Wallace Blog Search Results

Search Blogs by Keyword
Browse by Date
clear all

 

 

Many Questions, Some Leads to Build Arts Audiences3081GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​At Wallace, all of our initiatives are designed with two goals in mind&#58; to benefit the organizations we fund and to benefit those we don't fund by providing credible, relevant knowledge derived from the initiative. For that reason all of our initiatives have a learning agenda. </p><p>In <a href="/knowledge-center/building-audiences-for-the-arts/pages/default.aspx">our current arts initiative</a>, for instance, we set out to understand how audience-building efforts, carried out by nonprofit performing arts organizations in a continuous learning process, could attract new audiences while retaining current ones, and, at the same time, contribute to financial health. Now, the first of three expected reports from the initiative is out&#58; <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/audience-building-and-financial-health-nonprofit-performing-arts.aspx">a literature review</a> of what’s known about the relationship between audience building and financial health. </p><p><a href="https&#58;//lbj.utexas.edu/directory/faculty/francie-ostrower">Francie Ostrower</a>, a professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs and College of Fine Arts and a senior fellow in the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service at the University of Texas, Austin, is co-author of the literature review and is leading the research effort on the initiative. In addition to the current review, Ostrower expects to publish two more reports&#58; one on how the 25 organizations participating in the initiative implemented their efforts and another detailing the outcomes of their work. </p><p>We asked Ostrower to reflect on some of the key findings of the literature review.</p><p><strong>What is your opinion on the state of research surrounding the topic of audience building?</strong><br> The literature offers numerous intriguing leads, ideas, and case studies—but many remain to be examined more systematically to really understand the consequences of audience-building efforts of different types. Other promising lines for future development would be to build a more cohesive body of research whose individual works reference and build on one another, and to link audience-building studies to the broader literature on organizational change, learning and culture.&#160; </p><p><strong>At a few points in the literature review, you highlight that “audience-building and financial health literatures are distinct (with virtually no exploration of the relationship between the two).”</strong> <strong>Why do you think they’ve been separated historically? And what value is there in combining the two fields?&#160; </strong> <br> There would be great value to having additional studies that combine these fields. That is not to say that audience-building efforts should be judged or motivated by financial returns. They may yield financial returns, or their returns may be social or mission-driven. &#160;However, organizations need to understand the financial costs and returns so that if needed, funding is secured to support the efforts in a sustainable way. &#160;&#160;</p><p><strong>You highlight that empirical support for audience-building efforts is often slim. To what do you attribute this lack of empirical evidence? </strong> <br> Assessing the outcomes of audience-building efforts is far more complicated than it may appear, and faces barriers of time, cost and access to reliable data. Arts organizations themselves may have only limited data on their audiences. The research challenges become even more substantial when we go beyond overall attendance counts to look at audience composition, follow efforts over time to understand their sustainability and try and establish how generalizable an approach tried by some organizations may be to others.&#160; &#160;&#160;</p><p><strong>It seems there are two gaps in the literature&#58; little study of the link between audience-building and financial health and a lack of empirical evidence of the results of audience-building tactics. How does the design of the evaluation for the Building Audiences for Sustainability initiative address these gaps?</strong> <br> Working within the challenges of this very complex data undertaking, we will be trying to establish whether and how organizations attracted new audiences and retained current audiences as they undertook their audience building activities. Combining qualitative and quantitative data, we will also seek to understand the experiences and internal organizational consequences of engaging in audience building efforts. </p><p><strong>Based on this literature review, what are the takeaways you hope nonprofit arts managers will find? Do you have different takeaways for board members? How about for artistic staff? </strong> <br> There are several takeaways&#58;&#160; Audience-building efforts should not be viewed as isolated or mechanical undertakings, and there is every indication that successful and significant audience-building efforts require widespread and sustained organizational commitment.