SMU DataArts - Cultural Data Profile


Recess Activities

  • Posted Feb 19, 2016

Recess Activities is a nonprofit art space that supports artists working in a public setting. At once an open studio and an exhibition space, Recess facilitates in-depth interactions among artists and audiences while presenting experimental, process-based projects. It supports the rigorous process of the contemporary artist by creating a site for productive activity that generates a partnership with the public. By remaining free and open to the public throughout each project, Recess offers critical exposure for the artists it supports while fostering an approachable environment for visitors that promotes valuable visual and intellectual interactions.

The Challenge

In 2015, Recess Activities aimed to maintain a high level of diversity across its programming, generate new audiences and supporters, and collaborate with other organizations. The nonprofit’s financial goals included increasing revenue from benefit events by adopting new models; increasing individual donors through social media: and increasing the amount of support offered to artists in the form of larger project stipends. In previous years, Recess lacked the ability to evaluate what programs were working best and delivering a return on investment. “Prior to integrating data analysis, we didn’t have an easy way to pull statistics and reports. We had to manually calculate figures using our bookkeeping software, which was time intensive and less efficient,” said Ali Burstein, Program Director. 

How DataArts Helps

Recess Activities began using the Cultural Data Profile (CDP) and DataArts reports to collect and easily view and compare organizational statistics, gauge areas of growth, and identify areas for improvement. “By highlighting certain trends, such as a decrease in attendance from one year to the next, we are able to consider the cause of such a difference and develop and implement plans for changing this in the following year. Additionally, comparisons to other organizations of similar type and scale are useful in showing how we fit into the broader cultural landscape.”

DataArts, in a Word

Beneficial. We have experienced positive outcomes for grant applications using CDP data and reporting. We have presented data to our Board and received favorable feedback and support. We also have submitted successful applications to the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and New York State Council on the Arts. We will continue to integrate CDP data analysis into our budgeting and planning processes moving forward.”

Read the full case study.