Arts Funding Project Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

    Guidelines and Forms


    Project Guidelines

    Education Projects. The purpose of this program is to support more effective involvement of artists and arts organizations in the life-long learning process of all citizens. The program seeks to provide residents with a greater opportunity to participate in quality visual, literary, and performing arts experiences by one or more of the following:

    • Developing audiences through art in education, programming for non-traditional audiences in non-traditional venues, forging non-traditional links in the community
    • Providing new arts experiences
    • Integrating art in all aspects of life, targeting those not fully participating in the arts such as the business community, senior citizens, social service agencies, etc.
    • Increasing the interaction between arts organizations and artists in the education of youth
    • Enhancing classroom teachers’ ability to teach about and with the arts

    Examples of Education Projects…classes, workshops, seminars, symposiums, in-school programming, literary publications, etc. If you are not sure that your proposed project fits within the guidelines, contact OCA staff.

    Presentation Projects. The purpose of this program is to maintain and enhance the quality of arts services and to broaden the artistic scope of the city’s cultural activities. The program seeks to provide residents with a greater opportunity to be exposed to traditional artistic activities as well as new and imaginative endeavors in visual, performing and literary arts by one or more of the following:

    • Assisting local nonprofit arts organizations in producing and/or presenting quality arts programs
    • Increasing the availability and range of quality arts experiences throughout the community
    • Developing a broader audience base for a range of creative and artistic experiences
    • Promoting excellence, diversity and vitality in Columbia’s cultural environment

    Examples of Presentation Projects…concerts, performing arts series, special events, exhibits, etc. If you are not sure that your project fits within the guidelines, contact OCA staff.

    Combined Applications – Education & Presentation. Organizations with distinct programming in both presentation and education that wish to request support in both areas, must submit a combined application. The purposes of both programs, as listed above, still apply. See below for criteria that must be addressed as well. A combined project budget should be submitted, not two separate project budgets. Organizations preparing a combined application are encouraged to consult with the OCA staff and/or submit for a draft review (see application assistance).

    Evaluation Criteria

    Scoring Rubrics

    For Education Proposals Only
    Do not address these points if you are preparing a Presentation Proposal. Educational Value, 30 points: The Commission’s determination of educational value is guided by the following:

    • The extent to which the project offers opportunities for meaningful dialogue between artists and audiences
    • The extent to which the project offers opportunities for audiences to participate in the process of creating art
    • A description of what will be different about the audience’s perspective of the art form at the end of the project
    • A plan for evaluating the effectiveness of the project
    • Artistic quality 

    For Presentation Proposals Only
    Do not address these points if you are preparing an Education Proposal. Artistic Quality, 30 points: The Commission’s determination of artistic quality is guided by the following:

    • Qualifications of key artistic and technical participants of the project
    • Representative supplementary materials (images, audio/video samples, brochures, reviews and articles)
    • A plan for evaluating the effectiveness of the project

    For Combined (both Education & Presentation) Proposals
    Follow these guidelines only if you are preparing a proposal that includes both Education and Presentation programming.

    • Educational Value, 15 points: Address the points listed above in “Education Proposals” to assist the Commission in determining the educational value of your proposal.
    • Artistic Quality, 15 points: Address the points listed above in “Presentation Proposals” to assist the Commission in determining the artistic quality of your proposal. 

    For All Proposals
    These points should be addressed in all proposals, Education, Presentation and Combined.

    Community Involvement, 30 points: The Commission will consider how the project targets presently unreached or underserved audiences, how the community supports the project, and how the project increases the availability of quality arts experiences for all residents of Columbia.

    Management Ability: Administrative & Financial, 40 points: The Commission will assess the capability of the applicant organization to effectively manage the proposed project to a successful conclusion by:

    • Financial stability of the organization(s), based upon accurate financial reports, audits, project budgets that are complete and development of a broad base of supporting funding sources
    • Additional revenue source(s) other than the application request
    • Administration of previous city-funded projects
    • A plan for effective promotion and publicity that is an integral component of the proposed project
    • Evidence of how the proposed project fulfills the stated mission(s) and long-range goals of the organization(s)
    • Qualifications of project director(s)

    Applications that are not prepared according to stated guidelines will be assessed a 10-point penalty.