SMU DataArts - Cultural Data Profile


Art Sanctuary

  • Posted Dec 07, 2016

About Art Sanctuary

Art Sanctuary is dedicated to bringing Philadelphians together through the unique community-building power of black art. The organization celebrates diversity passionately, understanding the unparalleled strength gained by embracing cultural differences. Art Sanctuary uses the power of black art to transform individuals, create and build community, and foster cultural understanding.

The Challenge

Without professional fundraising or finance staff within her small organization, , Executive Director Valerie Gay wanted to become more strategic about the decisions her team made for Art Sanctuary. She didn’t have deep insight into the health of the organization, and she and a board member found themselves reviewing numbers without much context. “We knew Art Sanctuary had to transform. We didn’t have real insight into how to move out of a deficit in a way that would bring long-term financial health and not just a short-term solution,” said Gay.

How DataArts and the CDP Helped

Working with Your Part Time Controller, Gay used DataArts’ Cultural Data Profile (CDP) for a Greater Philadelphia Cultural Fund grant application. While initially it was difficult to gather and enter all of the data, over time she saw the value of the process of entering and analyzing the data. “We learned that numbers could be a way to tell our story, and using data is a great way to understand the impact of what we do. Now I’m able to complete a narrative for grant proposals, and better communicate our story to the community at large.”

With the help of DataArts’ data, reports, and in-person trainings, Gay was able to make high-level, strategic changes. As a result, Art Sanctuary became a more informed and integrated organization and began to grow.  “We took a hard look at our programming and pared it back to focus exclusively on arts education and family and public programming. We gave up initiatives that might look good but cause a deficit. We revaluated everything, and began to understand how our informed financial decisions could support our fundraising efforts, mission, and core values.”

DataArts in a Word

Resourceful. As a result of developing a data-driven approach to arts management, our programming and the bottom line have blossomed. We doubled our arts education funding by using DataArts’ data as a catalyst for decision-making and in order to articulate our narrative to funders. We stopped living in the dark, and now make calculated decisions on how and where to focus our time and energy.”

Read the full case study.