Narrative Instructions

Review Criteria

Applications are reviewed and funding adjudications are made by using the following criteria to evaluate each application:

  • Artistic Excellence (20%) – Quality of artist/company/writer
  • Project's Artistic Merit (35%) – Quality of project
  • Audience Development/Community Involvement (10%) – Quality and degree of audience development efforts and community participation
  • Accessibility (10%) – Quality and degree of facility and program accessibility
  • Organizational Capacity/Evaluation (10%) – Presenter’s ability to carry out and evaluate the project
  • Priorities (15%) – Quality and degree of efforts to address South Arts’ priorities

    This sample application from a past grantee demonstrates a clear, succinct, and well-organized application that was evaluated very highly in the review process. Download Sample (PDF) >> This is the tool used by the reviewer(s) to score applications.  Download Evaluation Rubric/Matrix (PDF) >>

In addition to organizational and project information, you will need to provide a narrative addressing the following:

I. Description

(Maximum 500 characters including spaces) Provide a one-sentence description of the project which South Arts will use in publicity if a grant is awarded, e.g. “XYZ Ballet Company will conduct a three-day residency, with two master classes, two workshops for older adults, a Q&A with the artistic director and local choreographers, and a public evening performance at the ABC Theatre.”

II. Schedule

(Maximum 1,250 characters including spaces, approximately ¼ page) List the chronological schedule of activities during the project including what, when, where, who, with/for whom; include ticket prices where applicable. NOTE: If your schedule is not complete at this time, provide as much detail as is known about how many activities will take place, and which community members or groups will be involved.

III. Artistic Excellence (20%)

Work samples should represent the type of work the artist/company/writer will perform/read during your project. For audio/video samples, include instructions identifying the particular selection to be played. Promotional videos, montages and poor video quality will prevent the reviewer(s) from being able to make an assessment on this criterion and may result in a low score. If sample is part of a larger publication/book, please mark the passage/section to review.  NOTE: No narrative response is necessary. Evaluation on this criterion is based on the submitted work samples (i.e., audio, video, and printed materials).

IV. Project's Artistic Merit (35%)

(Maximum 5,000 characters including spaces, approximately 1 page) Describe the project; include a detailed description of the performance/reading and explain why this artist/company/writer was chosen. Explain why this project is important to your community. The educational and outreach component is the requirement that participants be engaged in learning activities that have lasting impact. Describe the educational and outreach component and any additional community activities; describe the anticipated impact for participants.

V. Audience Development and Community Involvement (10%)

(Maximum 2,500 characters including spaces, approximately ½ page) Audience development includes assessing audience and community needs, cultivating audiences, creating a plan for engagement, and developing effective partnerships. Describe the audiences and community segments that you are targeting and engaging with this project. Explain why they were selected for involvement in this project, how they are involved in planning, and what community partners are involved. Describe any plans to broaden or diversify your audiences and any additional efforts to reach those that lack access to arts programs, services, or resources. Provide your marketing plan for target audiences.

VI. Accessibility (10%)

(Maximum 2,500 characters including spaces, approximately ½ page) Grantees are required to ensure accessibility to funded programs to people with disabilities. Beyond these minimum ADA requirements, describe actions you will take for programmatic and communications accessibility (e.g., planning/advisory committees include people with disabilities, large print programs/labels, American Sign Language interpretation, audio description, specific marketing strategies, etc.). Provide specific strategies on how you will reach those that lack access to the arts due to disability for this project specifically (not your organization’s work in general).

VII. Organizational Capacity and Evaluation (10%)

(Maximum 2,500 characters including spaces, approximately ½ page) Describe your organization’s ability to carry out the proposed project. Provide a summary of your organization’s presenting history. Describe the evaluation methods you have in place to learn how you are, or are not, achieving your goals.

VIII. Priorities (15%)

(Maximum 2,500 characters including spaces, approximately ½ page) South Arts has identified three priorities that are connected to our strategic plan and goals. Identify which priority (described below) your project will address and explain how your project connects to this priority. NOTE: If your project fulfills one of these priorities exceptionally well, your project is just as likely to receive maximum funding as a project that moderately meets all three priorities. Please be realistic about what you are able to achieve.

Projects must address at least one of the following priorities:

  • Engagement of targeted underserved audiences: K-12 students, seniors (individuals who are aging), and/or individuals with disabilities
  • Engagement of an artist or company that resides in South Arts’ region
  • A residency of three or more days


We have a new question that will be used for informational purposes only and will NOT be considered during the application review process. South Arts is committed to making business continuity planning a priority in the arts, and encourages all arts organizations to develop and maintain readiness plans to ensure their sustainability. A readiness plan is a combination of documents, processes, and training that formulate what your organization will do should the unexpected occur. If you have a readiness plan, you will be asked to describe your organization’s plan (Maximum 1,250 characters including spaces, approximately ¼ page).