SMU’s National Center for Arts Research issues first report

José Bowen

SMU’s National Center for Arts Research issues first report

SMU Meadows School of the ArtsSMU’s National Center for Arts Research (NCAR) has released its inaugural report assessing the health of the nonprofit arts industry.

The report, available online at smu.edu/artsresearch, is built on the most comprehensive set of arts organization data ever compiled, integrating organizational  and market-level data, and assesses the industry from multiple perspectives, including sector/art form, geography, and size of the organization.

The NCAR report is the first of its kind for the arts, creating a data-driven assessment of organizations’ performances industry-wide and identifying drivers of performance.

NCAR is led by faculty at the University’s Meadows School of the Arts and Cox School of Business in collaboration with the Cultural Data Project (CDP) and other national partners. The vision of NCAR, the first of its kind in the nation, is to act as a catalyst for the transformation and sustainability of the national arts and cultural community. In its first study, researchers were able to determine the extent to which managerial and artistic experience and decision-making impact an organization’s performance.

“NCAR is the first organization in the country to examine the performance of the arts industry from a statistical, data-driven perspective,” said Meadows Dean José Bowen. “Not only have we assembled the most comprehensive database and conducted the most in-depth analysis of the industry ever undertaken, but we are sharing these findings freely with the entire industry and providing tools for individual organizations to understand themselves and make changes to improve their performance. This is what makes the project unique – we are not just producing another index of how arts organizations are doing. The ultimate goal of NCAR is to improve the health of both individual organizations and the entire arts and culture ecosystem in the United States.”

To create the inaugural report, NCAR researchers integrated and analyzed data from the CDP and other national and government sources such as the Theatre Communications Group, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Census Bureau, and the National Center for Charitable Statistics. In doing so they created a spatial model of the arts and culture ecosystem of the United States.  The report measures performance on 8 different indices: contributed revenue, earned revenue, expenses, marketing impact, bottom line, balance sheet, community engagement, and program activity.

For each index, overall averages were calculated, as well as averages by sector, by organizational size, and by geographic area. These were broken down into 9 different market clusters, including 5 cities identified as stand-alone markets (New York City, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago).

SMU Meadows School of the ArtsBeyond simply reporting on performance, the NCAR study evaluated specific drivers of performance and then, controlling for these drivers, NCAR was able to create a level playing field for all organizations in order to compare performance across organizations. From this, NCAR estimated how much of the remaining performance variation is attributable to intangible, difficult-to-observe-and-measure characteristics such as good decision-making and managerial or artistic expertise and how much is simply random variation.

NCAR draws on the academic expertise of Meadows and Cox faculty in the fields of arts management, marketing, and statistics. Zannie Voss, chair and professor of arts management and arts entrepreneurship in the Meadows and Cox schools, serves as NCAR’s director and Glenn Voss, the Marilyn R. and Leo F. Corrigan, Jr. Endowed Professor of Marketing at Cox, serves as research director.

“In this first report we took a deep dive into eight of the areas of performance identified, and by studying these averages, tried to answer the question ‘all else being equal, what makes one arts organization more successful than another?’ Some of the findings were as one would expect, but we did find some surprises,” said Zannie Voss. “Perhaps more than any other industry, arts organizations are driven by managerial and artistic expertise. Being able to estimate the value of this expertise in an organization’s performance is the single most valuable result of our first study.”

In 2014, NCAR will launch an interactive dashboard, created in partnership with IBM, which will be accessible to arts organizations nationwide. Arts leaders will be able to enter information about their organizations and see how they compare to the highest performance standards in each of the eight indices for similar organizations. The website will also foster public discussion of best practices and solutions and offer a dedicated YouTube channel for video responses, as well as an online resource library with helpful tools and templates.

Written by Victoria Winkelman

> Read more, including report highlights, at SMU News

December 12, 2013|News, Research|

Former executive director of Hip-Hop Theater Festival joins SMU

Clyde ValentinSMU’s Meadows School of the Arts has appointed Clyde Valentín to develop and lead new programs that will integrate artistic practices with community engagement in Dallas and other urban centers across the country.

Valentín most recently served as executive director of the New York City-based Hip-Hop Theater Festival (HHTF), where he oversaw its transition to become Hi-ARTS, an arts organization fostering creative, multidisciplinary work, outreach and education through the hip-hop art and culture movement. He will begin his new role at the Meadows School immediately.

