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NCAR Releases Third Edition of Report on Health of Arts and Culture Industry

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Sep 23, 2015

The National Center for Arts Research (NCAR) at Southern Methodist University recently released new data and findings on the health of the U.S. arts and cultural sector. The updated edition incorporates new data from 2013 and includes insights on trends in the data from 2010 onwards, a new feature building on the Volume II report published in 2014.

The update provides an in-depth examination of seven performance indices key to assessing the health of the sector: program revenue per attendee, total earned revenue, earned relational revenue (revenue from subscriptions and memberships), return on and response to marketing, community engagement (in-person and virtual touch points), and people per program offering.

“This latest edition of findings demonstrates NCAR’s goal to share information with industry leaders on an ongoing basis, ensuring that our report is a living tool and one that sheds critical light on what is happening in the field over time,” said Dr. Zannie Voss, director of NCAR and chair and professor of arts management and arts entrepreneurship in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts and Cox School of Business. “This report aims to show arts organizations what their peers are doing, what the trends are, and how they are performing in comparison to the rest of the field. For example, one question we look to answer in this edition is how much marketing investment it takes to bring in one person to an organization. By comparing the results of sector practices, an organization can determine if its strategies are in line with those that are most effective in the industry, or if planning needs to be shifted accordingly.”

Key questions this edition addresses include:

  • What is the reach of arts and culture organizations’ community engagement? (Examining both in-person and virtual participation.)
  • What is the relationship of earned relational revenue (revenue from subscriptions and memberships) to an organization’s expenses (before depreciation)? And what is the relationship of total unrestricted earned revenue to expenses?
  • How much program revenue do organizations earn from their total investment in marketing (including staff and non-staff costs) and from non-staff marketing costs alone?
  • How much total marketing investment does it take to bring in one person, first considering all marketing costs and then only non-staff costs?
  • What is the program revenue per attendee?
  • How many people are engaged per offering (not including virtual activity)?

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This resource brought to you by the National Guild for Community Arts Education.