Putting Data to Work for Arts Nonprofits

Over the last five years, my professional life has centered on the arts and data.

At first separately, working at a growth strategy consulting firm providing research and data analysis to Fortune 500 companies and performing with a modern dance company in my spare time. Then together, as the Communications and Development Specialist at Sustain Arts, a data platform developed at Harvard University that caters to the arts sector. Now, as an Associate Consultant at Vogl Consulting, I work alongside principal Marc Vogl on a variety of projects with local and national arts organizations, and I specialize in helping clients use data.

My experiences have taught me that the for-profit sector and the nonprofit arts sector treat data differently.

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Kelly Varian
New Report: Why is cultural data so hard?

In 2012, Harvard University’s Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations launched the Sustain Arts Initiative, a technology project to aggregate and present data on the nation’s arts sector. In partnership with the Foundation Center (now Candid) and Fractured Atlas, Sustain Arts developed three regional online data platforms to serve arts stakeholders in Southeastern Michigan, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the Chicagoland region. Over the course of the project, 40 individual and institutional donors contributed over $3 million to create innovative technology, bring together an unprecedented array of data sets, and promote the use of data in decision-making and policy-setting among arts organizations, arts funders, and public arts agencies.

Our report on the Lessons Learned from the Sustain Arts Initiative data platform, prepared for the MacArthur Foundation, Chicago Community Trust and Chicago arts funders, describes what worked well in Sustain Arts’ efforts in Detroit, the Bay Area and in Chicago and what could be done differently in future data projects to achieve greater success.

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Kelly Varian
Grantees Lead the Way to New Models

By the Kenneth Rainin Foundation Communications team | Sep 28, 2018 | Arts Blog

The Kenneth Rainin Foundation is partnering with a group of our Arts grantees to work toward creating optimal conditions for making art and supporting artists’ capacity to sustain their creative practices. We’re calling this workgroup and process the New Models Cohort.

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marcvogl