National Center for Arts Research

Watched this webinar today and got some interesting ideas about how to measure arts orgs based on how large research agencies are currently doing so:

It described how to read the data that is located in Data Arts in dashboard form for each organization. NCAR wants to understand arts org health by looking at the whole arts ecosystem.

For every org, they’ve located where it is and take into account community characteristics: who lives nearby, how many other arts orgs nearby? what other businesses, population, density, etc.

Their process:

For each of their large buckets of measurement (e.g. earned revenue, expenses, program activity, staffing, community engagement, etc.), they start with a question (e.g.”How many people attend per dollar spent on marketing?” = response to marketing). Then they go a step further:

  1. What was performance? (all the averages of all orgs by sector, size, and geography)
  2. What explains average performance? (all the driving forces – org age, is it culturally specific? how many programmatic offerings does it have per year? how much new work? community characteristics, availability of public arts funding, etc.etc.)
  3. What drives high performance? (all the Key Intangible Performance Indicators aka KIPI – the mojo that sets a high-performing orgs apart. e.g. good decision making, artistic and managerial expertise, reputation, brand, how well it relates to its community). Examples:
    • “We surveyed audiences and quality was the number one reason they come. It’s the same reason we can hire the artists we want.”
    • “We’ve realized how to leverage our brand to create more consistent revenue streams.”
    • “It’s about getting your mojo working.”




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