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.Cultural Lives of Californians Report | Cultural Lives of Californians 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.NORC Infographic: A Closer Look at Arts Engagement in California | NORC Report: A Closer Look at Arts Engagement in California | 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.Why "Where"? Because "Who" - Arts venues, spaces and tradition - 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.Making Meaningful Connections - Infographic | Learn More
The nonprofit arts system that is central to the arts in America today was an innovation in the late 19th and early 20th centuries — and it is that system that now requires another round of new ideas in order to adapt and survive. At arts organizations today, the key question seems to be: How can we create arts experiences that have more relevance and meaning for more kinds of people? 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.A Laboratory for Relevance - Printable Infographic | Learn More
The research featured highlight important learning related to expanding arts engagement and other topics important to the sector.
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.
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 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.
There is a rich public discussion under way about expanding arts engagement and increasing the relevance and responsiveness of nonprofit arts organizations. Click on the links below to read blogs and other posts we have curated because we find them particularly interesting, informative, or even provocative.