Arts Regional Initiative Print E-mail


To increase cultural participation and improve the financial sustainability, management and governance capacities of leading arts organizations located in select regions of the state.

Initiative Description

The Arts Regional Initiative (ARI) helps regional arts organizations respond to structural changes brought on by technological advances, demographic changes, funding fluctuations and shifting consumer behaviors. The initiative supports leading organizations that occupy an important role in communities outside of California's largest metropolitan areas. These organizations are critical to providing quality and publicly accessible programming, fostering the careers of emerging artists and contributing to community development.

In the fall of 2009, Irvine launched a second phase of the Arts Regional Initiative that focuses specifically on increasing cultural participation and improving financial sustainability among grantee organizations. The initiative refinements were informed by prior informal evaluation results of the first cohort of grantees. Additional details about the fund are available on the main Arts Regional Initiative web page.


The evaluation of ARI focuses on measuring progress toward the goals of increased cultural participation and improved financial sustainability. Evaluation reports are delivered to Irvine and the grantees at key points in the grant cycle to provide opportunities for grantees to adapt and refine their work. Findings about outcomes and effective strategies will inform Irvine's future grantmaking and be reported to the field.


To gather evidence of increased cultural participation and improved financial sustainability among grantee organizations, and analyze whether and how strategies from this initiative led to organizational outcomes.

Time frame:

The evaluation focuses on the period from 2009 to 2014.

Participating grantees:

This evaluation will include grantees from three cohorts in the second phase of this initiative — in Southern California (outside of Los Angeles), the Central Valley and the Central Coast.


This evaluation is using a mixed method approach, combining quantitative and qualitative data. Surveys and interviews with executive directors and board presidents at multiple points in the grant period assess progress towards grantee-specific outcomes and the internal and external factors affecting those outcomes. This evaluation draws on data in the California Cultural Data Project to assess grantee financial performance. Data on cultural participation is gathered through audience surveys administered by the grantees, with support from the evaluators.


We plan to report findings from this evaluation in 2012.


Paul Harder
Harder+Company Community Research

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