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The Application

Vermont Arts Council Grant staff are here to help you. Whether you have a question about eligibility, a need for assistance with our online grants management systems, or a desire to discuss a potential project, we encourage you to reach out.

We’ve also put together these tips for Completing a Strong Grant Proposal and tips for Submitting Strong Work Samples to help you get started.

All grant applications should be submitted via the Council’s online grants management systems.The Council reserves the right to reject late, incomplete, or ineligible applications.         

Artistic Excellence and Merit

The National Endowment for the Art’s enabling legislation requires that artistic excellence and merit be part of the review criteria for grant awards using federal and/or matching state funds.

While excellence looks different to everyone and the quality of art is not an objective measure, the following are some guidelines for artistic merit and excellence.

for individual artists

  • artist demonstrates strong technical skills and craft in the execution of their work
  • work reveals something about the world, communicating unique perspective(s), inviting the viewer to question, discover, explore new ideas—the storytelling is compelling
  • opportunity represents an artistic challenge or stretch, there is risk involved
  • exploration feels relevant and deeply considered
  • artist has an authentic relationship/connection to the content/community involved in the work
  • artist shows a commitment to working in this form
  • combination of aesthetics, technical skill, and delivery is engaging emotionally, intellectually, spiritually
  • artist demonstrates an authenticity in their work
  • the personal voice and vision of the artist comes through their work
  • individual artists are on a par with their cultural peers with respect to technical proficiency in their native styles and forms

for organizations and community projects

  • the project serves the organization’s community or constituency
  • there is potential impact on artists (including evidence of direct payment) and the artistic field
  • proposed performance measures have vitality
  • there are plans for documentation and distribution of project results, as appropriate
  • application demonstrates ability to carry out the project based on such factors as the feasibility of the budget, the quality and clarity of the project goals and design, the resources involved, and the qualifications of the project’s personnel
  • where appropriate, there is potential to reach underserved populations such as those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited
  • racial and other diversity on the board, leadership, staff, artists served, and participants in the programs and audiences is demonstrated

Guidelines for artistic excellence and merit modified from RE-Tool: Racial Equity in the Panel Process, distributed by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and Excellence in Community Engagement from ArtsEngaged.