Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles

New Study Counters Earlier Finding that Arts Organizations Of Color Face Dire Financial Prospects

A study was released by the National Center for Arts Research at Southern Methodist University that counters some of the findings of earlier research that painted a grim financial picture of African American and Latino nonprofit groups.

That previous research, carried out by the University of Maryland’s DeVos Institute of Arts Management, found that arts institutions of color were struggling to equal the size of other organizations, and in general were “far less secure,” as previously reported.

But the new analysis suggests that “culturally specific arts organizations are not disproportionately smaller than their mainstream peers.” If you factor in their sector and age, the National Center for Arts Research paper suggests, organizations that represent people of color “are generally younger and therefore at a different stage in their evolution than mainstream organizations,” according to a press release issued by the center.

In addition, the center’s researchers took issue with the DeVos Institute’s conclusion that funders ought to support “a limited number of organizations” in order to be most effective. That strategy, according to the new study (led by Zannie Giraud Voss, Glenn Voss, and Marla Rubio Teyolia in collaboration with Andrea Louie, executive director of the Asian American Arts Alliance, and Zenetta Drew, executive director of the Dallas Black Dance Theater), “could effectively reduce the overall number of smaller organizations and therefore diminish the level of diversity, dynamism, and innovation in the field.”