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National Endowment for the Arts program officers offer advice

Towson, Md. (April 21, 2010): At the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Grants Resource Center “Proposal Development Workshop” in February 2010, program officers Silvio Lim and Katja von Shuttenbach of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) offered their advice on preparing competitive proposals to the NEA.  Through a formal presentation, they discussed guidelines for NEA programs and offered advice on the nuts and bolts of preparing competitive applications.  Detailed notes on this are available through the Office of Sponsored Programs & Research (OSPR). Through an individual meeting with the OSPR, the two program officers further shared their advice and insights, some of which may come as a welcome surprise to prospective applicants:

  • As venues for presentation of the arts dwindle, artists will look to universities to provide venues.  This is an excellent time to apply for funding.  However, universities are cautioned that to be funded, projects must have impact outside the institution.  As a reminder, the next deadline for proposals submitted under the “Access to Artistic Excellence” program is August 12, 2010.
  • To be fundable, it’s not necessary that a project be big.  It should, however, be focused to make maximum impact.  Impact is shown not only by the size of the audience but also by depth.
  • Depth can be demonstrated by breadth of activities, and also by use of social technologies.
  • The NEA, in reviewing evaluation plans presented in proposals, is becoming more and more interested in outcomes.  Applicants should propose sophisticated methods for measuring impact.  Artists, and not only the audience, should be part of the assessment.
  • Emerging as an important factor in funded projects is the use of technology to reach audiences.  Applicants should propose innovative ways of using technology.  Program officers Lim and von Shuttenbach offered as an example the applicant that created an iPhone application for the project.
  • Most importantly, prospective applicants should contact the NEA when they first have an idea for a project.   Program officers are available to advise and guide applicants in more fully forming their project ideas. 

Office of Sponsored Programs & Research
212E Administration Building

Phone: 410-704-2236
Fax: 410-704-4494
E-mail: ospr@towson.edu

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