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Resources on Program Evaluation and Performance Measurement
Through its Office of Research & Analysis (ORA), the NEA pledges to promote public resources that can help grantees and other organizations to document the effectiveness and impact of their arts programs.
The following list, while not exhaustive, offers information and practices supporting program evaluation and performance measurement in the arts.
As ORA intends to update this list periodically, we welcome suggestions of other resources—e.g., reports, metrics, toolkits, or other materials—that can help arts organizations to design and implement their own evaluation and measurement strategies.
Contact: NEA Office of Research & Analysis
Program evaluations are systematic studies conducted periodically or on an ad hoc basis to assess the design, implementation, or outcomes of a program. They are often conducted by experts external to the program, either inside or outside the program’s lead organization, working closely with program managers. While professional evaluators are often best suited to conduct these studies, arts organizations may reach out to regional colleges and universities to explore whether faculty, students, coursework, curricula, and affiliated research centers can offer technical support for evaluation projects.
- As a nationwide association of professional program evaluators, the American Evaluation Association curates a collection of online resources, including a searchable “find an evaluator” directory and a collection of links to multiple web-resources related to evaluation, including online, multi-chapter documents focusing on the "how to's" of evaluation-related subjects.
- The W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Evaluation Handbook is an introductory guide to planning and conducting project evaluations.
- The W.K. Kellogg Foundation Logic Model Development Guide introduces the staff of nonprofits and community members to the underlying principles of logic modeling. Logic models present assumptions about how a program's actions are supposed to achieve intended outcomes; it often forms the basis for planning an evaluation.
- The Foundation Center’s GrantCraft service offers some evaluation resources, including this guide to using a Theory of Change to guide planning and evaluation.
- Evaluation Roundtable , a network of foundation evaluation leaders in the U.S., Canada, and the UK. Includes case studies and other resources about evaluation strategies and processes.
- Better Evaluation , an international collaboration to improve evaluation practice and theory. Includes resources on how to plan and manage an evaluation study.
Resources for Evaluating Arts Projects:
- Americans for the Arts’ Animating Democracy: Resources for Evaluating the Social Impact of the Arts offers evaluation tools, frameworks, and resources to help assess the impact of the arts on social change.
- Getting Started with Program Evaluation : A Guide for Arts Organizations, prepared by the Georgia Council for the Arts and National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, was designed to support arts organizations planning and conducting evaluation studies for the first time.
- The Cultural Development Network , which has a formal partnership with the Centre for Global Research at RMIT University Melbourne, features outcome measures and methods specific to the arts and culture.
- Slover Linett Audience Research’s Who’s Coming: Respectful Audience Surveying Toolkit is a free, do-it-yourself guide for collecting high-quality demographic information about arts audiences.
- The Institute of Museum and Library Services’ Evaluation Resources offers links to general evaluation guides, project planning tools for museum and library services, a partial bibliography of resources for measuring outcomes in museums and libraries, and a list of common evaluation methods and terms.
- The Evaluation Journey – A Toolkit for Cultural Operators from the European Network of Cultural Centres was produced to support organizations with limited budgets and limited human resources for evaluation.
Resources for Evaluating with Equity in Mind:
- The Equitable Evaluation Framework offers guiding principles for aligning evaluation practices with an equity approach. Additional resources on this site include a framing paper .
- Doing Evaluation in Service of Racial Equity is a three-part series of practice guides developed by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation that show how to incorporate racial equity as a core value into evaluation.
- Using a Culturally Responsive and Equitable Evaluation Approach to Guide Research and Evaluation by Mathematica describes an approach to integrating diversity, inclusion, and equity principles into all phases of evaluation.
Some Noteworthy Examples of Program Evaluation in the Arts
The Turnaround Arts Initiative Final Evaluation Report describes and analyzes impacts from the pilot cohort of the Turnaround Arts schools program at the end of its second year. Summaries cover: 1) a theory of action and program “pillars”; 2) an evaluation design and research questions; 3) a discussion of program implementation, and 4) outcomes and trends in school reform indicators and in student achievement.
The Arts Infusion Initiative, 2010–15: Evaluation Report marked the first large-scale evaluation of the Chicago Community Trust’s Arts Infusion Initiative, designed to: (1) assess the degree to which the project was achieving its intended purposes and (2) generate actionable information for promoting effective Arts Infusion practices.
The Adding It Up: An Evaluation Report of Arts on Chicago & Art Blocks report presents findings from two of Pillsbury House + Theatre’ s “creative community development” projects, Art Blocks and Arts on Chicago . The evaluation focused on whether and how these projects increased levels of residents’ community attachment, agency, and arts and cultural access.
Our Town: A Framework for Understanding and Measuring the National Endowment for the Arts’ Creative Placemaking Grants Program
The Porch Light Program Evaluation Report presents findings from a four-year evaluation of the Porch Light Program, a collaborative endeavor of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services. Porch Light creates public murals that seek to transform neighborhoods and promote the health of the neighborhood residents and individuals who help create the murals.
Leaders of nonprofit organizations and their funders are often interested in monitoring and reporting program accomplishments. Performance monitoring produces information that can be used to support day-to-day operations and to help organizational staff make strategic and budgetary decisions. For example, theaters often track ticket sales by performance and season, while museums may monitor changes in visitor attendance by exhibition. Performance monitoring allows organizations to respond proactively to the immediate and longer-term results of their arts programming.
Resources for Monitoring the Performance of Arts Organizations
The Public Value Measurement Framework – Measuring the Quality of the Arts presents the results of pioneering work in Australia to develop standardized performance indicators for arts and culture.
