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Arts Data in the Public Sector

Strategies for local arts agencies

Cities are increasingly using data to help shape policy and identify service gaps, but data about arts and culture is often met with skepticism. Local arts agencies, the city and county entities at the forefront of understanding and serving their local creative communities, often face difficulties in identifying meaningful metrics that capture quality as well as quantity in this unique field. With the Covid-19 pandemic and intensifying demand for equity, the desire for reliable, longitudinal information will only increase in the coming years as municipalities with severely limited resources face critical decisions in their effort toward recovery.

So how can arts-minded cities leverage data to better serve grantees, promote equity in service delivery, and demonstrate the impact of arts and culture across a range of significant policy priorities, among other ambitions?

Produced by our Cultural Assets Management team, Arts Data in the Public Sector highlights the data practices of fifteen local arts agencies across the U.S. to capture a meaningful cross-section of constituencies, resources, and strategies. Through best practices and case studies, the Guide offers useful insights and practical resources that can assist and inspire local government arts funders and advocates as they work to establish more equitable and inclusive practices and to affirm the importance of arts and culture as a public service well into the future.

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For further discussion about the Guide


Webinar: Activate Your Arts Data, a virtual conversation recorded in January 2022 with guest speakers from the National Endowment for the Arts and two local arts agencies featured in the Guide (Los Angeles, CA, and Charlotte, NC).


Podcast: Arts Data in the Public Sector with Erin Harkey and David Andersson (GovLove)


Blog: Arts Data in the Public Sector: A new guide for cities to leverage data about arts & culture (Bloomberg Philanthropies)

Article: Reliable Data Critical for Local Arts Funding Decisions (Route F​ifty)

Blog: Painting By Numbers: How Cities Can Use Data to Support the Arts (ARTSblog, Americans for the Arts)