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Panelist Criteria for Project Grants

March 13, 2015

Our project grants are open, and a lot of folks are already hard at work on their project pages. In addition to the extensive help text and articles we’ve provided in our guidelines to help you make your project page the best it can be, this post outlines the instructions that we provide to our panelists for review.

Keep in mind that of our three criteria (Artistry, Impact, and Capacity), Artistry is of principle importance.

We hope that the below can provide insight into our process, and can help guide you as you create your own project pages:


The artistic strength and accomplishment of the project-related media

We realize that evaluating artistry is by its nature a matter of interpretation and that there may be several ways to think about artistic excellence. Given the diversity of the pool, below are some questions we asks our panelists when considering artistry:

  • Does the work compel your interest? Does it make you want to keep listening/watching? Does the work embody a distinctive and authentic artistic voice?
  • Does the work feel fresh?
  • Does the work show highly developed craft or technical excellence?

Note: If a project has many confirmed collaborators with important artistic skills that our panelists feel weren’t captured within the three work sample spaces provided, we encourage them to look if that collaborator has confirmed their participation. If so, panelists are encouraged to visit that collaborator’s profile for additional media. If your collaborators have not confirmed their participation, panelists may take that into account in their review.


The extent to which the proposed project positively impacts the communities and participating artists involved.

Taking the project as a whole, what is its impact on the participating artists/composers and the community/audiences involved? Below are some questions that panelists may find useful when considering impact:

  • Is the project a particularly meaningful opportunity for the composer, community, organization, and/or musicians?
  • Does the project represent an opportunity to build new relationships and/or strengthen existing relationships with audiences, organizations, performers, collaborators, and/or community members?


The applicant’s ability to execute the project as proposed

This criterion is not scored, but instead there are two questions:

  1. Can they do it? (Yes/No/Maybe) – Please note: Collaborators that display on a project page means that that collaborator has confirmed their involvement in the project (i.e. their letter of commitment). If an important collaborator has not confirmed their participation, panelists may take that into account in their review.
  2. Is the Request Amount Appropriate? (Yes/No)
  •  Scoring:
    • Panelists are asked to listen to/view each media sample and read the public and private descriptions. They’re asked to provide artistic and impact scores on a scale of 1 to 6; 6 being the strongest and most accomplished and 1 being the weakest and least accomplished. Panelists are also required to leave comments.
    • Panelists are asked to express their full range of views by utilizing the entire range of scores between 1 and 6.
    • We want to know what work panelists feel most passionate about. To accomplish this we ask panelists to use the score of 6 sparingly as an indication of the very best artistry/impact as they see it.
  • Other points
    • We’ve striven to assign the panel a set of projects that best matches their expertise. Note: panelists are assigned based on the taxonomies selected by the project organizer when they created their project pages, so organizers should select these categories mindfully. Choreographers and artists active in dance will evaluate dance projects, jazz artists will evaluate jazz projects, and so forth.
    • If panelists feel that they cannot make a judgment from the media samples provided on the project page we encourage them to use additional media or information (i.e. websites) which may be found in the collaborator profiles.
    • Panelists are instructed to listen to any length of the sample and/or various movements as long as they feel they can evaluate the merit of the work fairly. Note: Applicants may provide excerpted samples if they so choose, or may provide cue points for recommended listening within the work sample descriptions. While PR videos are effective sometimes, they can be difficult for panelists when evaluating the artistic merit of a project.
    • While we accept a wide range of audio and video styles and qualities, be aware that exceptionally poor recording and performance quality may be taken into consideration – if the quality of sound is so distorted or video is so shaky that it’s difficult to ascertain the artistic product, that can impact a review.
    • Panelists read the work sample description so please be sure to include additional and/or contextual information on the work and/or passwords for protected media.
    • Panelists remain anonymous throughout the review period and any comments used for project feedback will remain unattributed.