This concluding evaluation report on the Exploring Engagement Fund offers insights, best practices, and considerations for arts organizations and funders who prioritize engagement, diversity, equity, and inclusion. It draws findings and conclusions from the experience of 113 arts nonprofits leading 119 projects intended to engage more people of color and low-income residents, from 2012 to 2018.Download Summary | Download Full Report | Download Grantee-Project Database
To stay relevant to changing communities, many arts organizations have been developing engagement programs — that is, programming designed to reach more and different people and involve them more actively in how art is made and experienced. While engagement efforts are often episodic or separate from an art organization’s core programming, in late 2013 a group of 10 arts nonprofits across California set out to make engagement central to their identities as part of the New California Arts Fund. To do this, they pursued transformations in their programmatic, organizational, and business models. This evaluation documents their achievements and challenges, and provides considerations for arts organizations and funders interested in reaching ethnically diverse and/or low-income communities.Download Summary | Download Full Report | Download Taxonomy of Outcomes and Strategies Tool | Download Organizational Capacity for Engagement Survey
This study of existing research gathers compelling evidence that people who participate in the arts are more likely to be active in their communities and to be making a difference in the lives of others. Further, it shows how arts nonprofits may have natural advantages in helping people achieve new levels of understanding, empathy, and adaptation — critical capacities for civic engagement as well as acceptance and connection across class, race, heritage, or immigration status.Download Summary | Download Full Report
This study explores the prospects for a field of nonprofits focused on “arts engagement” — the term used at Irvine to describe multiple, overlapping strategies that focus on expanding arts participation to diverse and/or low-income communities. Based on information gathered from arts leaders, researchers, funders, and others, the report takes stock of a nascent field through a five-part framework, and suggests new courses of action that could accelerate the building of a strong network of arts engagement practitioners.Download Summary | Download Full Report | Download Literature Review Summary
This set of seven case studies provides real-world examples and practical tips to enrich lessons identified in prior report, “Emerging Lessons and Implications from the Exploring Engagement Fund.” The nine featured arts organizations vary by size, discipline, and geography. All pursue projects to engage participants from communities of color and low-income groups.Download the Report
This report presents findings from phase two of the Arts Regional Initiative. Between 2009 and 2014, The James Irvine Foundation invested $13.4 million through this Initiative to build the capacity of a group of 36 nonprofit arts organizations in California locales outside of major arts centers. The aim was two-fold: to increase cultural participation and improve financial sustainability. Cross-cohort analysis, conducted by Harder+Company Community Research, generated several key findings that may be of interest to arts organizations and funders alike.Download Full Report | Learn More
This report presents findings from the California Survey of Arts & Cultural Participation, a new study commissioned by The James Irvine Foundation and conducted by researchers at NORC at the University of Chicago. The Cultural Lives of Californians reframes the conversation about arts participation and provides extraordinary insights on the critical role that arts nonprofits can play in communities. This data challenges the notion that arts participation is in decline, instead suggesting that Californians are engaging in art in new ways and places — a reflection of emerging technologies, expectations, and cultural norms. Report findings point to questions and opportunities for nonprofit arts organizations, funders, and sector leaders to boost their relevance to the state’s increasingly diverse and changing population and to bring the benefit of the arts to all Californians.Download Full Report | Download Technical Report | Learn More
This report is the first in a two-part study commissioned by The James Irvine Foundation to understand what California’s residents do to participate in the arts and, importantly, how that varies across the state’s diverse population. It draws on data from the National Endowment for the Arts’ recently released its 2012 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, from which the NEA published detailed findings for the US in A Decade of Arts Engagement: Findings from the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, 2002-2012.Download Infographic | Download Full Report | Learn More
Many arts nonprofits are paying close attention to place as a vehicle to attract and engage new participants. Some are bringing arts to unusual places to do so — and creating deeper relevance and connection with their communities. Why “Where”? Because “Who”: Arts Venues, Spaces and Tradition reports on a study commissioned by The James Irvine Foundation and conducted by AEA Consulting. The report presents context, case studies and practical recommendations of interest to arts groups and supporters, including a framework for applying these lessons. A companion infographic makes it easy to access and share research highlights.Download Full Report | Learn More
For half a century and more, the participants involved with most midsized and larger nonprofit cultural institutions have been predominantly Caucasian and upper income. Meanwhile, artists of color and cultural activists have created a rapidly growing number of arts organizations that serve the traditions and cultural interests of specific communities and lower-income neighborhoods. Remixing this divided picture and overcoming long-standing norms and expectations takes sustained effort. One factor underlies all lasting success in diversifying participants: The organization must make a wholehearted and institution-wide commitment to building meaningful relationships with people who reflect the diversity of its community. This commitment must be evident in all aspects of the organization’s operations — from staffing and board representation, to programming and marketing, to budget allocations and assessment efforts.Download Infographic | Learn More
The research featured highlight important learning on expanding arts engagement and other important topics.
