SMU DataArts - Cultural Data Profile


Celebrating a Diverse Landscape of LGBTQ Nonprofit Arts Organizations

  • Posted Jun 13, 2024

3-minute read

Celebrate LGBTQIA+ Pride Month with us as we shine a spotlight on 103 incredible organizations that have completed the Cultural Data Profile and are dedicated to serving or are deeply rooted in queer communities. Spanning the nation, these organizations thrive in various disciplines, operate with diverse budget sizes, and champion various missions—from political activism and community space-building to artistic expression and youth support. SMU DataArts’ Communications Manager Courtney Crews has crafted a vibrant visualization to honor their rich diversity and inclusivity. Each organization is depicted as a unique circle, with each colorful ring representing a specific data point (founding decade, sector, geographic location, and budget size) associated with the arts and cultural organization. Hover over the center to see details for each organizational profile.

Credit: Nonprofit Arts & Pride by Courtney Crews

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The Cultural Data Profile (CDP) is an online survey gathering financial and programmatic data from nonprofit arts, culture, and humanities organizations. This data helps them apply for grants and contribute to nationwide research. The CDP asks whether organizations' missions are rooted in or serve specific demographic communities. The highlighted organizations answered yes, selecting LGBTQ demographic categories. Among them are 26 music organizations, the most common discipline, reflecting the long and rich history of LGBTQ choirs across the country.


We reached out to JoAnn Chonoska (she/her), Board Member and Treasurer of the Renaissance City Choir in Pittsburgh, PA, and a participant in SMU DataArts’ Small Organizations Research Advisory Board in 2023. We asked for her reflections on what Pride means to her organization and the role it continues to play in her community. Here is what she shared:

There is a misconception that for LGBTQIA+ individuals, acceptance is now so widespread that inclusion and advocacy are less important than they were a decade ago. Political and social climates and norms change, and this impacts the goal-setting and work of many LGBTQIA+ arts organizations like ours.

Our mission at the Renaissance City Choir (RCC) is to affirm and celebrate LGBTQIA+ identity through the unifying power of music. RCC is western Pennsylvania’s only LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual) and allies choral group. We strive to promote a positive image of the LGBTQIA+ community and to be a leading contributor to the cultural life of the tri-state area.

As we celebrate Pride and consider ways to empower LGBTQIA+ arts organizations, I think about the work we do in addition to the arts we provide. For many such organizations, a primary goal is to build safe spaces and communities where we can express ourselves artistically. Our membership of 122 singers and attendance of over 400 patrons at our 2023 Holiday Concert are evidence that organizations such as ours are both needed and appreciated.

As an organization, the Renaissance City Choir navigates intersectionality as we serve our communities and members. We prioritize making RCC a choral group where singers of diverse abilities, voices, and identities are welcomed. We also focus on advocacy, outreach, and visibility within the many communities that comprise the greater Pittsburgh area.

I also reflect on what it means to be openly oneself, especially in the workplace where the law often does not protect employment. Having LGBTQIA+ diversity as a measurable attribute of a business or organization provides LGBTQIA+ individuals and allies with valuable insight. When LGBTQIA+ artists, arts workers, and leaders are represented in data, funding, and research as a valued component of diversity, then LGBTQIA+ organizations will thrive. I hope we continue to work to truly understand the full impact of these arts organizations within our own communities and beyond.

In closing, I share RCC’s mission to educate, challenge, and enlighten both our audiences and our singing membership. We continue to affirm, by example and through song, the worth and dignity of those in our community. Music that is queer-positive and openly supports issues related to human equality and justice is represented at all RCC concerts.


To learn more about the Renaissance City Choir, visit their website at To learn more about LGBTQIA+ choruses throughout the United States, visit The RCC is supported in part by the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council through its Creative Sector Flex Fund grant program and by the taxpayers of Allegheny County through a public grant from the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD).

JoAnn Chonoska

Board Member and Treasurer

“I reflect on what it means to be openly oneself, especially in the workplace where the law often does not protect employment.”

Image courtesy of Renaissance City Choir, Fire & Ice Holiday Concert. Pittsburgh, PA (2023). Image courtesy of Renaissance City Choir, Fire & Ice Holiday Concert. Pittsburgh, PA (2023).


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