“The Meadows School of the Arts is thrilled to welcome Clyde Valentín to our staff,” said Meadows Dean José Bowen. “Clyde is an innovator in socially engaged art, and for more than a decade, he has created programs that integrate the arts with their communities. His appointment represents a significant step in Meadows’ ongoing mission to engage in deep relationships with the broader Dallas community and to introduce students to the arts’ critical role in social engagement.”

In his new role, Valentín will build on programs that allow students to immerse themselves in Dallas and to engage with community members and arts institutions to create art collaboratively. Through these cultural collaborations and interactions, Valentín and Meadows faculty members and students will work to enhance Dallas’ existing urban infrastructure, encourage people to think of Dallas culture in new ways, and create a cultural energy that supports Dallas – home to the nation’s largest urban arts district – and its growth as a nationally recognized arts center.

“The arts don’t belong only in the classroom or studio – artists need to engage with their communities to remain vital, and SMU Meadows is a pioneer in instilling these values in its students,” said Valentín. “I look forward to working with Meadows faculty and students to explore best practices in myriad multidisciplinary approaches to making art and engaging the community.”

Under Valentín’s leadership, HHTF presentations and productions appeared in major U.S. urban centers including New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. The festival has presented hundreds of artists and introduced diverse national audiences to the stories, people, music, dance and word of hip-hop. The HHTF also has curated visual arts programs since 2007, including a solo show of the work of pioneering sculptor Carlos Mare139 Rodriguez and classes for teens with noted guest artists.

Born and raised in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, Valentín served as a Fellow at the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the Kennedy Center. He also serves on the Art Advisory Board for the Times Square Alliance, is a board member for the Theatre Communications Group, is an advisor for the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Theater Project and serves on the Steering Committee for the Latino Theater Commons.

> Read more from the Meadows School of the Arts website

October 8, 2013|News|

Calendar Highlights: April 10, 2013

Meadows Percussion Ensemble

Meadows Percussion Ensemble

Percussion double feature: Indonesian master musician Ade Suparman performs with the Meadows Percussion Ensemble and World Music Ensemble at noon  Wednesday, April 10, as part of the Expanding Your Horizons Brown Bag Concert Series. It serves as a preview for the Percussion Ensemble Spring Concert that same day at 8 p.m. The spring concert features different faculty artists and composers:  Andrés Díaz, Meadows cello professor, Dr. Lane Harder, Meadows alum and composition faculty member, and Suparman, who plays the zither and bamboo flute. The noon performance is in the Taubman Atrium; the 8 p.m. performance is in Caruth Auditorium. Both are free and open to the public.

Drone strikes: Is the United States legally obliged to explain its drone policy? This and other topics will be discussed on Thursday, April 11, during Drone Strikes: Security, Human Rights and Morality. The lecture will include perspectives from Jeffrey Kahn, SMU Dedman School of Law professor, Naureen Shah, Columbia Law School associate director, Michael Lewis, Ohio Northern University Law School professor. The panel is moderated by Chris Jenkins, SMU Dedman School of Law professor. The event begins at 5 p.m. in Karcher Auditorium, Storey Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

Screen shot 2013-04-10 at 12.58.03 PM

Poetry and pain: Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences presents an interdisciplinary discussion, The Languages of Pain: What Poetry Can Tell Us about Pain, and What it Can’t. The panel will be led by Willard Spiegelman, Hughes Professor of English, who will be joined by Thomas Mayo, Law; Robert Howell, Philosophy; and Rhonda Blair, Theatre. Each will discuss the role poetry plays in their specific discipline and how people use poetry to give words to inexplicable pain, both physical and mental. Spiegelman is the editor-in-chief of Southwest Review and has authored books, essays and reviews as well as contributed to The Wall Street Journal. The event begins at 4:30 p.m. in Room 133, Fondren Science Building.

Afternoon Gallery Talks: Join Meadows Curator Nicole Atzbach for Martín Rico and His Circle, an afternoon gallery talk Friday, April 12. Atzbach has been with Meadows Museum since 2010 and became a curator in 2012. She will discuss the current Meadows exhibition, Impressions of Europe: 19th-century Vistas by Martín Rico. The talk begins at noon and is free with regular admission to the Meadows Museum.

