This month's Artist Commissioning Program podcast asks, "What is it like to be a cultural gatekeeper?", featuring an exclusive interview with David Johnston, Executive Director of Exploring the Metropolis (EtM) and ACP Advisory Council Member.
We thought David was the perfect person to talk to because he's been on both sides of the gate: as an arts administrator, facilitating panels for the organization's performing arts programs, as well an artist, applying for opportunities--and yes, even receiving the occasional rejection letter (it happens to all of us)!
David can also speak to all three of ACP's disciplines: EtM's residencies focus on space for choreographers and composers, while his personal practice includes playwrighting.
In the latest episode, David and I unpack:
How artists are chosen for opportunities
What makes panelists tick (and cringe)
What makes a good ACP application
How to democratize the commissioning process
All this is done with the help of real, live excerpts taken from the inaugural ACP panel. You'll hear the art producers, who selected the four winning applications, talk about applications done well, and what didn't work so well.
how are applications evaluated, anyway?
The latest episode walks listeners through three of the ACP evaluation criteria that are pretty universal to all artist opportunities:
1. Artistic quality of previous work
What are the merits of the artists' existing body of work? And how do you talk about artistic quality, especially when the nature of the discipline and/project is very abstract?
2. Quality, clarity, and artistic merit of the proposed project
When evaluating new work that doesn't exist yet, the merits of the proposed project become an entirely other consideration. Why does this work need to be created? Is it clear what you're trying to do?
3. Overall project feasibility
Is this thing even possible to do? Maybe it's a great project, but how are you going to get it done? As David and I discuss, half the battle is simply showing you're aware of any potential obstacles that may arise.
Want to know more?
Want to know more about how ACP selects its candidates? Download the Artist Scoring Criteria Worksheet for Panelists - otherwise known as handout we give to our art producers to help guide their decision-making process.