The Urban Institute has published a set of Candidate Outcome Indicators for Performing Arts Organizations and suggested methods of data collection.
Arts Performance Monitoring Examples
- Art & Business: Measuring a Museum’s Performance represents a case study that applies a Balanced Scorecard approach to an art museum.
- The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies provides an online repository of state arts agency (SAA) performance measurement reports to share as examples of the many approaches toward applying and presenting performance metrics.
Stay Connected to the National Endowment for the Arts
- Introduction to Creative Placemaking
- Shared Values
- Partnership Basics
- Partnership Challenges
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Evaluation may not be your first priority as a creative placemaker, but it’s a critical part of any project—it can even be fun!
As evaluations work to acknowledge success, they provide encouragement to participants and partners, lay out a roadmap for improving programs, and establish accountability. Simply put, it’s imagining what difference you intend to make, and then collecting the stories, images, opinions, and other evidence that show how things are going.
Use the resources in this section to help you incorporate holistic documentation and evaluation from the beginning, so when it’s time to share your successes with stakeholders you have the data and materials you need.
Crafting an Evaluation Plan & Measuring Impact This video focuses on project evaluation. Evaluation can feel academic or daunting, but it can be one of the fun parts of the project and process. Simply put, it’s imagining what difference you intend to make, collecting stories, images, opinions, and other evidence that shows that you’re making a difference (or not), documenting that evidence with stories, images, and numbers, and reflecting on what it all means. Urban designer and planner, Lynn Osgood, will share on what makes a solid evaluation plan!
Evaluations work to:
- Acknowledge success respects and encourages participants and partners
- Improve programs
- Provide accountability for funders and partners
- Give cause for celebration
- Evaluation need not be mysterious. Simply put, it’s imagining what difference you intend to make, collecting stories, images, opinions, and other evidence that shows that you’re making a difference (or not), documenting that evidence with stories, images, and numbers, and reflecting on what it all means.
Evaluations help you answer:
✔ Are we doing OK? ✔ What difference did we make? ✔ What did we achieve? ✔ What worked well? ✔ What could we do better next time? ✔ What’s next?
Defining evaluation terms
As we outline the basic steps of organizing evaluation efforts, we begin with defining the essential terms.
- Activity : The individual project or program components that people participate in (e.g. a community dinner)
- Outputs : Generally, answer the question “What difference will the project make?”. These changes are framed in terms of the specific actor (i.e. participants, residents, families, organizations, systems, etc.) and the specific area of change (i.e. awareness, actions, capacity, attitudes, etc.)
- Outcomes : These are the quantifiable results achieved by a project—they identify specific activities done by a specific group of program participants. An output could also help to quantify outputs produced, or programming offered. Because outcomes are a basic measure of quantity, they are necessary for understanding the success of a program. Though outcomes alone are not sufficient.
- Short-term outcomes : the immediate effects of the project
- Intermediate outcomes : initial effects that linger over time (e.g. “In the first six months of our project we saw....”)
- Long-term outcomes : the longer term goals of the project may be difficult to identify early on, such as decreased neighborhood violence, improved economic viability, or increased social cohesion, but that can be referenced when framing earlier outcomes
- Indicators : These are qualitative (numbers) or quantitative (description) measures of a specific outcome. Indicators are capable of being measured, through observation, conversation, reflections, etc., but also seek to answer the question, “How will we know when we’ve achieved our outcome?”. Often an outcome can have several different indicators associated with it.
Through the NEA creative placemaking program, Our Town, grants supporting art and design are awarded to transform political, economic, and social outcomes of communities. A logic model and theory of change are two tools utilized by program managers to describe and explain how a program is expected to proceed. The Our Town theory of change and logic model were developed through analysis of preexisting data on grantee applications and reports, interviews of national experts in the creative placemaking field, and study of place-based programs and resources. Our Town operates under a theory focused on systems change, as part of a larger nationwide effort to promote arts and culture in community development. The logic model for Our Town describes the program operation on the individual grant level. This includes everything from the context for the project, activities introduced during the project, and the final outcome of the specific project.
For more information please refer to the Our Town Theory of Change .
The evaluation process
Once you have the right person or people in place to help with the evaluation process, you can begin walking through the different steps:
- Identify what you know already : Chances are, you already know quite a bit about the project, its context, and even the initial impacts it’s making. Even the project grant application itself can be a good source for forming the initial narrative. What you already know will become part of the larger story that the evaluation process will help to tell.
- Determine what you need to know : At this stage, the project team should discuss the kinds of outcomes you imagine seeing and the specific audiences the final report / story will need to speak to. Different audiences will need information in different formats. Policy makers might appreciate more quantitative results, funders might like a mix of qualitative and quantitative information, and local community advocates may feel the stories of impact are the most powerful. The audience you are trying to reach should inform the kinds of impacts you look for and how you present them. Creative placemaking evaluation isn’t a controlled scientific investigation. It’s about finding out specific information that will be helpful to specific people.
- Story gathering
- Focus groups or group conversations
- Polls and surveys
- Social media analytics
- Mapping including asset mapping and network mapping
- Organize, analyze, and synthesize findings : At the end of the project — or even during the project — you’ll want to step back and look at the information you have. What story is beginning to emerge? Is there a pattern to the types of impacts that you’re seeing? Are certain types of evidence more helpful than others? This can be one of the most exciting parts of the evaluation process — take the time to work through ideas as a larger project team.
- Team Members — can reflect on lessons learned, and find ideas for next steps, or the next project.