Jampact: The eclectic Jampact band brings a mix of jazz, funk and world music to campus Saturday, April 13. The band includes some of SMU’s own faculty members; the musicians are Meadows Dean José Bowen, piano, with SMU professors Kim Corbet, trombone and synthesizer; Akira Sato, trumpet; and Jamal Mohamed, drums; with musician Buddy Mohamed on bass. The concert begins at 8 p.m. in the Greer Garson Theatre, Owen Arts Center. Tickets are $7 for faculty, staff and students.

April 10, 2013|Calendar Highlights|

CTE to discuss ‘Higher Ed in the Crosshairs’ Feb. 22, 2013

Concerns about the costs and value of higher education are rising to the top of debate from the kitchen table to Capitol Hill.

In response, SMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence has organized a symposium to explore questions of government support, online competition and the perceived marketability of a university degree.

“Higher Ed in the Crosshairs” takes place from 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22 in the Hughes-Trigg Lower Level. The symposium will examine the extent to which high-quality teaching – especially at a place like SMU – can answer critiques about the costs and benefits associated with a bachelor’s degree.

Register online at SMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence homepage

Participants will also explore the questions of what and how colleges and universities should be teaching students, and how they can demonstrate the results of what happens in the classroom and on campus.

CTE Director Beth Thornburg will provide opening and closing remarks. Speakers and topics include:

  • Dean Albert Niemi, Cox School of Business, on “Valuing Higher Education”
  • Dean William Tsutsui, Dedman College of Humanities & Sciences, on “Preserving the American Character Through Liberal Education”
  • Associate Provost Linda Eads on “Responding to How People Learn,” with panelists including Professors Stephanie Al Otaiba, Teaching and Learning; Miguel Quiñones, Organizational Behavior; Maria Dixon Hall, Communication Studies; and Patty Wisian-Neilson, Chemistry
  • Dean ad interim Marc Christensen, Lyle School of Engineering, on “Using Technology to Enhance Learning,” with panelists including Professors Paul Krueger, Mechanical Engineering; Lynne Stokes, Statistical Science; Scott Norris, Mathematics; and Jake Batsell, Journalism
  • Dean José Bowen, Meadows School of the Arts, on “Demonstrating Our Value,” with panelists including Professors Michael McLendon, Education Policy and Leadership; and Paige Ware, Teaching and Education; and Assistant Provost Tony Tillman

The CTE has created an Xtranormal text-to-movie animated video about the symposium and the issues it tackles. Click the YouTube screen to watch it, or visit this link to see “Henny Penny & Ducky Lucky Discuss Challenges to Academia” in a new windowvideo

> Get a mobile guide to the “Higher Ed in the Crosshairs” program

February 19, 2013|Calendar Highlights, News|

Meadows School named 2012-13 Apple Distinguished Program

Owen Arts Center at SMUSMU’s Meadows School of the Arts has been named an Apple Distinguished Program for the 2012-13 school year for its creative implementation of Apple technologies.

The Apple Distinguished Program designation is given to programs that meet criteria for innovation, leadership, and educational excellence, and demonstrate a shared vision of exemplary learning environments.

“Artists have always been early and voracious adopters of technology,” said Meadows Dean José Bowen. “Apple’s products have provided us with technology that is powerful but invisible; the point is what the technology can do and not how big our computers are. This allows teachers and students to focus on expression, not the tool itself, which is what makes Apple products so special.”

Several years ago, the School adopted an unusual strategy: It removed computers from its classrooms and replaced them with a single audio and video port and a platform on which to place laptops, an area nicknamed the “e-nook.” At the same time, MacBooks became standard equipment for all faculty and students in the school. All users therefore had equivalent hardware and applications that could be used in the classroom or at home. This has allowed Meadows to reduce support and maintenance costs while equipping users with the latest, most powerful technology.

The school has also implemented creative uses for iPad. For example:

  • The music therapy department has been using iPad to help children and adults with autism and other special needs, enabling them to explore and express themselves using various music applications.
  • A journalism professor used iPad to study how mobile technology and social media are used by mainstream news outlets, and he is now publishing the results.
  • A group of graduate students in advertising conducted their entire study-abroad program in India on iPads, using them for all coursework and documentation of their travels.

> Read the full story from SMU News

February 11, 2013|News|
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