SMU DataArts - Cultural Data Profile



Research Papers & Quarterly Reports

Latest Research Papers

Our Research Papers are where we document the range, reach, or economic and community impacts of nonprofit cultural activity.

Buffering Against Uncertainty: Working Capital and the Resiliency of BIPOC-serving Organizations

When faced with uncertainty or the prospect of loss, organizations with adequate savings can plan the best path forward, knowing that a deficit won’t put them out of business.

The Alchemy of High-Performing Arts Organizations: A Spotlight on Organizations of Color

This report, published in partnership with The Wallace Foundation, is based on research conducted during August and September of 2020 investigating the elements of successful strategies employed by high-performing arts organizations that primarily serve communities of color.

BODYTRAFFIC, Los Angeles, CA. Photo by Tomasc Rossa. BODYTRAFFIC, Los Angeles, CA. Photo by Tomasc Rossa.

In it for the Long Haul

Aimed at helping arts and cultural organizations consider key questions and variables as they plan for reopening and a post-COVID-19 future, this report estimates the pandemic’s effect on the nonprofit arts sector and identifies three critical propositions and four prompting questions for consideration.

Theatres at the Crossroads: Overcoming Downtrends & Protecting Your Organization Through Future Downturns

A new report from SMU DataArts and Theatre Communications Group provides insights, analysis, and recommendations to help theatre advocates and leaders support these cultural organizations during vulnerable times.

Previous Research Papers


Latest Quarterly Reports

Quarterly Reports are where we dig in-depth on topics that effect art organizations across various sectors and budget sizes, across the country. The Reports features data visualizations and observations from the field with the goal of promoting discussion and learning amongst art leaders.


The Bottom Line Report

Based on data collected from over 2,500 different cultural organizations between 2016 and 2019, we examine the financial health of cultural organizations by size, sector and location to help inform funders and board members about where support may be needed now and debunk preconceived notions about certain sectors.

The Working Capital Report

How prepared were organizations to weather the downturn brought about by the pandemic, and how can pre-pandemic data help organizations and funders rebuild for the future? The Working Capital Report provides insights into the arts and cultural organization’s average number of months of working capital which shows how long an organization can survive at its current expense size in the absence of revenue.

The Earned Revenue Report

We studied the relationship between total earned operating revenue, earned relational revenue, and expenses for arts and cultural organizations.

  • Key findings on our analysis of 3,886 organizations across 11 different arts and cultural sectors throughout the nation
  • Trends for 1,530 organizations from 2016 to 2018. 
  • What drives effective performance in the average organization
  • Data you can use for the future

The Fundraising Report


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Legacy NCAR Reports