Arts Research Monitor articles, category = Organizational planning, management, governance & marketing

A Synthesis of Literature and Expert Interviews

This literature review, originally created as part of a California arts participation study, explores how people participate in the arts, who participates, where participation happens, as well as motivations and barriers to participation.

Based on the 2012 U.S. General Social Survey, this report provides a detailed examination of the motivations of arts attendees (the 54% of Americans who attended at least one exhibition or performance during the previous year) and the barriers facing “interested non-attendees” (the 13% who did not attend a visual or performing arts event during the previous year but wanted to go to at least one exhibition or live performance).

This report highlights the result of a survey of the digital marketing practices of 125 performing arts organizations in the United States. Theatres (41%) and presenting organizations (27%) accounted for over two-thirds of the respondents. As noted in the report, “125+ organizations do not make this data statistically significant”. Nevertheless, there are some interesting findings regarding the digital marketing of performing arts organizations.

A Critical Role for Grantmakers

Based on a literature review, exploratory interviews with arts organization leaders, a review of grantmakers’ practices, and the author’s experience, this article argues that “arts organizations must become knowledge-centric, by using knowledge to advance their missions and goals, gathering and leveraging disparate data and information, and creating a culture where knowledge is a core value”.

Enhancing governance and effectiveness

This document from Imagine Canada, the national association of charities, is intended to support charitable organizations by providing a “Canada-wide set of shared standards for charities and nonprofits designed to strengthen their capacity in five fundamental areas: board governance; financial accountability & transparency; fundraising; staff management; and volunteer involvement.”

This report provides “evidence-based insights into the health of U.S. arts and cultural organizations”, based on more than 55,000 arts and cultural organizations. The report is very detailed, with data related to 128 indices and in-depth reporting on 26 indices.

New Models in Use by Theatre Artists, Groups and Organizations

In a situation where “the growth in the number of artists attempting to start new [theatre] companies [exceeds] the growth in the funding available”, this report, based on a review of relevant and recent Canadian reports, attempts to identify “key practices, approaches or models that theatre artists, groups and organizations are implementing or adapting to ensure their art-making is viable and thriving”.

Measuring Cultural Engagement amid Confounding Variables

Who uses arts participation data? Are the data used by arts organizations to improve their connections to audiences? Are the data connected to arts policy? One speaker argued that many artists and arts administrators have a hunger to better understand the world in which they work, especially the trends shaping demand for the arts. Some noted that involving arts administrators in survey design might improve their use of surveys.

Based on the author’s research and personal immersion “over the past three years in the complexities of arts support systems and their relationship to contemporary practice”, this report argues that “we need to realign our arts policy mindset and funding practices to support a new generation of arts development in Canada. To do this will require collaborative action on the part of the arts community and its funders.”

A powerful possibility for a more resilient arts sector

With explosive growth in the arts over the past two decades, this report argues that “it is increasingly difficult to raise the resources required to support an ongoing organizational structure and keep it healthy”. Given this situation, the author proposes that shared administrative platforms, specifically charitable venture organizations, “could make a significant impact on improving the health of the arts sector”.