Tool Box: The Arts Index

tool boxWhile I would love to tell you that I sprang full-grown from the foam of the artistic sea, I actually earned my degree in geology and English Composition. Part of that research scientist nerdiness is still with me, however, and development research makes me drool a little. Ok, a lot.

So when The Arts Index (a project of Americans for the Arts) came to my attention, I was super stoked. Not only was it a research project, but its data is readily useable by those who need it. (As much as I love research, I admit that getting relevant findings to the public in a useable way is often an issue.)

The interface includes an interactive map function that is searchable on both a national and a local level. This year’s report, along with reports from past years, can also be downloaded. Summaries of key findings are also provided. You can compare your county to any other county in the country, up to four counties simultaneously. Indicators such as participation, programming, funding, artistic businesses, expenditures, revenues (among others) are measured. The FAQs section predicates the data thus:

“The difficulty faced by most individuals – even those within the arts – is synthesizing many sets of data into a concise, cogent portrayal of the arts. Indicators (from the Latin indicare – meaning to announce, show, or point out) are statistical measures that, quite simply, help people understand how things change over time (outputs, opinions, operations). Indicators are not one-time snapshots of current conditions. Rather, they are a systematic data collection initiative that is conducted regularly over time.

An arts indicator is a statistical measure created for the purpose of tracking a value or condition related to the arts. The Local Arts Index compresses many arts indicators into one number that is calculated the same way and at regular time intervals – making it easy to compare performance between time periods. …”

Here’s a video tour of the project from Randy Cohen, Vice President of Research and Policy:

So yeah, check out the interactive map and project website here. And let me know what you think. How can you use this data to improve your planning or emphasize your impact?


Posted on March 12, 2013, in Industry Research, Resources, Tool Box, Whitepapers and Downloads and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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