&#160; Therefore, it is very important to think about why the organization is undertaking the activity, the level of commitment it is willing to make and how far the organization is willing to go in order to achieve audience-building objectives, especially where achieving those objectives requires the organization to re-think the status quo.</p> <br><br>Wallace editorial team792019-05-13T04:00:00ZAuthor of new review says literature surveyed offers intriguing ideas and case studies, but empirical evidence of success of audience-building efforts is slim.5/16/2019 2:19:29 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Many Questions, Some Leads to Build Arts Audiences Author of new review says literature surveyed offers intriguing ideas 363https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
10 Principles to Create a Promising Youth Arts Program16083GP0|#d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8;L0|#0d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8|Arts Education;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>What makes a youth arts program effective? There are hundreds of arts programs in the U.S. Some engage young people in ways that lead to a lifetime commitment to the arts. Others fall rather flat, failing to inspire much more than fleeting curiosity.<br><br> Is there a way to tell the former from the latter?&#160;How can&#160;parents, practitioners and policymakers distinguish a promising program from a dud?<br><br>&#160;Researchers Denise Montgomery, Peter Rogovin and Neromanie Persaud combed through literature, interviewed experts, studied exemplary arts organizations, talked to hundreds of young people and their parents and&#160;out of that have&#160;suggested&#160;10 principles the best arts programs appear to share. According to their report, <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Something-to-Say-Success-Principles-for-Afterschool-Arts-Programs.aspx"> <em>Something to Say&#58; Success Principles for Afterschool Arts Programs from Urban Youth and Other Experts</em></a>, the best youth arts programs have&#58;</p><ol><li>Professional, practicing artists as teachers</li><li>Executive directors that have a deep, public commitment to the arts</li><li>Dedicated, inspiring and welcoming spaces in which young people can practice their arts</li><li>A culture of high expectations for youth</li><li>Prominent public events that showcase the art participants create</li><li>Positive relationships among the youth and adults involved in the program</li><li>Meaningful leadership roles for young people</li><li>Hands-on experiences for youth with current equipment and technology</li><li>Strong partnerships with key stakeholders in the community</li><li>A space that is physically and emotionally safe so young people can learn, experiment and thrive</li></ol><p>The researchers derived these principles partly by observing small, specialized programs. Would it be possible, we wondered, for a large, national organization to combine these principles with its countrywide infrastructure to provide high-quality arts education to much larger numbers of urban youth?<br><br> We have been working since 2014 with the Boys &amp; Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) in our <a href="/how-we-work/our-work/Pages/Arts-Education-Initiative.aspx">Youth Arts Initiative</a> to find out. Six BGCA clubhouses in the Midwest have so far shown that it is in fact possible for a large, generalist organization to adopt the 10 principles, according to a report about the first phase of the initiative. In the next phase, six additional clubhouses will introduce similar programs, but will share resources to reduce costs and increase efficiency. <br> <br> We’ll be studying their efforts through 2020 and reporting back frequently here. Stay tuned to see how they fare.</p><div><div>&#160;</div>&#160;</div>Wallace editorial team792017-09-21T04:00:00ZA study of literature, expert opinion, successful programs and youth preferences point to elements that help arts programs succeed6/15/2018 6:08:13 AMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / 10 Principles to Create a Promising Youth Arts Program A study of literature, expert opinion, successful programs and youth 1001https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Making a Case for Investment in the Arts16105GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>Support for the arts was once a prosaic topic in America’s national discourse. Politicians, educators and policymakers generally agreed that the arts are an essential source of personal enrichment worthy of institutional investment. <br><br> That consensus began to unravel in 1970s and 80s, however. “Culture wars” and fiscal austerity saw once-cherished programs, including those related to the arts and arts education, slashed from government budgets. It was no longer enough for arts advocates to point to the <em>intrinsic</em> benefits of the arts—the personal joy and enrichment people draw from the arts. They increasingly turned to arguments based on <em>instrumental</em> benefits—the effect of the arts on quantifiable societal indicators such as economic growth and student test scores.