SMU DataArts - Cultural Data Profile


Online Data Literacy Courses

DataArts offers self-paced online courses that build cultural professionals’ ability to use data to inform the everyday decisions they face: understanding and growing audiences, managing finances, and making persuasive cases to internal and external decision-makers. 

See our courses and enroll below.

Looking as We Leap: Data for Decisions

As an arts and cultural professional, you use information every day. You and your colleagues decide how to focus your attention, and how to spend your limited time and money. You are not just leaping from action to action; you are always looking as you leap.

In this course, Andrew Taylor from American University will cover how to connect observation and action in more resourceful and powerful ways. Start with the Introduction, then choose the track that's right for you.


Strength in Numbers: Financial Data Essentials

This course from DataArts and Fiscal Management Associates (FMA) will help you use data to manage your organizational finances. It will cover the following topics.

  • Understanding financial health and decision-making with key financial metrics
  • Crafting financial plans aligned with organizational strategy and goals
  • Understanding and calculating full program cost

Connecting the Dots: Audience Data Essentials

This course from DataArts and The Results Group for the Arts (TRG Arts) will help you use data to attract and engage audiences and constituents. It will cover the following topics.

  • Types of audience data and data capture techniques
  • Setting goals and measuring progress with key audience metrics
  • Segmenting your audience to more effectively engage constituents


Making the Case: Advocacy Basics for Arts Leaders

Making the Case is a free online course from DataArts and Julie Hawkins from Drexel University that introduces the basics of arts advocacy, with an emphasis on using data. It covers topics including:

  • Building a relationship with elected officials
  • Using data to understand your position on important issues
  • Tips for strong messaging
  • Building an advocacy campaign


DataArts’ online data literacy curriculum was generously supported by the Barra Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, and The Heinz Endowments.