NASAA Notes: September 2022


September issue
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September 13, 2022

From the Field

Death of Downtown?

Has downtown America died? Researchers from the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California at Berkeley set out to answer this question. Using variables such as office vacancy rates, public transit ridership and retail spending combined with location information from cell phone data, the researchers compared prepandemic activity (2019) to recent activity (June 2022). Downtowns have recovered more slowly than the rest of the city, with recoveries varying widely from a low in San Francisco of 31% to a high in Salt Lake City of 155%. Factors attributing to the variation include the presence of industry sectors supporting telework and share of commuter mode.

The research culminates in the Death of Downtown? web portal, where users can interact with the data. Users can explore downtown recovery rankings for different time periods and understand the explanatory variables used, which include percentage of downtown jobs in arts, entertainment and recreation. A policy brief is available for download.

Chorus Operations Survey Report

The 2022 Chorus Operations Survey Report of Chorus America details how chorus budgets, digital and in-person programming activities, and staffing have changed and been managed during the pandemic, as well as what is expected to occur in the future. Data was collected between October 2020 and September 2021 via the SMU DataArts Cultural Data Profiles and a supplemental Chorus Operations Survey. Notably, total operating budgets for the 107 choruses studied have decreased by 14% from fiscal year 2019 to FY2020, primarily due to a decline in earned revenue; today’s budgets rely far more on contributed revenue (78% of total budget), which increased by 19% during the same period due to federal relief funding and consistent individual and foundation support.

Museum Impact Investing Findings

Cultural Capital: The state of museums and their investing, a report by Upstart Co-Lab, the Association of American Museum Directors and the Black Trustee Alliance for Art Museums, surveyed art museums on their current levels of impact investing. Impact investing is a strategy that seeks to create positive social impact alongside financial return. The group surveyed 61 museums with endowments between $10 million and $1 billion and shared the stories of 8 museums and their experience with impact investing. Museums that are most active in impact investing have boards and leadership that champion their efforts, with half having expertise on their investment committees. The report found that impact investing delivered outsized returns with lower risks compared to conventional investing.

Excellence in Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion

The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) has just released a new report, Excellence in DEAI, that examines the strategies museums can employ to move toward equitable outcomes and inclusive spaces. Produced by the AAM DEAI Task Force, consisting of 20 museum professionals from diverse disciplines and organizations, the report outlines four core concepts and the key indicators for meeting each goal. The task force suggests that AAM embed diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion more prominently within its core resources for museums and accreditation process. Additional resources to assist with meeting the four core concepts are provided for museum practitioners.

In this Issue

From the Chair

State to State

Legislative Update

The Research Digest

Announcements and Resources

More Notes from NASAA




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