To help nonprofits understand the variety of Californians engaged in arts experiences, the Capturing Information on Arts Participants toolkit outlines five key steps. Each is defined and supported with practical information; together these steps form a framework for planning and implementing information-gathering techniques.
In the face of changing demographics and shifts in arts participation, many arts nonprofits are experimenting and discovering new ways to engage Californians typically underserved by arts organizations. Emerging Lessons and Implications from the Exploring Engagement Fund presents seven lessons and related practical tips distilled from the early implementation of Fund projects.
The Next Gen Arts Leadership Initiative was established to promote the leadership development of younger professionals (age 18 to 35) in California’s arts community. This brief offers highlights from a 2012 assessment to document the process of building the initiative and to identify early lessons that could inform ongoing discussions about the initiative and future of the arts field.
The projects funded through the Arts Innovation Fund are in some sense a representative sample of how major arts organizations are responding to that imperative, and how sustainable their efforts are, both programmatically and economically. The report analyzes a broad spectrum of grantees and presents six recommendations that emerge, both for nonprofit institutions and for funders like the Irvine Foundation who support arts organizations.
This report reveals new data about the employment characteristics, career aspirations and needs, and other factors that may prevent emerging arts leaders from staying in California’s nonprofit arts field. More than 1,300 arts administrators in California between the ages of 18 and 35 were surveyed for the report to better prepare and retain emerging arts professionals for future leadership positions in the arts.
This study documents the budget size, disciplinary focus, and intrinsic and economic impacts of nearly 11,000 California arts and cultural nonprofits, mapping them onto cities and regions. To explore causal connections, the study correlates elements of this mosaic with community characteristics and details how people work for the sector, volunteer, and make financial contributions.
With growing frequency, artists and arts organizations are integrating active arts practices into their work, often through collaborations and partnerships. The Audience Involvement Spectrum is a five-stage model that illustrates a progression of involvement from “spectating” — in which the audience member plays only a minor role in the artistic outcome — to the point at which there is no conventional “audience” at all because every person involved is creating, doing, or making.
This study, cosponsored by Irvine, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and Leveraging Investments in Creativity, shows how California artists move more fluidly between the commercial, nonprofit and community sectors than is commonly believed. Their ability to do so, the study concludes, is a major stimulant to regional economic activity and the quality of life. The study, by the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, is based on an online of Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay area musicians, writers, and performing and visual artists. With New York, these two regions support more artists per capita than the nation's other large metropolitan areas.
This working paper identifies the major challenges facing the arts and cultural sector in California. Based on interviews with arts leaders and a review of the relevant literature, the paper describes five key themes that, if not addressed, may threaten the health and well-being of the sector going forward. The themes are: Access, Cultural Policy, Arts Education, Nonprofit Business Model, and Preparing the Next Generation of Artists and Arts Managers.
In our blog series on Medium.com, New Faces | New Spaces, our New California Arts Fund grantee-partners provide inspiring stories and practical advice about embedding art in our communities and community in our organizations.
In a new evaluation report, The Engagement Revolution: A Study of Strategic Organizational Transformation in 10 California Arts Nonprofits, the Slover Linett team documents progress and lessons generated by the initial cohort of New California Arts Fund grantee-partners over their first three years.Read the Story
All of our new grantmaking here at the Irvine Foundation aims to expand political and economic opportunity for Californians who are working but struggling with poverty. This includes exploring how artistic and creative expression can advance these goals.Read the Story
At the recent Zócalo Public Square Conference, three leaders from our cohort of grantee-partners in the New California Arts Fund (NCAF) were part of the robust dialogue and submitted the following thought pieces around arts engagement in California.Read the Story
In 2011, Irvine put forward a program goal promoting arts engagement. Our aim was to support nonprofits that embrace and advance the diverse ways that Californians experience arts and culture, based on the belief that these experiences strengthen us and help us all live better together.Read the Story