Wallace Foundation: The Alchemy of High-Performing Arts Organizations
December 14, 2020 In: Sound Bits
The Wallace Foundation, through its focus on Building Audiences fo the Arts, recently published a report, The Alchemy of High-Performing Arts Organizations. Released in August 2020, the study and report were completed by Dr. Zannie Voss and Dr. Glenn Voss. Dr. Zannie Voss is is Director of the National Center for Arts Research as well as Chair and Professor of Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship in the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University. Dr. Glenn Voss is the Marilyn and Leo Corrigan Endowed Professor of Marketing at Southern Methodist University (SMU) and research director for the SMU National Center for Arts Research.
The Alchemy of High-Performing Arts Organizations examines two cohorts of arts organizations, ten traditionally high-performing organizations and ten organizations that have completed a substantial turn-around process. Through the study and analysis of these organizations, the authors sought to investigate the methods and strategies used to achieve financial success and understand what factors impacted each organization’s success. The report offers practical guidance and insights for organizations looking to achieve financial sustainability.
The report offers clear and compelling takeaways from the twenty organizations studied. One of the core elements highlighted is the importance of community-focused and community-driven work. In what has become a common theme of our work at the PRJC, the authors stressed that “understanding the community’s needs requires that an organization go beyond making assumptions and commit to the ongoing practice of actively listening to its community, then adapting its programming to meet needs.” Community relevance is positioned as a starting point, a foundational element to building high-performing and financially-sustainable arts organizations. One of the interviewed executive directors connected the importance of community-relevant work to financial sustainability: “I do not believe there is another way to achieve a healthy bottom line than through success in being meaningful to the community.” The authors stress the importance of organizations shifting their programming and focus to what is “meaningful to the local community, not just the organization.”
The report and accompanying webinar offer a wealth of insight and knowledge, and come at a pivotal time for all arts organizations.
Read the entire report here: https://www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/Documents/The-Alchemy-of-High-Performing-Arts-Organizations.pdf
Watch a webinar hosted by the Wallace Foundation: What Can Organizations Learn from High-Performing and Turnaround Arts Organizations?, here: https://www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/pages/reimagining-the-future-of-the-arts-a-webinar-series-from-the-wallace-foundation-session-2.aspx