SMU DataArts - Cultural Data Profile


Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic

There is still much to learn about the full impact that COVID-19 will have on our lives and the lives of those around us. We stand in solidarity with arts organizations, their employees, and artists as things continue to unfold and we encourage the community of audience members, donors, and grantmakers to do what they can to continue their support throughout this time of uncertainty.  

Now more than ever, we are here to empower arts and cultural leaders with high-quality data and evidence-based resources and insights that help to overcome challenges and increase impact.

What We Can Do

While data may be the last thing on your mind, we encourage arts and cultural leaders to be mindful of capturing data that will help to tell the complete story about the pandemic’s direct and indirect effects on finances, operations, and attendance. This includes tracking all forms of attendance, modifications to the number of programs offered, and changes in employment, alongside financial data. 

In addition to tracking your own data, you can provide information to help us understand the broad impact of the virus. The COVID-19 Sector Benchmark Dashboard is a free tool that provides near real-time intelligence and advice to help arts leaders see results as they respond to the pandemic.


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Additionally, Americans for the Arts is currently hosting a survey to capture information about the financial and human impacts that the spread of the virus has had on arts and cultural organizations since the first U.S. case was documented on January 20, 2020.  


Take The Survey

Read the weekly updates on survey results from AFTA 


Taking the necessary precautions to protect your staff and constituents is crucial. If you don’t have a plan in place already, the CDC has a helpful tool you can use to begin your preparation. Below is a list of resources to keep yourself informed on the latest available information. 


Centers for Disease Control & Prevention - Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy


There will be many aspects of society in need of recovery and support, including the arts. The National Coalition for Arts' Preparedness & Emergency Response has provided a guide for assisting local artists and small arts organizations in the aftermath of a disaster.

With funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, NCAPER proposes the research and development of a new guide that will give artists and arts organizations step-by-step assistance in navigating the bureaucracy throughout the process in identifying and applying for Federal funding and other assistance. 

Read More About FEMA Field Guide for the Arts

Additionally, and effective immediately, our Advocacy Report subscription is now available free of charge. This tool is designed to help you build a powerful, fact-based case that provides insights into the cultural workforce of your community, its economic impact, and its community impact. Data currently reflected in these reports communicate the pre-crisis story of the reach and impact of the arts, a reminder of their community contributions in addition to their critical role in bringing people together. SMU DataArts will continue to tell the story of trends, factors that drive the sector’s health, and insights about important issues in the field through quarterly reports and white papers.

Our Support Center will continue to operate during normal business hours to answer any questions you may have regarding your Cultural Data Profile and our other services. 

The unknown brings with it elevated anxiety about the future of our sector, but what we do know is that arts and cultural organizations are comprised of resilient, passionate, and creative minds. It is your strength that will be a driving force to help communities get through this together.  


How Can We Help You?

The COVID-19 Sector Benchmark Dashboard

A free dashboard that provides near real-time intelligence and advice to help arts leaders see results as they respond to the pandemic. This project was developed by TRG Arts, SMU DataArts' longtime partner in advancing the arts and culture sector, in collaboration with U.K.-based audience analytics company Purple Seven.

Learn More

Help ensure that the arts and cultural sector is protected during these uncertain times. 

Build a powerful, fact-based case that demonstrates the reach and impact of the arts. Our free Advocacy Report and online courses can help you get there. 

Take Action

View an Example Report

State Arts Agency Directory - National Assembly of State Arts Agencies 

State Senators Directory - United States Senate

Additional Information

COVID-19 Relief Programs and Resources

In an effort to ensure the arts & culture sector is well-prepared to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by relief packages, Arizona Arts Commission provides additional information and resources that have emerged.

Donorbox Nonprofit Blog

COVID-19 Resource Center for Nonprofits

The Donorbox resource center features a number of links to outside resources (and a few of their own) – like information about laws, articles, webinars, free templates, and more – to help your organization cope with the current situation, plan ahead, and emerge as strong as possible in the next few months.

COVID-19 Glossary in 12 Languages

Eriksen Translations has compiled a COVID-19-related glossary in 12 languages and made it available for download.

This resource was assembled with the hope that it will help organizations efficiently translate critical coronavirus-related information and achieve consistent messaging.

How COVID-19 is Impacting Intentions to Visit Cultural Entities

Data reveals when people in the U.S. currently anticipate returning to more regular attendance behaviors.

IMPACTS collects real-time data regarding perceptions and behaviors surrounding cultural organizations. This includes monitoring how people are reacting to COVID-19. In addition to maintaining what is believed to be the largest continuing survey of perceptions and behaviors surrounding cultural entities, they are also monitoring various metrics and key performance indicators concerning 224 entities in the United States.

Monitoring the Theatre Sector

In addition to the immediate operational preparations theatres should take to protect our staff and communities, there are medium- and longer-term consequences to consider. How can theatres prepare for the economic uncertainty of a significant outbreak? What impact might an outbreak have on contributed income? What role can theatres play in supporting our communities before, during, and afterward? How can we be in solidarity with Chinese, Korean, and Asian American communities who are facing racist and xenophobic responses to this outbreak?

Theatre Communications Group is tracking all of these pieces, and, in addition to sharing resources, they are seeking feedback on what would be of most use to theatre organizations right now: an open video chat where theatres can share how they’re preparing and responding - or - a webinar with experts in preparedness? 

File For Unemployment

We're facing the harsh reality that many in the cultural sector have lost their jobs due to the impact of COVID-19.

Along with applying for grant funding opportunities, make sure you also apply for unemployment if you've recently lost your job and are eligible for unemployment benefits. 

What is the Federal Government Doing in Response to COVID-19?

A complete list of information and resources provided by the government to keep you up-to-date on the latest developments.

Including updates from the Institute for Museum and Library Services on grant applications and awardees.

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