- Community Members — can incorporate the project narrative into the larger neighborhood narrative and find insights for future challenges they would like to address;
- Q&A with Elected Officials — can bring public recognition and support for future efforts.
- Creative Placemaking Practitioners — can learn from the project and become inspired for ideas they might want to bring to their own local communities.
Evaluation in plain English
What changes will your program make in the world?
- What evidence would you accept?
- Did your program make the difference you intended?
- Outcome-based program evaluation
Community Engagement is a Core Asset:
- Evaluating and
- Telling your story about Creative Placemaking
The Evaluator as an Artist:
- Creativity in research design
- Creativity in interpretation of findings
- Creativity in presentation of findings
- Creativity telling the story of result
Measuring evaluation impact
Things to consider:
- What is the change the community wants to see?
- How will we know when/whether the change happens?
- What do we need to measure to know?
- How can we measure?
- Who will measure?
Best practice: involving community and the arts in evaluation While the project evaluation may be about impacts of this art-infused work on your community, it is also possible to bring the arts into the evaluation process. Ideas include:
- Holding a community dinner at the end of the project and giving attendees guiding questions to reflect on together.
- Facilitating a creative process for community members to express the changes they felt such as with storytelling, theater/improv exercises or visually.
- Train student youth to interview community members as a part of a short film project.
- Create a walk through the neighborhood that captures changes that people see (or that will happen in the future) and work with a graphic artist to record those in a “neighborhood map.”
Best practice: simultaneous evaluation At the beginning of any creative placemaking effort, the project team should address how evaluation will be incorporated alongside the artistic process. To avoid duplicating efforts, or asking too much of the community members, it’s essential to harness everyone’s efforts for multiple purposes. Here are some ideas on how to integrate evaluation throughout the artistic process:
- Record interviews done as part of the community-focused artistic process in order to have access to them later as part of your larger evaluation /reflection process.
- When they emerge in the field, have the artist(s) text or email insights to the person in charge of capturing information. You’ll be able to search for these emails later to have a record of what your thoughts were in the moment, and you’ll help support a longer-term conversation about what is happening within the project.
- Hire and train local youth and community members to interview folks that participated in the project, asking what peoples’ impressions were and how it impacted them. You’ll learn about the impacts they discovered and hear their own insights into the project. Through their eyes, your team can also learn things they may have been unaware of before or about the scale of personal impact the project had on them.
Best practice: how to share your data
- Make sense of numbers quantitative data analysis
- Make sense of words & images
- Qualitative data analysis
- Reflect on what you’ve learned
- Summarize into key lessons learned and recommendations for improvement next time
- Create a word cloud using field interviews (Figure 1)
- Develop a colorful pie chart with survey responses (Figure 2)
EVALUATION WORKSHOP PRE-TEST & POST-TEST → Download the Worksheet
DESIGN YOUR EVALUATION PLAN → Download the Worksheet
Curated for you by the LISC team, the resources below provide models of best practice, insights from our Resource Team, and other extras we hope will be useful to you as you navigate your creative placemaking projects.
Resources on Program Evaluation and Performance Measurement , NEA Office of Research and Analysis Compiled by the NEA Office of Research and Analysis, this site includes introductory resources on program evaluation for arts organizations, sample evaluation efforts from past Creative Placemaking projects.
Continuum of Impact Guide, Animating Democracy This digital guide from Animating Democracy defines the social and civic outcomes that creative placemakers aspire to in their work. Use this guide to help you craft an evaluation plan that’s clear, realistic, and sensitive to the intangible outcomes that often and importantly define creative placemaking work.
Crafting an Evaluation Plan & Measuring Impact How does a creative placemaking evaluation plan work and what does it measure? This webinar explores best practices in creative placemaking evaluation techniques and help participants create or refine their own evaluation strategies for their projects.
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Art Based Evaluation (ABE)
- https://www.betterevaluation.org/sites/default/files/GOAL_ArtBasedEvaluation.pdf File type PDF File size 283.18 KB
This guide, authored by Margo Charlton for Artreach Toronto, provides detailed guidance on using creative activities in conjunction with other evaluation methods in order to gain a clearer picture of the impact of a project/program.
'Objectives of Art Based Evaluation (ABE)
- Encourage multiple ways of expression.
- Express complex ideas.
- Encourage participants to share their feelings.
- Embrace the idea that we are all creative beings.
- Build on the creativity fostered in the project.
- Lay the ground for more in-depth responses
- through questionnaires or interviews.
- Give a quick snapshot of where a group is at.
- Generate materials (poems, drawing, collages, etc.)
- to be used in final reports.'
(ArtReach, p. 5)
Charlton, M. ArtReach Toronto, (n.d.). Art Based Evaluation (ABE) . Retrieved from website: https://artreach2016.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/goal-artbasedevaluation.pdf
'Art Based Evaluation (ABE)' is referenced in:
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Managing the partnership
When all partners meet to decide on aims and objectives, they are likely to have many different agendas. It can be very difficult to get all partners to agree a set of aims, with objectives that can be realistically achieved through one project. It may well be that some aims and objectives will not be shared by all partners.
Compromise is nearly always necessary. Try to:
● discuss all partners’ agendas openly
● make sure you understand each other – you may think you are speaking the same language, but specialist terminology can be confusing
● focus on one or two overarching aims for the project, and encourage partners to express their different agendas through specific objectives
● agree objectives and measures of success which are acceptable to all, even if, they are not shared by all partners
● be realistic about what can be achieved
● be as specific as possible - what exactly are you trying to achieve?
