Review Criteria and Tips
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
- Application narrative, digital work samples, and additional publicity materials from the artist/company 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. See the Guidelines 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 groups from communities that your organization seeks to serve. Community engagement 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. See Program Requirements for definitions.
- Outreach activities are a key element in a funded project's design
- Applications that address the rationale for the outreach activity and describe the community partnerships in place to successfully 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.
TourWest staff is available Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Mountain Time to review applications, answer questions, and provide feedback to applicants.
- 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.
- Outreach activities are a very important part of the TourWest program. Explain them in the most thorough manner possible.
- If the artist is unable to perform the outreach activity, please provide an adequate explanation. Note that your application may be viewed as less competitive.
- Review the examples of successful TourWest grant applications that are posted on the website.
- 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.
- Write your grant as if you were explaining the project to someone who is unfamiliar with your organization or mission. Test the clarity of your responses by inviting people outside your organization to review your application.
- Review panelists may not be familiar with your community. Provide the necessary background information on your city and the underserved audiences that you are trying to reach. 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.
- Be sure you successfully upload all of the required materials, artist's contract, proof of nonprofit status, presenting seasons, and 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.