<br><br> Despite this change in focus, arts funding has continued to decline. Recent years have seen <a href="http&#58;//www.npr.org/2017/03/16/520401246/trumps-budget-plan-cuts-funding-for-arts-humanities-and-public-media">proposals to eliminate federal funding to the National Endowment for the Arts</a> and deep cuts to arts education in high-poverty schools in cities such as <a href="http&#58;//chicago.suntimes.com/news/layoffs-could-derail-cps-progress-on-arts-education/">Chicago</a> and <a href="http&#58;//www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Philly-Students-Face-Uncertainties-School-Cutbacks-Music-212290071.html">Philadelphia</a>. <br> <br>Researchers from the RAND Corporation offer an alternative argument that may help build the case for arts funding in <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Gifts-of-the-Muse.aspx"><em>Gifts of the Muse&#58; Reframing the Debate About the Benefits of the Arts</em></a>. The study’s authors scoured through decades of literature and found shortcomings in these arguments that focus on instrumental benefits, including some shaky research methods, vague connections between causes and effects and a failure to account for the opportunity costs of investments in the arts. Further, the authors suggest, a focus on instrumental benefits limits the debate to the supply of the arts. By ignoring the intrinsic benefits that compel people to build lasting relationships with the arts, arts advocates may fail to make a case for the essential job of stimulating demand for that supply. </p> <img alt="blog-intro-series-arts-audience-lg-framework-understanding-arts-ch.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Making-a-Case-for-Investment-in-the-Arts-blog-post/blog-intro-series-arts-audience-lg-framework-understanding-arts-ch.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;783px;" /> <br> <br> The authors offer a number of ideas to bring more nuance and greater clarity to the debate about the arts&#58; <p>&#160;</p><ol><li>Advocates and policymakers must look beyond one-dimensional discussions that weigh intrinsic against instrumental benefits. They must also consider <em>public</em> intrinsic benefits of shared artworks, such as their ability to unite people around particular causes, ideas or emotions.</li><li>Arts advocates must develop a clear, common language to discuss intrinsic benefits, which can often be hard to elucidate.</li><li>Increased research is necessary to better understand the benefits of the arts. The flaws in existing literature about instrumental benefits must be addressed and intrinsic benefits must be better understood.</li><li>Schools and community organizations need greater investment to help them expose children to the arts. Lasting relationships with the arts must begin early, researchers suggest; children who develop interest in the arts are more likely to seek them out—and hence derive benefits from them—as adults.</li></ol><p>At Wallace, we’ve been working to help address some of these recommendations. In 2014, we launched the <a href="/how-we-work/our-work/Pages/Arts-Education-Initiative.aspx">Youth Arts Initiative</a>, a multi-year effort to help the Boys &amp; Girls Clubs of America develop strategies to offer a high-quality arts education to urban youth. An interim evaluation of the initiative has shown that it is possible for clubs to put in place the basic elements of such an education; we are now working with Boys &amp; Girls Clubs to devise ways in which they can do so affordably and sustainably. <br><br> We also support arts organizations as they work to build audiences so more people can experience the intrinsic benefits of the arts. Our latest focus in this area is the <a href="/how-we-work/our-work/Pages/Building-Audiences-for-the-Arts.aspx">Building Audiences for Sustainability Initiative</a>, a six-year effort to determine whether 25 arts organizations can broaden, deepen or diversify their audiences in ways that also contribute to their financial health. The initiative builds on the Wallace Excellence Awards, a previous effort that produced two practical guides to help build audiences&#58; <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/The-Road-to-Results-Effective-Practices-for-Building-Arts-Audiences.aspx"><em>The Road to Results&#58; Effective Practices for Building Arts Audiences</em></a>, and <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Taking-Out-the-Guesswork.aspx"><em>Taking Out the Guesswork&#58; A Guide to Using Research to Build Arts Audiences</em></a>.<br><br> We don’t yet know if these efforts will succeed. But if they do, we hope they will offer models to help youth-serving organizations introduce young people to the arts and established arts organizations nurture such interest so the arts, and their intrinsic benefits, can thrive.</p>Wallace editorial team792017-09-21T04:00:00ZArts advocates must look beyond the socio-economic benefits of the arts, says the RAND Corporation12/4/2017 4:37:14 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Making a Case for Investment in the Arts Arts advocates must look beyond the socio-economic benefits of the arts, says the 765https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

​​​​​​​