● wherever possible, include participants in initial planning
Find practical guidelines, tools and techniques for evaluating public engagement activities
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Arts Evaluation and Assessment pp 1–9 Cite as
An Introduction to Arts Evaluation
- Rekha S. Rajan 3 &
- Ivonne Chand O’Neal 4
- First Online: 26 October 2017
Program evaluation is a relatively new field of study, both for its discipline-specific value and broader purpose. In this chapter, we discuss the development of evaluation as a necessary component of organizational development and grant writing, and expound these ideas to the arts. Since funding for arts programming is generally smaller than other fields, there are additional challenges for arts evaluators to consider when choosing appropriate models for data collection and analysis. Finally, we discuss the current trends in evaluating the arts, the challenges faced by organizations of all sizes, and introduce the varied and unique contributions to this edited collection.
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Rajan, R.S., O’Neal, I.C. (2018). An Introduction to Arts Evaluation. In: Rajan, R., O'Neal, I. (eds) Arts Evaluation and Assessment. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-64116-4_1
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A Step-by-Step Approach for Evaluating Your Arts Program's Outcome
Step 1: prepare your planning model, step 2: develop your evaluation questions, step 3: assess whether an evaluation is feasible, step 4: plan your evaluation, step 5: identify data collection instruments, step 6: collect data, step 7: analyze data, table 5: sample evaluation data, step 8: present findings and disseminate lessons learned, step 9: use evaluation findings, step 10: think about conducting follow-up.
How to Assess Your Art Program: Part 1
How to Assess Your Art Program is a two-part series covering an assessment process that will help you gain meaningful data to support your teaching and your art program! Read Part 1 below, and read Part 2 here .
At the end of each school year, how do you really know if your art program is effective? Are students learning what you intend? Is the curriculum you are teaching developmentally appropriate? Are students retaining important concepts?
If you can’t answer any of these questions, maybe it’s time you started to think about a program evaluation to assess your art program.
What is the difference between a program evaluation and a student progress assessment?
A program evaluation measures the overall curriculum and overall student performance knowledge. It helps the teacher drive their instruction, curriculum, and teaching strategies to improve the art program.
For example, if every year you’re finding your students don’t understand the concept of tints and shades in 2nd grade, it’s time to figure out why. Perhaps it’s not developmentally appropriate for a 2nd grader to be able to mix tints and shades. Or, perhaps you aren’t covering the topic as thoroughly as you could. A program evaluation can tell you all of these things and help you teach the concept more effectively or tweak your curriculum for the following year.
Student Progress Assessment
Student progress assessments, on the other hand, track individual student progress. Based on that individual data, a teacher can make changes or tweaks to the student’s educational plan. Individual student data is sent home to students and parents.
So, which is a better choice for the art room?
Because we see so many students each week, it would be nearly impossible to track individual student progress. For this reason, I strongly recommend a program evaluation for the art room. A program evaluation gives you meaningful data you can use and also validates your art program through data. In today’s day and age, we know if you don’t have data, you will fall behind.
In short, a program evaluation is a manageable solution to obtaining the data your administration craves. Plus, it also provides data you can use to inform your teaching without going through hours and hours of grading or individual monitoring.
Follow these simple steps to write an effective program evaluation for your entire art program or one of your art courses.
Step 1: decide what to assess.
When writing a program evaluation, you first need to decide what the hallmarks of your art program are. To do this, list the 3-10 most important things that you want students to know after leaving your classroom.
In my district, we have Power Standards that break down the most important concepts, making it easy for us to choose what we will assess. If you don’t have Power Standards, I highly suggest you write some to focus your work. Some call them learning outcomes or benchmarks, same thing! If you’d like to see an example of our Power Standards, you can click the image below to download the PDF.
Step 2: Decide How to Assess
The next step is choosing what type of assessment you want to use to assess the Power Standards. There is so much information in the Assessment in Art Education course that covers all of the different types of assessments you could create, so I will just keep it simple and tell you what our department decided to use.
We use a multi-tiered approach with small performance-based assessments, a few-fill-in-the-blanks, and some constructed responses. The bubble test of yore is long gone because it royally stank at truly assessing what our students were learning in the art room. We decided on a simple performance for each Power Standard that we teach.
Here is a sample below of what a simple performance might look like, broken up into 3 trimesters (all on one page, isn’t it handy?) This sample represents the 2nd grade Power Standards.
Do you see the 1, 2 and 3 at the bottom? These numbers represent each trimester. Students complete one section each trimester, and we have the data to record and store on one sheet of paper. We collect all the data from each trimester to get our final scores.
Now, you may be wondering why we don’t just use the students’ artwork or projects as assessments. Why create something additional? The answer is because, often, a teacher is helping a student along the way during a project. A true assessment should be the student independently performing the task.
Step 3: Decide When to Assess
Deciding when to give the assessment is an important factor. A few years ago, we were asked to give a bubble test in art at the end of the year . Yes, a whole year’s worth of content on one bubble test. The kids come once a week for 45 minutes. It just wasn’t fair. They couldn’t accurately remember what happened back in September. Not to mention, the assessment was about facts, not art performance. Now, we give our assessment at the end of every trimester term. There are just two questions, three times per school year. The assessment only takes 15 minutes and uses a simple checklist for grading (more on grading in Part 2 ). This way, the information is fresher in the students’ heads and paints a more accurate picture of what they learned that term.
Whew! That was a lot of information. I’ll just let you digest.
Stay tuned. In the next installment , we will cover how to grade the assessments, record your data, and use the data to both drive your art program and advocate for it!
Do you think a program evaluation would be helpful to you?
What questions do you have?
Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.
Jessica Balsley is AOEU’s Founder and a former AOEU Writer and elementary art educator. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.
