary students 3-5th grade in Caldwell, Middleton, Parma, Homedale, Marsing, and Ontario, OR. Lyla Folkins, Director of the 21st Century Program, and Pat Kawaguchi, special education teacher, will develop a study guide in cooperation with the artists. They can motivate a broad spectrum of families to take full advantage of the opportunity to learn more about Japanese culture. In addition to the school performance, local taiko members will station themselves at various locations inside and outside Jewett to let students have an up-close look at various drums as they return to their buses or walk back to school. Japanese-American students who live in the agricultural area we serve will feel especially proud to see their traditions honored by the artists on stage and experienced by their classmates. San Jose Taiko is dedicated to providing exposure to students as they learn the history of taiko and its links to Japan and the local Japanese-American communities. Our newspapers and TV report an epic number of stories relating to gang violence and methamphetamines. Monique Duarte, board member and a Mexican folklorico teacher, believes this program will impart a positive image to many students of the 2nd and 3rd generation who have been losing respect for their heritage. Perhaps some young people will be inspired to make positive life choices.

4. Describe your artistic choice for this project. How was the artist selected (i.e., by community committee, seen at a juried showcase, etc.)? Why is this artist worthy of public funding? How do the performer(s) or their work relate to your targeted underserved community? What is the relevance and potential impact that the artist(s) will have on your community?

The 10-member Selections Committee began their deliberations after the Arts Northwest Booking Conference. An ethnic group is usually included. San Jose Taiko is one of only a handful of professional taiko groups in the U.S. They are one of the oldest and most respected, with hundreds of performances for school age children and the public. Our presentation of Portland Taiko in 2002 was successful, so our committee believes it is time for another. By working on this project, our organization will renew its communication with the Japanese-American families, those who have adopted Asian children, martial arts students, and teachers and students in neighboring communities. Hispanic families may also be persuaded to broaden their understanding of traditional art to that of another country. Janet Komoto of the local Kawa Taiko said, “People enjoy watching and hearing taiko because it's not only a traditional art, but in the United States, it has been ‘souped up’ to make it more interesting to listen to and watch. It is so powerful, dynamic, and spiritual.” There is an increased interest and awareness of things Asian among the general population as people interact with Asian Americans or travel to Asian countries. Our organization desires to have a strong start to the 2007-08 season with an event that appeals to a younger demographic. It will draw attention to our other ethnic and classical programs and provides a way to identify potential board members.

5. How do you plan to market this event? What strategies will you utilize to evaluate the success of the event and/or your audience development goals?

San Jose Taiko will be featured in the season brochure and the fall “Fans of Fine Arts Newsletter.” Press releases and PSAs will be sent to the media. We will provide information for a TV news story. Our goal is to provide an exciting event for an audience that usually does not come to Caldwell. There are only 34 Asians in the Caldwell schools, but there are 500 in the Snake River area, and even more in the Boise area. We believe that we have community partners that will make a difference and enjoy filling all the seats. Tickets will be available where the people go, such as the Buddhist Festival in Ontario, Indian Creek Festival in Caldwell, the Canyon County Fair, Asian markets, as well as the web site, phone, and door. The revenues, the written comments of students and audience members, the number of Oregon and Boise license plates, and the enthusiasm of the audience will determine the success of our efforts. Our Selections Committee and board members will make the final evaluation.

6. Is this artist block-booked within the western region? Provide information on any block booking activities that you engaged in while coordinating this project. Your explanation should include the efforts undertaken, the extent of your collaboration, and specific partnerships with other presenters and/or presenters' consortia in your region.

Our organization was a member of SWAP before it became Arts Northwest, and has attended its conferences for many years. Showcases, forums, and meeting other presenters have helped us develop our organization and provided knowledge of the broad field of presenting. We also have attended workshops and conferences sponsored by the Idaho Commission on the Arts. We communicate on a regular basis with other Idaho presenters and are block booking San Jose Taiko on a date which coordinates with Billings and Hamilton, MT, Sandpoint, ID, and Auburn, WA.

Example TourWest Application Narrative 2

1. Provide a brief introduction to your community (location, demographics, economics, etc.). How is it underserved culturally, economically, and/or geographically? What specific underserved population(s) are you attempting to reach with this project?

Portland is the largest city in Oregon, with over 2 million in the metropolitan area, including Vancouver, Washington. The region is largely white and middle-class, with a growing Hispanic and Asian population. The underserved include the Hispanic, Asian and African-American communities. Portland also attracts large numbers of homeless and at-risk youth, and there are many service organizations helping these individuals. The outreach project associated with the Stephen Petronio Co. will focus on serving specifically at-risk, emotionally disturbed, and behaviorally delinquent teenage boys.

2. Describe the public performance portion of your project, including date(s) and location(s) of the performance(s). How does the public performance address the needs and interests of your targeted underserved audience? Describe the involvement of these individuals and/or community partners in the planning and implementation of the project.

