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The Engagement Revolution: A Study of Strategic Organizational Transformation in 10 California Arts Nonprofits

October 1, 2017

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. In 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 and 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.

Setting the Stage for Community Change: Reflecting on Creative Placemaking Outcomes

November 2, 2016

As interest in measuring and understanding the impact of arts investments in community development continues to grow, this new study, Setting the Stage for Community Change: Reflecting on Creative Placemaking Outcomes, commissioned by the Levitt Foundation and led by Slover Linett Audience Research, examines how "creative placemaking" interventions build social capital in communities, using permanent outdoor Levitt music venues as case studies. This research offers insights into arts-based strategies to promote social connectivity, a central goal of many creative placemaking efforts, and is a working illustration of what can and can't be learned from different impact measurement approaches.

Recognizing and Advancing Nonprofit Excellence

March 1, 2016

Between 2006 and 2013, the MacArthur Foundation awarded nearly $54 million to 79 social sector organizations around the world through the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Designed to recognize a subset of the Foundation's grantees for their extraordinary contributions to their fields and to help foster their long-term financial stability and operational strength, the award is a onetime infusion of capital, typically between $350,000 and $1 million.The Foundation commissioned this evaluation of the MacArthur Award to take stock of the program as it approaches its tenth anniversary, to learn more about its influence on awardee organizations, and to inform future decision-making about it and related grantmaking strategies. Slover Linett designed a two-phase study: an initial discovery phase, which included a review of key program documents and interviews with 19 Foundation staff and stakeholders, followed by a primary investigation phase, which included in-person and telephone interviews with 30 past awardees and an online survey of the awardee pool. We then synthesized the findings from all of these sources of data to paint an overarching picture of how the MacArthur Award works and its influence on recipient organizations.

Bridging the Capacity Gap: Cultural Practitioners' Perspectives on Data

April 22, 2015

In the summer of 2013, the Cultural Data Project (CDP) partnered with Slover Linett Audience Research to engage leading researchers in a virtual dialogue about cultural data and its role in supporting the long-term health, sustainability, and effectiveness of the cultural sector. The resulting white paper, New Data Directions for the Cultural Landscape: Toward a Better-Informed, Stronger Sector, identified six key challenges that appear to be inhibiting the field from more strategically and effectively engaging in data-informed decision-making practices.With that report as a starting point, the CDP sought to expand the conversation to include the perspectives of arts practitioners, artists, service organizations, and funding agencies working on the "front lines," by hosting a series of town hall-style meetings in five cities across the country. At these meetings, participants discussed the challenges identified in the New Data Directions report, articulated other challenges they're facing, and began to suggest solutions. In this report, we summarize what we heard and learned from approximately 185 cultural practitioners in town halls in Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Dallas, and Philadelphia.

A Laboratory for Relevance: Findings and Recommendations from the Arts Innovation Fund

December 5, 2012

Starting in 2006, a group of leading California arts institutions set out to innovate with new ways of working in the 21st century. With support from the Arts Innovation Fund of The James Irvine Foundation, they approached the challenge of innovation in a variety of ways, with a wide range of objectives and results. Across the board, the experimentation process prompted organizational reflection and change. Most grantees developed new levels of adaptive capacity, an attribute that many thought leaders believe will be essential for arts organizations, and the arts sector as a whole, to thrive into the future. After a strategic qualitative review of the innovation projects pursued by organizations participating in the Arts Innovation Fund, the Slover Linett evaluation team offers the following report with its insights and recommendations.

Chicago Music City

August 1, 2007

Chicago Music City compares the strength and vitality of music industries and scenes across the United States. Sociologists, urban planners, and real-estate developers point to quality of life and availability of cultural amenities as important indicators of the health and future success of urban areas. Economic impact studies show the importance of music to local economies. This publication compares Chicago's musical strength with the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S., focusing on 11 comparison cities: Chicago and its demographic peers, New York and Los Angeles, and eight other cities with strong musical reputations -- Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Las Vegas, Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans and Seattle.