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Public art: a guide to evaluation.
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Public Art: A Guide to Evalution, is the culmination of ixia’s work on public art evaluation as seen in the other items. Just published in January 2009, this is their most recent publication. Best used by professional evaluators, the authors assume a certain knowledge base and novices may be challenged by this. The guide has four main sections: one on why evaluation is valuable, the next on ixia’s Matrix tool, the third on ixia’s Personal Project Analysis tool, and the fourth on indicators. In making the case for conducting evaluation, the authors offer some reasons for evaluation and why people often resist it. They also show evaluation as part of a learning cycle with a clarifying graphic. They then define two types of evaluation: outcome/summative evaluation – which includes identifying outputs, outcomes, and impacts – and process/formative evaluation. The second section is designed around ixia’s Matrix tools (which is also presented in Evaluation Toolkit, Research on Public Art: Assessing Impact and Quality, and Public Art Evalution Tools: Matrix and Personal Project Analysis); the guide walks readers through the Matrix. The Matrix encourages collaborators to have facilitated conversations in order to better understand their values (both shared and contrasting) as they embark on public art collaborations. The Matrix has four main sections and asks users to score the project on each subset dimension: Artistic Values [visual/aesthetic enjoyment, design quality, social activation, innovation/risk, host participation, challenge/critical debate] Social Values [community development, poverty and social inclusion, health and well being, crime and safety, interpersonal development, travel/access, and skills acquisition] Environmental Values [vegetation and wildlife, physical environment improvement, conservation, pollution and waste management-air, water and ground quality, and climate change and energy], Economic Values [marketing/place identity, regeneration, tourism, economic investment and output, resource use and recycling, education, employment, project management/sustainability, and value for money]. There is a nice, brief discussion of each of the “values” on page nine. The third section is about ixia’s Personal Project Analysis tool, used for process evaluation of a particular project or program. It is a guide that walks users through the purpose of the tool, when and how to use it, and its objective – to create a dynamic internal picture. It is two pages long and asks users to score, on a scale of zero to five, their views of the project they wish to assess on various dimension: importance, enjoyment, difficulty, visibility, control, initiation, stress, time adequacy, outcome, self-identity, others’ views, value congruency, progress, risk, absorption, competence, autonomy, and legacy. Users are then asked to score their support for the project. Next, users are asked a series of general, open-ended questions about the project. Finally, users answer open-ended questions about the context of the project. The last main section of this evaluation guide discusses indicators. While other ixia publications had little to say on the topic, this guide defines indicators, presents challenges with selecting them, and gives advice on identifying them. The authors delve into this discussion, though they do not offer examples. They direct users to government performance indicators as a baseline source, but that is where the discussion ends. As the Matrix tool is designed around “values” that seem quite similar to indicators, there may be an issue of British versus American terminology at hand. While ixia seems to mention indicators and then drops the topic, the authors may use indicators and “values” interchangeably, but American readers may be left guessing. At the conclusion of this guide is a nice summary graphic/table that presents the various stages of a project – project development, start of project, project duration, and project completion – and the elements that should be involved at each stage – the what, when, who and how. Appendix 1 presents explanatory notes on the four values (and their subsets) in the Matrix tool. The appendix elaborates on each subset item with brief definitions. Appendix 2 is a table on some ways of collecting qualitative evidence – such as questionnaires, interviews, discussions, media, diaries, participatory techniques, observation, and others – and it briefly offers the advantages and disadvantages of each. It is a handy summary of qualitative design approaches. Appendix 3 is a lengthy section on government performance indicators. As ixia is based in England, this section may offer some useful ideas about indicators to American readers, but some of it may not be relevant as the governmental information available differs by country. Ixia, the public art think tank, is a registered charity and regularly funded organization of Arts Council England. Its aim is to provide an independent and objective view of the factors that affect the quality of artists’ work in the public realm by undertaking research, enabling debate and effecting change at a strategic level. Its corporate strategies are the pursuit of objectivity and the building and transfer of knowledge and competencies. Ixia sees the spectrum of artistic practice represented by the term public art as encompassing art commissioned as a response to the notion of place, art commissioned as part of the designed environment and process-based artistic practice that does not rely on the production of an art object. It defines public art as a process of engaging artists’ creative ideas in the public realm. In 2004, ixia commissioned OPENspace, the research center for inclusive access to outdoor environments based at the Edinburgh College of Art and Heriot-Watt University, to research ways of evaluating public art. Much of the content of this guide has been informed by that academic research. However, the guide’s emphasis and content has also been shaped by feedback from ixia’s Evaluation Seminars and fieldwork conducted by ixia and consultants who have used its Evaluation Toolkit.
- What is Social Change?
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- How Do We Begin?
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Design and Review Criteria for Public Art
Like art itself, public art projects come in many forms. The resultant aim can be permanent or temporary art; it can be to create a site-specific piece or integrated work; it can be to use a sole author with a singular voice, or many collaborators that offer multiple viewpoints; or it can be art meant to be housed indoors, or a work intended to be left outside to weather the elements.
Furthermore, public art brings with it several specific issues that are best settled before a project's onset. Among these concerns is establishing a clearly defined and consensual criteria for reviewing proposals and selecting the project. There also are the matters of deciding where to site the finished artwork and outlining a maintenance and conservation plan.
Click on any below to go straight to that section.
Options for site-specific artworks, options for community-based art projects, temporary art projects, review guidelines, site selection, placement criteria, maintenance and conservation, when is temporary art appropriate, case studies.
There are a number of different types of art projects: site-specific, community-based, and temporary. Each has a slightly different commissioning process, detailed below.
