SMU DataArts - Cultural Data Profile


Chicago Gay Men's Chorus, Chicago, IL. Photo by G. Thomas Ward. Chicago Gay Men's Chorus, Chicago, IL. Photo by G. Thomas Ward.

A Leading Research Center for the Arts

Our Mission

To provide and engage organizations and individuals with the evidence-based insights needed to collectively build strong, vibrant, and equitable arts communities.

Our Work

We employ cutting-edge research techniques and high-powered computing to test hypotheses, build theory, and increase understanding of the arts and cultural sector. Our research efforts range from academic papers published in leading journals, applied research undertaken with community partners, and actionable insights shared directly with arts practitioners.

Our Strategy

SMU DataArts is pursuing a three-year strategy (FY 2023- 2025) emphasizing our core identity as a leading research center. This includes deepening our research and data integration capabilities, continuing to share high-quality insights with the field, and prioritizing ways we can contribute to more equitable funding models. Read our plan.

Our Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Accessibility, and Inclusion

SMU DataArts recognizes that our society is characterized by a complex web of inequities and we are committed to making research, tools, and resources accessible to all persons regardless of race, age, gender expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, and/or socioeconomic status. We strive to conduct our work without bias or preference and we value input and creativity from diverse perspectives. We prioritize data collection and research projects that celebrate the arts and culture of communities of color, and advance equity in access to art, cultural funding, and the sector at large. We commit to contributing to a more equitable funding model for organizations rooted in, led by, or serving people and communities of color. Our equity work is a continuous process requiring ongoing input from the field, accountability, and evaluation.

  • We hold ourselves accountable by sharing progress on our website and providing concrete evidence of our work in this regard.
  • We set goals and define the progress we will make.
  • We actively invite input from the field on our plans and our actions.
  • We regularly address equity, diversity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI) concerns within our organization and report updates to all staff at monthly meetings.


Measuring Demographics and Well-Being at SMU DataArts

Utilizing our own powerful tool, we periodically survey our staff, board, volunteers, and independent contractors to help drive strategic discussion and decision-making toward advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion within the organization.

SMU DataArts News