The public performance is an evening of dance choreographed by Stephen Petronio, one of the important American choreographers who is famed for his inventive collaborations with groundbreaking musicians and visual artists, such as Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, and Cindy Sherman. The evening will feature a work called "Bloom," with choral music specifically composed for Petronio by Rufus Wainwright, the cross-generational singer and songwriter whose sound harkens back to the traditions of classic American popular music, cabaret and opera. The choral music, set to poems of Emily Dickenson and Walt Whitman, will be sung live by the Pacific Youth Choir of Portland. Due to the specific focus on youth involvement in this evening, our organization will sponsor a workshop that involves Petronio and his company working with at-risk youth to teach them movement and to design self-portraits that will be on display in the lobby of the theater during the performance. Our community partners for this engagement will be Mia Hall Savage, Director of the Pacific Youth Choir and Lynda Walker, Associate Director of St. Mary's Home for Boys in Beaverton. In particular, Ms. Walker will help organize the visit of the Petronio Company to St. Mary's and work with the councilors to enlist the boys in the movement and drawing projects.

3. What are the outreach activities for the project as they have been planned thus far? Include the expected location for the activities and the anticipated participants. How have these individuals and/or community partners been involved in the planning and implementation of the outreach? Explain the benefit to your community that the outreach will provide.

We have an ongoing relationship with St. Mary's Home for Boys, a residential treatment facility in Beaverton for at-risk teenage boys who are emotionally disturbed and behaviorally delinquent. The project with Stephen Petronio will take place in two phases. The first involves the boys creating self-portraits of themselves. It is expected that this drawing project will take at least 2 months for the boys to realize. The number of boys participating will depend on each boy's social and interpersonal skill level. The second phase involves the visit of the Stephen Petronio Company to the Home on Tuesday, March 4. At least 100 boys will be in attendance. The company will perform an excerpt from "Bloom," and Stephen's company will discuss their professional and personal lives with the boys. They will then participate in a movement workshop. The Petronio Company will then interact one on one with the boys, sitting with them during lunch. A number of boys will also be invited to the evening performance of "Bloom" the following evening. Based on previous activities that we have sponsored with St. Mary's and similar facilities for at-risk youth, the benefits lie in 1) exposing these boys to an art form, namely dance, that they are not familiar with, 2) getting them personally involved in the creation of art through self-portrait design and movement, and 3) demonstrating the healing power of the arts through these boys' active involvement in artistic creativity.

4. Describe your artistic choice for this project. How was the artist selected (i.e., by community committee, seen at a juried showcase, etc.)? Why is this artist worthy of public funding? How do the performer(s) or their work relate to your targeted underserved community? What is the relevance and potential impact that the artist(s) will have on your community?

Stephen Petronio is one of the bright lights in American dance. Our organization presented his company in its initial season in May 1998, and has since brought the company back twice as well as co-commissioned two important works, "Strange Attractors" and "City of Twist." Just recently, we presented Sydney Dance Company performing Petronio's "Underland" to ecstatic audience and critical response. Stephen Petronio's worldwide reputation is on an upward trajectory. He creates important work that weds innovative, physical choreography to fascinating scores by today’s exciting composers and songwriters. Our organization’s co-founders saw "Bloom" on a program at the Joyce Theater in New York a year ago and were extremely impressed with the fusion of movement with Rufus Wainwright's moving score, set to poetry by Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, sung by a large youth choir. Petronio's artistry is unquestionable and deserving of public funding support. It was Petronio's original goal to go into various communities to inspire young people to design and create sets for "Bloom." Due to lack of funding, he was not able to. However, that inspired us to approach St. Mary's Home for Boys to have the boys create self-portraits of themselves and display them in the theater lobby. These portraits, combined with the live performance by Pacific Youth Choir, should greatly inspire young people in our audience to appreciate art and involve themselves in the arts.

5. How do you plan to market this event? What strategies will you utilize to evaluate the success of the event and/or your audience development goals?

The performance will be listed in the new season brochure, which will be distributed beginning this April throughout all of Oregon and Southwest Washington. A poster and handbill will be created that will be similarly distributed. Season ads will begin in June, and ads specifically about the performances will begin in early February 2008, that will appear in the Daily Oregonian, Willamette Week, the gay bi-weekly Just Out, and the Portland Mercury (focused on the Portland club scene). We will also do email blasts and web-marketing. Success will be measured through feedback received from St. Mary's Home on the effectiveness of the outreach activities-- along with feedback from the audience at the evening performance. We will also solicit feedback through our Forum on our website. It will be extremely important to assess the number of young people in the audience, and our organization will do that through observations of the audience and speaking with young people in the lobby.

6. Is this artist block-booked within the western region? Provide information on any block booking activities that you engaged in while coordinating this project. Your explanation should include the efforts undertaken, the extent of your collaboration, and specific partnerships with other presenters and/or presenters' consortia in your region.

This artist had its major tour in the current 2006-07 season, and thus far the company will be making a run-out to us next season. However, we are currently helping the company find other presenters in the area to present the company before or after the performance dates in our area.