- Artists can be commissioned to create a stand alone artwork, or
- The artist, architect and engineer could work collaboratively to integrate the artist's ideas into the building/facility, or
- Funds can be pooled for community-based public art projects, and
- The architect must work cooperatively with the artist and provide the artist, in a timely manner, with all necessary plans, blueprints, drawings, and other such materials that the artist deems necessary to his/her work.
Once an artist has been selected and put under contract, the selection committee should meet with the artist to discuss ideas for the artwork. If a maquette or specific design proposal was part of the selection process, the selection committee should identify issues and concerns about the proposed piece that need to be addressed during the design process.
The artist should also begin any background planning work, community outreach, and/or site visits as outlined in their proposal or as necessary (as indicated by the selection committee or specified in the RFP). When an artist is part of a design team, it is recommended that the project architect participate in community outreach and public education programs and site visits, rather than just the artist alone.
Before the artist begins the actual design process, he or she should meet with the public art program staff to discuss the following:
- Art project timeline (vis-a-vis the construction schedule);
- A schedule of meetings and presentations (to the community, project architect, commissioning agency, etc.);
- Any limitations and/or constraints intrinsic to the project or required by the city or commissioning agency; and
- A review of general guidelines and goals for the work of public art.
The project selection committee should convene as necessary, but at least once at the project conceptualization stage and once at the end of the pre-final design phase, in order to review submitted designs, maquettes, and design proposals. These proposals should include fabrication, installation, and maintenance requirements, as well. If approved by the selection committee and public art program staff, the artist's designs would be forwarded to the Public Art Advisory Committee (PAAC) for review and approval. Art projects with budgets greater than $50,000 could be sent to the city council as well for approval (optional, based on city council requirements). After all requisite approvals (from the PAAC, public art program staff, selection committee) and the final installation and maintenance description as specified in the artists' contract are received, the art project would go into final design and fabrication.
After all site preparations are made and the artwork is installed, the selection committee would convene, with the project's structural engineer, to inspect the artwork and make sure that it was built and installed properly. It is also recommended that the evaluation and documentation of the artwork take place as soon after installation as possible. Once a post-installation site visit has been made and the work approved as installed, the maintenance program, developed by the artist in conjunction with the commissioning agency, should go into effect. This process is recommended not only for project specific artworks, but also for community-based and temporary art projects.
The same process for developing and reviewing public art projects is used even if, during the project conceptualization phase, the project selection committee decides that funds should be pooled and used to commission a community-based art project.
Participatory public art initiatives, such as community-based public art projects, provide communities with the means to positively impact their environment and develop a sense of pride and ownership over their parks, streets, and public institutions. Here, the artist serves as a collaborator, interpreter, visionary, teacher, mentor, and liaison between client and community.
The goal of these community-centered processes is to facilitate the creation of public art works that are accessible to the public not simply by virtue of their placement in a public space, or because of content, but through engaging people in the community into the process of creating the art, as well as making their knowledge and experience part the art's design.
These kinds of projects are often funded by pooled monies, taken from small construction projects or where the project site is not accessible to the public. The process for project, artist, and site selection should be very flexible. The selection process can involve a number of choices for each of these three elements.
If artworks are to be installed on a temporary basis, the artist's designs would only require approval of the selection committee and project funder (a city agency, private property owner, or private donor). After design approval, the artwork would go immediately into the final design stage; no maintenance program would be required. However, the artist should include documents regarding how and when the work is to be removed after display, as well as plans for returning the site to its original condition (if necessary).
The selection committee will review submitted public art project proposals at the end of the design phase. If approved, the artist designs will be forwarded to the PAAC for review and approval, after which the art project will go into final design and fabrication.
The committees should adopt specific criteria for the review of the proposed permanent public art projects, the most important of which should relate to the project's technical feasibility - i.e., Can the work be built and installed as proposed? Other criteria that should be considered:
- Relevance of the piece to the building or city, its values, culture, and people;
- Suitability of the work for outdoor display, including its maintenance and conservation requirements;
- Relationship of the work to the site and the host community, especially how it serves to activate or enhance public space;
- Appropriateness of the scale of the artwork;
- How closely the proposed artwork meets the goals set out in the RFP and envisioned by the community.
In order to ensure public art is fairly and equitably distributed throughout the city, and that it is sited in such a way as to enhance and activate public spaces, we have listed below criteria to guide the placement of art projects. Sites where public art is to be displayed should:
- Experience high levels of pedestrian traffic and be part of the city's circulation paths;
- Be easily visible and accessible to the public;
- Serve to anchor and activate its site;
- Enhance the overall public environment and pedestrian streetscape experience;
- Help to create a place of congregation and activity; and
- Establish landmarks and neighborhood gateways.
Furthermore, there are guidelines for artworks placed within project sites, to ensure that the works are displayed prominently and clearly identifiable as artwork.
For example, artworks displayed in interior public spaces should be publicly accessible at least during normal building operating hours without obtaining special passes or permits to view them. Artworks displayed in exterior public spaces should be publicly accessible 24 hours per day or, if they are sited in a setting such as a park, be accessible during the normal hours of that site's operation.
Some other guidelines about public art site placement include:
- Artworks should not block windows or entranceways, nor obstruct normal pedestrian circulation in and out of a building (unless such alteration is specifically a part of the experience or design of the artwork).
- Art should not be placed in a given site if the landscaping and maintenance requirements of that site cannot be met.
- Art should be sited so as to be either immediately visible or in a location where it will be visible by the most people.
