SMU DataArts - Cultural Data Profile


The O’Shaughnessy

  • Posted Feb 29, 2016

The O’Shaughnessy, an arts affiliate of St. Catherine University, is the second largest theatrical venue in St. Paul, and the only arts organization in Minnesota with an emphasis on women’s artistry. Through the support of diverse, cultural, and socially relevant works, the theater stands as a touchstone for the campus, a performing arts venue for the community, and a space for celebration and ceremony.

The Challenge

“We didn’t have a way to consistently track organizational data or a system in place for reporting,” said The O’Shaughnessy Director Kathleen Spehar. “That meant we couldn’t collect and analyze comparative or financial data. We made educated guesses when asked about audience attendance, revenue, and expense trends related to programming. Without data, we were susceptible to criticism from our university parent organization and the community regarding our costs and societal impact. This resulted in misleading, inaccurate perspectives about us that were difficult to correct without evidence.”

How DataArts Helps

The O’Shaughnessy uses DataArts to monitor trends, confirm the accuracy of budget projections, and relate ticket sales to programming choices. Completing the Cultural Data Profile (CDP), helps Spehar maintain consistent information collection and reporting practices. “Thanks to DataArts, we are now able to get accurate financial reporting, analyze trends and patterns within our organization, and use data to inform our decisionmaking. Most importantly, the data have helped us correct misconceptions about the venue, especially in conversations with our parent organization.”

DataArts, in a Word

User friendly. DataArts’ system makes sense. It is user friendly and includes information that we can’t access from other sources. It saves us hours of time and research. Plus, the platform has helped our staff understand how our organization operates. Going forward, we’ll continue to use CDP data from DataArts to illustrate how robust our artist support is, and to help us attract new funders and new resources for our artists.”

Read the full case study.