SMU DataArts - Cultural Data Profile


Ted Russell Named Nasher Haemisegger Fellow at SMU DataArts

  • Posted Oct 05, 2021

Chair of Grantmakers in the Arts and director at the Kenneth Rainin Foundation

to serve as research center’s ambassador to national arts sector


DALLAS (SMU) – October 5, 2021 – SMU DataArts, the national center for arts research based at SMU Meadows School of the Arts, has named Ted Russell, chair of Grantmakers in the Arts and director of arts strategy and ventures at the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, as its third Nasher Haemisegger Fellow, effective October 1, 2021. 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. Russell will serve as an intellectual partner and counsel, working with SMU DataArts leadership on the critical issues prevalent in the arts and culture field. He will also serve as an ambassador for the center, communicating with funders, arts organizations and other constituents of the national arts sector and helping to raise awareness about SMU DataArts’ research.

Russell brings a wealth of experience to his new role. At the Rainin Foundation, whose mission is to support the arts, early childhood literacy and research to cure chronic disease, Russell leads the foundation’s strategic direction for the arts, supporting diverse, visionary artists and collaborating with artists, partners and funders to foster an equitable ecosystem. He is also chair of the board of Grantmakers in the Arts, the only national association that brings together public and private arts and culture funders. Prior to joining the Rainin Foundation, Russell was an organizational consultant who specialized in working with arts and cultural organizations and funders. He also served as the senior program officer for the arts program at the James Irvine Foundation from 2005 to 2016. Earlier in his career, Russell was director of marketing at Montalvo Arts Center, audience development manager for the San Francisco Symphony, annual fund director at the La Jolla Playhouse, and managing director of Malashock Dance.

In 2016, Russell was named a Faces of Theatre Bay Area 40@40 Celebration Honoree as one of 40 community members who have changed the face of theater in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2020, he received the AATAIN Award for Exceptional Merit and Commitment to Supporting the African American Arts Community from the African American Theater Alliance for Independence. In addition, he is a founding board member of 43rd and 44th Street Garden, a community garden in Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood. He holds a B.A. in mechanical engineering from Yale University and an M.B.A. in arts management from the Anderson School of Management at UCLA.

“The SMU DataArts Nasher Haemisegger Fellow plays an integral role in helping us shape and share our findings as well as identify the most pressing questions and issues facing the field,” said Dr. Zannie Voss, director of SMU DataArts. “Ted Russell stands out as a thought leader in the field who shares our priorities of better understanding and fostering an equitable arts ecosystem. I greatly admire his even-keeled, strategic approach to creating systemic change in the arts and culture field. We are excited to welcome Ted to SMU DataArts and look forward to his insights and wise counsel.”

“It’s an honor to be named a Nasher Haemisegger Fellow and follow in the brilliant footsteps of Kate Levin and Karen Brooks Hopkins,” said Russell. “I’m looking forward to serving as an intellectual partner for this respected and influential institution, especially in the era of big data when analysis can help the arts sector better understand organizational health and advance movements for equity.”

Russell’s two-year term follows the successful tenure of previous Nasher Haemisegger Fellows Karen Brooks Hopkins (2016-21) and Kate Levin (2014-16). Hopkins is the former president of the Brooklyn Academy of Music and former senior fellow in residence at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and is now a senior advisor and board member of the Onassis Foundation and a board member of the Jerome L. Greene Foundation. Levin was commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs under the Bloomberg administration. She is now a principal with Bloomberg Associates and oversees the Bloomberg Philanthropies Arts Program, supporting a range of organizations in the United States and around the world.


Ted Russell

Nasher Haemisegger Fellow, SMU DataArts


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 organizations protecting arts organizations through downturns, 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. For more information, visit




For more information, please contact:


Victoria Winkelman

SMU Meadows School of the Arts