- Art should be placed in a site where it is not overwhelmed by nor competing with the scale of the site or adjacent architecture, large retail signage, billboards, etc.
- Art should be placed in a site where it will enhance its surroundings or at least not detract from it (creating a "blind" spot where illegal activity can take place).
- Art should be sited where it will create a place of congregation or in a location that experiences high levels of pedestrian traffic and activity.
- Art should be located in a site where it will effectively enhance and activate the pedestrian and streetscape experience.
On-site locations for public art projects include, but are not limited, to:
- Entrances and Exits
In addition, locations for public art projects could include, but are not limited, to:
- Along roadways, traffic islands, or medians
- Historic places or landmarks, such as Martin Luther King Boulevard
While it is usual and customary for percent-for-art funded art projects to be located on property owned or leased by the city, exceptions can be made if an appropriate easement or long-term agreement with the property owner can be reached (usually for at least a seven-year minimum).
Public art policies spell out procedures, responsibilities, and methods of funding for the ongoing maintenance and conservation of public artworks so that the public art program itself does not become burdened with this cost and responsibility, unless it chooses to do so. These delineations also prevent - to as full an extent as possible - the possibility that a work of public art will fall into disrepair, become dirty, damaged, or even disappear. The conservation and maintenance of some works of art can be painstaking and require a large degree of care. Giving the artist and the commissioning agency or client an opportunity to work out the artwork's maintenance techniques and schedule helps to ensure that the piece will remain in good condition for many years to come.
It is important to note: Routine maintenance of an artwork becomes the responsibility of the agency that houses the artwork. As part of the contractual requirements, the artist should develop a maintenance program in cooperation with the commissioning agency, for the proper day-to-day care of the artwork.
The maintenance program should include a statement regarding the materials from which the piece is fabricated. The commissioning agency will be responsible for communicating this information to its custodial staff and providing any necessary additional tools or equipment to ensure proper daily maintenance of public artworks.
Installation of temporary art may be appropriate to prevent the need for de-accessioning. For example, when a public art program or a client agency/funder cannot afford to maintain a work in perpetuity, works of temporary art, lasting up to ten years, for example, could be commissioned. Temporary art also works well as a series placed throughout a downtown or park, or within a specific geographic area. To generate interest in public art, or where no firm public art tradition exists but there is a desire to create a public art tradition, temporary art can be useful. Because it is understood to be of limited duration, it can be more challenging and cutting-edge in terms of its message and medium. In addition, a client agency or funder could commission several pieces of temporary art over a period of time, rather than just one piece, which allows the city's public art collection to expand at a faster pace.
Temporary art programs also provide valuable opportunities for training emerging artists or those unfamiliar with the public-art commissioning process to undertake public art projects that have smaller, more manageable budgets, often less rigorous contracting procedures, more flexible deadlines, and offer artists more options in terms of appropriate materials. Temporary art projects often give communities a chance to become involved in public art-making, as they are often more suitable to artist/community collaborations than are larger permanent public art works. These programs also enable communities to become actively involved in identifying and encouraging their own emerging artists; these artists, in turn, can nurture the creativity of others.
In a Wall Street Journal article entitled "Expiration Dates for Art," Geoffrey Fowler points out that the passage of time can have an impact on how the public views the same piece of public art and events, such as September 11th and the fall of Communism, can render some artworks contextually obsolete or somber reminders of disaster. The reaction of the public to public artworks today (Richard Serra's "Tilted Arc" still being a notable example) is behind the growing challenge to art world's contention that "public sculpture can, and should, stick around forever."
UrbanArts, a private public art group in Memphis, TN, kicked off its fledgling public art program with a series of temporary art projects, including adding public art to an annual waterfront arts festival; starting an ironworking mentoring program whereby local iron workers train high school students to create decorative fencing and gateway medallions for each of the city's neighborhoods; and a series of auditory artworks that recreate and recapture the city's vanished history through storytelling, music, and aural history broadcasts delivered over loudspeakers in locations throughout the downtown.
Examples of other successful temporary art projects around the world:
- New York's Public Art Fund has commissioned temporary art projects for more than 10 years, sited in locations throughout the five boroughs of New York, including the renowned exhibition of Ferdinand Botero sculptures along Park Avenue. Sculptures also line Berlin's main street (Kufurstendam)
- Creative Time's marquis signs and art installations in vacant stores and storefronts along 42nd Street, New York City
- Artist-design lifeguard booths, Miami Beach, FL
- International Festival of Arts and Ideas, New Haven, CT
- Block 37: Summer art classes and exhibitions held in tents set up on a vacant downtown, Chicago
- Christmas tree and exhibits in Rockefeller Center, New York (right)
- "Cows" and "Pigs" on parade (This project originated in Switzerland and has been utilized in Chicago, New York, and Cincinnati, OH, among other locales)
- Chalk/Street Painting/I Madonnari Festivals; Montgomery, AL, Santa Barbara, CA, Norfolk, VA
- Topographical maps and large format photographs of human settlements and geographic marvels, Luxembourg Gardens, Paris
(Images, starting from the top of the page: a public bench in Zurich, Switzerland; a resting traveler on Commonwealth Avenue, Boston; a mural in Oakland, CA; interactive sculpture in Jardin des Tuileries, Paris; and fanciful pieces of ice in Toronto)
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20 Different SMART Teacher Evaluation System ART GOALS
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A Level Art Coursework: help for A2 Art students
Last Updated on April 2, 2023
Written by an experienced teacher and Coursework assessor, this article contains help, ideas and guidance for CIE A2 Art & Design students who are working on their A Level Art Coursework projects.
