SMU’s National Center for Arts Research (NCAR) released a report Jan. 15 studying arts organizations of color. The report, titled, “Does ‘Strong and Effective’ Look Different for Culturally Specific Organizations?,” examined operating characteristics of arts organizations for minority groups against their more mainstream counterparts.
The study refuted recommendations released in Sept. 2015 by the University of Maryland’s DeVos Institute of Arts Management. The Institute claimed that minority arts organizations are structurally weaker, but NCAR argues that they’re simply “at a different stage in their evolution,” because many are younger and smaller.
Additionally, the Institute proposed that donors support a limited number of organizations, so only the strongest survive. NCAR has instead suggested “a more equitable measure of performance” to find the best method that allows organizations to thrive.
Marla Teyolia, associate director of NCAR, told the Daily Campus, “The Institute’s recommendations were pretty controversial when they came out, and we wanted to respond to them with a data focus.”
When asked about NCAR’s contrary findings, Michael M. Kaiser, chairman of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management, stood by the Institute’s original report.
“I’m sorry they think we’re trying to hurt the field, that is not our intention,” he said.
The two sides did come to an agreement on one thing: the importance of dialogue.
“We’ve seen a large response on social media, and it’s mostly positive. People are excited about our findings,” Teyolia said.
“I stand by my paper. But this is a complicated matter that needs a great deal of discussion,” Kaiser said.
NCAR was established in 2012 in a partnership between the Meadows School of the Arts and the Cox School of Business at SMU. According to their website, NCAR’s vision statement is “to act as a catalyst for the transformation and sustainability of the national arts and cultural community.”