SMU DataArts - Cultural Data Profile


SMU DataArts Finds Local Arts Agencies Play Pivotal Role in Community Arts Vibrancy

  • Posted May 04, 2023

Dallas, TX / May 4, 2023 – New research findings from SMU DataArts indicate that Local Arts Agencies (LAA) positively and irrefutably contribute to their communities’ level of Arts Vibrancy. With funding for LAAs frequently challenged, this report shines a light on the importance of these agencies and organizations within their communities. 

Across the board, LAA funding has a significant influence on overall Arts Vibrancy, stimulating more artistic activity in communities and stimulating arts employment. These findings were determined by examining the relationship between LAA budget levels and Arts Vibrancy, as well as each of its three underlying rubrics: Arts Providers, Arts Dollars, and State and Federal Support for the arts, calculated on a per capita basis.

Examining Arts Providers in depth, this research revealed that LAA funding has a direct, positive effect on the per capita number of Nonprofit Arts & Culture Organizations, Arts & Culture Employees, Arts & Entertainment Organizations and Independent Artists in a community.

“The findings in this report provide evidence that if you want to increase your community’s level of arts vibrancy and spark the creative economy, support increased funding for your local arts agency,” says Director of SMU DataArts Dr. Zannie Voss. “The highest levels of arts providers per capita comes when there are high levels of both private philanthropy AND local public arts funding.”


Download the Report (PDF)


SMU DataArts, the National Center for Arts Research, is a joint project of the Meadows School of the Arts and Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University. The mission of SMU DataArts is to provide and engage both organizations and individuals with the evidence-based insights needed to collectively build strong, vibrant and equitable arts communities. Its programs provide free business intelligence tools and educational workshops to help arts leaders leverage data to answer critical management questions, communicate about their organizations, and connect research analyses to their own work. Recent publications include white papers on emergence from the COVID-19 crisis; the alchemy that drives high performing arts organizations of color; audience diversity, equity and inclusion in large performing arts organizations; working capital and the resiliency of BIPOC organizations; and more. SMU DataArts also publishes reports on the health of the U.S. arts and cultural sector with its Arts Vibrancy Index, which highlights the 40 most arts-vibrant communities around the country.




Media Contacts:


Emma England

Communications Manager