As part of their A Level Art Coursework, students must submit:
- 1 x project (a two or three-dimensional final work, maximum weight 4.5kgs and maximum dimension in any direction of 750mm);
- Source material (your ‘starting point’ / source of inspiration);
- Development of ideas into personal solutions (original finished pieces);
- Experimentations with media and processes including trial samples;
- The influence of historical, contemporary and cultural factors (evidence that you have learnt from designers or artist models).
- 1 x sketchbook (there is no size or length requirement, however A4 is typical). The sketchbook accompanies the supporting work and can be used to record personal reflections, explore the use of processes and analysis of artwork etc. Please read how to produce an amazing sketchbook for more information.
A Level Coursework should be an individual response to a theme (see this article about coming up with good A Level Art ideas for more help with this). Your project can be focused on the same or a different area of study as AS (i.e. Painting and Related Media; Textiles; Ceramics; Sculpture; Graphic Design; Fashion Design; Printmaking; Photography, Digital and Lens Media; Jewellery; Puppetry etc). Schools offer these specialties based on the strength and expertise of their teachers. If you select the same area of study as you did for AS, you should look at a different process, i.e. if you explored woven textiles in AS, you may choose to explore pinted textiles in A2.
A2 Art Coursework assessment
The A2 Coursework project is worth 60% of your A2 Art course and 30% of your final A Level Art grade. It is internally assessed (i.e. marked by the Coursework Accredited art teacher/s at your school) and is externally moderated by CIE examiners. Most countries send Coursework to Cambridge University to be moderated; other counties, like New Zealand, have the examiners travel to them.
The final piece, supporting work and sketchbook are assessed together and are given a single mark out of 100, using the following criteria:
A2 Art Coursework examples
In addition to CIE Coursework examples, work from a range of other relevant qualifications has been added to this section. This is because these outstanding examples of student work provide highly valuable learning opportunities for students of all high school Art qualifications.
READ NEXT: How to make an artist website (and why you need one)
Additional A Level Art Coursework examples and case studies will be added here over the coming months. If you would like to view more outstanding student work, please view our Featured Art Projects .
Amiria has been an Art & Design teacher and a Curriculum Co-ordinator for seven years, responsible for the course design and assessment of student work in two high-achieving Auckland schools. She has a Bachelor of Architectural Studies, Bachelor of Architecture (First Class Honours) and a Graduate Diploma of Teaching. Amiria is a CIE Accredited Art & Design Coursework Assessor.
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Learning the Life-Skill of Self-Evaluation In an Art Class
The first time I taught an art class, I carefully planned the lesson and gathered the supplies - all the usual preparation. And at the end of the lesson, there was time for students to post work. But that was when I hit a snag.
How would I critique the art lesson?
I was prepared to TEACH art, but not to evaluate it. Having to evaluate art raised a list of questions:
- How do you put a grade on CREATIVITY?
- Would evaluation squelch self-expression?
- Would I be grading merely on the basis of my personal likes and dislikes?
- How could I say something more helpful than, “ Oh, neat ! ” or “ Good job! ”?
- And finally: does an art project really NEED to be evaluated?
So I took the easy way out. I told students that if they finished a project, they would get an A. Guess what: almost everyone got an A! Kids liked that, but a thought nagged me: shouldn’t I be giving better feedback than just a thumbs-up-you-finished-A?
That brought me back to those original questions - and some answers - about why we should or should not give evaluations on art projects.
- Should we evaluate art lessons? YES !
- Why? Because art classes are a perfect opportunity for students to learn the art of SELF -evaluation.
What we really want students to learn is to critique their own work. Learning to reflect on and critique one’s own work is a basic life skill. When we reflect on and evaluate our own work, we grow and learn. If we are free to critique our own work, we are likely to be open to the helpful advice of others.
So how can we use evaluations in an art class to teach kids the art of self-reflection?
It begins with the goals of the lesson.
Before the lesson begins, kids need to know what goals they are trying to accomplish. Here are some examples of different kinds of goals.
ELEMENTS OF ART:
- Will the goal be to use texture to give emphasis to one part of the picture?
- Will it be to use analogous colors?
- Will it be about making a balanced composition?
- Will the goal be to portray a significant part of a story they have read?
- Will it be to portray something about a historical period or historical leader?
- Will it be to portray some emotion?
- Will it be to imitate the style of a famous artist?
- Will it be to use the style of an art period like pointillism or art deco?
- Will it be realistic or non-realistic?
Having a clear goal of the lesson isn’t just helpful of the teacher.
It’s empowering for the student. .
Once a student knows the goal of an art lesson, the lesson becomes a puzzle to solve. For example, What’s the best way to use texture to emphasize that part? ( Elements of art ) Or, What part of the Art Deco style can I use to draw this car? ( Style )
When we have clearly stated goals we know what to look for!
When it's time to evaluate, here are two simple ways of giving feedback that don’t hamper student’s creativity, but that DO help students focus:
1. Use the three-part TAG system:
- TELL something that was successful. Be specific.
- ASK questions that help kids to:
talk about their purpose,
discuss a problem they ran into,
tell what they learned about a process
- GIVE advice about
what might be explored further
how to solve a problem the student has voiced.
2. Use a give-and-take TAG system.
This involves two students, a group of students, or a parent and child. After EVERYONE INVOLVED has finished the project, each person uses the three-part TAG system to comment on their neighbors’ projects. This gets everyone into the work of evaulation.
Students who learn both to give and to receive evaluations are even better equipped to reflect on their own work.
Now that you've learned how to evaluate an art lesson for kids, why not teach one?
Gets started with some free art lessons here .