SMU DataArts - Cultural Data Profile


SMU DataArts Selected To Participate in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ $30 Million, International Digital Accelerator Program

  • Posted Jul 20, 2021

Program to help nonprofits improve technology, speed recovery from economic losses due to the pandemic

DALLAS (SMU) --- SMU DataArts, the national center for arts research based at SMU Meadows School of the Arts, is one of 46 arts organizations worldwide selected for the new $30 million Digital Accelerator Program launched July 14 by Bloomberg Philanthropies in New York. SMU DataArts is one of only two organizations in Texas, along with the Austin Opera, chosen for the project. In addition to being a program participant, SMU DataArts will also work with Bloomberg Philanthropies on the design of its program evaluation.

The purpose of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Digital Accelerator Program is to help cultural nonprofit organizations invest in and use technology to speed their economic recovery from COVID-19. The goal is to provide tools and training to help the organizations build audiences, increase fundraising, drive revenue, or continue to deliver dynamic programming virtually and in-person. The program will also support projects with the potential to benefit the broader cultural sector. In addition to funding, Bloomberg Philanthropies will provide leadership development, consulting support, and technical assistance, and share best practices with participants and the wider cultural community.

“When the pandemic hit, cultural organizations everywhere got creative and adapted quickly to keep their virtual doors open,” said Patricia E. Harris, CEO of Bloomberg Philanthropies. “Now we’re excited to launch the Accelerator program to help more arts organizations sustain innovations and investments – and strengthen tech and management practices that are key to their long-term success.”

SMU DataArts compiles and analyzes data on arts organizations and their communities nationwide and develops free, innovative research reports on important issues in arts management and patronage. The Accelerator program will help SMU DataArts streamline data collection, increase data storage, provide more sophisticated data integration and management, and enhance computing power to support increased national demand for data analysis and machine learning.

“We are thrilled to be chosen to participate in the Digital Accelerator program and very grateful to Bloomberg Philanthropies for its catalytic support. The investment in strategic planning and technology combined are so important to long-term sustainability,” said SMU DataArts Director Zannie Voss. “Our mission is to empower arts and cultural leaders with high-quality data and evidence-based resources and insights that help them to overcome challenges and increase impact. In order to do so, DataArts integrates many millions of data points from our Cultural Data Profile, our partner TRG Arts, and other national government sources such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Census Bureau, and IRS 990s, to model the national arts and culture ecosystem. Boosting our data collection and management capabilities will enable us to deliver critical insights to the field more quickly and comprehensively.”

Organizations were invited to apply to the Digital Accelerator Program based on creative excellence, service to diverse communities, talented leadership, and their efforts to improve digital capacity during the pandemic. Bloomberg Philanthropies said that those selected represent a broad spectrum of creative endeavors, and a deep commitment to serving audiences. A full list of the participants, and more information about the program, is available here.


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 vision of SMU DataArts is to build a national culture of data-driven decision-making for those who want to see the arts and culture sector thrive. 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, culturally specific arts organizationsprotecting arts organizations through downturns, gender equity in art museum directorships, 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. For more information, visit



Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 810 cities and 170 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: the arts, education, environment, government innovation and public health. In 2020, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $1.6 billion. For more information, visit




For more information, please contact:


Victoria Winkelman

SMU Meadows School of the Arts