NASAA Notes: April 2021

April
2021

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April 2, 2021

From the Field

Working Capital and BIPOC-Serving Organizations

New research from SMU DataArts, Buffering against Uncertainty: Working Capital and the Resiliency of BIPOC-Serving Organizations, analyzes trends in the capital levels of arts and cultural organizations, with particular emphasis on organizations serving BIPOC (Black, indigenous and/or people of color) populations. Using information from the National Center for Charitable Statistics, researchers compiled financial data for 1,024 arts and cultural organizations for 2019 and analyzed trends from 2016-2019. According to the findings, BIPOC-serving arts organizations tend to be smaller than their non-BIPOC peers. Despite inequitable access to revenue and capital, from 2016 to 2019 the average BIPOC organization had an increasing trend of surpluses compared to non-BIPOC organizations.

The COVID-19 Pandemic and Rural America

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service has published an analysis of the impact of COVID-19 in rural areas. It found that the nonmetro counties with the highest rates of infection were in manufacturing-dependent and farming-dependent counties, while the lowest rates of infection were associated with nonmetro recreation-dependent counties. The analysis also compared the unemployment and labor force participation rates between metro and nonmetro areas before and during the pandemic.

Race, Ethnicity and Museum Participation

In Exhibiting Inclusion: An Examination of Race, Ethnicity, and Museum Participation, Alexandra Olivares and Jaclyn Piatak examined why Black and Latinx populations are underrepresented in museum participation compared to white populations. Using data from the 2016 General Social Survey, researchers found that inclusive exhibits that present culturally relevant histories are more likely to attract Black and Latinx visitors, and that the current lack of these exhibits is a barrier to access. The paper suggested that the cost of admission alone is not an obstacle to visitors. The paper included a series of recommendations that consider institutional change, representation practices and admission costs for museums.

High-Performing Arts Organizations of Color

The Alchemy of High-Performing Arts Organizations: A Spotlight on Organizations of Color is the second phase of a study of successful arts organizations by SMU DataArts and commissioned by The Wallace Foundation. Researchers interviewed a second cohort of 21 arts leaders to explore the strategies used by high-performing arts organizations serving populations of color. Comparing these organizations to those examined in phase 1 of the study, SMU DataArts found that while many strategies for success were similar, organizations serving communities of color also focused on different strategies, like engaging more with their community and acknowledging the external threats of racism, gentrification and lack of access.

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