Creating accessible data for the arts

In the challenging economic climate of the past decade, many nonprofit organizations across the country have sought to strengthen their financial and management practices and to more accurately assess the value and impact of their work.

In 2004, The Pew Charitable Trusts formed a consortium of organizations to govern the Cultural Data Project (CDP), an effort to collect, track, and disseminate data on the finances and operations of arts and cultural organizations. Participant organizations have free access to online tools to track individual data and trends over time.

Recognizing the value of reliable, standardized data to our arts and cultural organizations, the Foundation – in partnership with the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, and the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities – brought the CDP here in 2011, joining nine other participating states in the country.

Since then, Rhode Island arts and cultural organizations have been able to participate in this network of organizations working to better track and analyze revenue, audience, and fundraising information.

“Strong and credible arts and cultural data is the foundation upon which policy decisions are made,” said Randall Rosenbaum, executive director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. “Rhode Island’s participation in the Cultural Data Project, and the partnership between RISCA, the Foundation, and the Humanities Council, has helped us better understand the arts’ impact on our state’s economy and quantify the public’s engagement with the arts. This in turn helps funders decide how best to invest in growing this arts and culture sector.”


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