SMU DataArts - Cultural Data Profile


REBEL Ensemble for Baroque Music, New York, NY. Photo by Chris Fanning. REBEL Ensemble for Baroque Music, New York, NY. Photo by Chris Fanning.

DCLA Findings: NYC Is Diverse. Its Culture Sector Is Not.

  • Posted Jan 28, 2016

New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs released a new study that provides a racial breakdown of the city’s cultural sector, and found that its diversity falls short of the city itself. The report tabulated data from nearly a thousand cultural groups, including New York Public Radio (the parent company of WNYC), which had to answer a survey if they wanted public funding next year. -

Diversity in New York City

Diversity in the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Community found that 35 percent of the people in the cultural sector — which includes museums, theaters and other organizations — are nonwhite. That compares to a city population that is 67 percent nonwhite.

DataArts Board member, Andrea Louie, who is the executive director of the Asian American Arts Alliance and an adviser to the authors of the report, said upper management is especially lacking in diversity because many people of color working in the arts come from grassroots backgrounds and have less access to wealthy networks that can help with fundraising. “Because we’re not able to access deeper pockets, we become less attractive as potential candidates to perhaps those higher-level roles at larger institutions,” said Louie, who is a member of WNYC’s Multicultural Advisory Council.


Quantifying diversity in labor markets is an inherently fraught pursuit, the study's techniques for recording this data, nomenclature, definitions must be necessarily blunt in order to reduce the richness of characteristics used to categorize race, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, to name only a few into discrete categories. The study aims to collect and analyze existing data for a given community in order to generate a baseline to help measure change over time.

Read the full study here