Approach to Arts Evaluation

Never before have assessment and accountability been so important to sustain funding.  This mandate to measure is here to stay.  From standards-based accountability, to No Child Left Behind testing, to scientifically "proving" long-term effects, artists, faculty, and arts organizations are expected to use evaluation methods that were not originally designed to measure the unique aspects and outcomes of arts-based programs.

Using appropriate evaluation methods can demonstrate the value and benefits of arts programs.

A Creative Solution

Our work has three guiding principles:

  • The creative process is central to our evaluation approach.
  • Our clients - artists, colleges, and arts organizations - are key participants in their own evaluations.
  • Our senior staff - with both graduate level training in evaluation and extensive experience in the arts field as artists, educators, and arts administrators - provide specialized knowledge to clients.

Evaluation can - and should be - a creative process that emulates what takes place in the artist's studio. With our firm, you bring the unique insights about your creative process, programs, and context. We bring arts evaluation and research expertise. Together, we create the tools and process that document, measure, and share your story and impact.

Measuring Your Success

Our approach to evaluation can be tailored to:

  • The Creative Process, such as how the commission of new art is experienced by the artists involved and the audiences who attend performances.
  • Arts Service Delivery, such as a national association that wishes to learn about the quality of its services from its members.
  • Arts Education, such as a school system or charter school that wants to assess its in-school programs according to the language art standards, within the context of the No Child Left Behind legislation. Or, a college department that wants to develop a meaningful approach to is own accreditation process.
  • Philanthropy, such as how a grant portfolio meets a foundation's goals, and can be presented to its board.
  • Arts in Healthcare, such as how an arts program affects patients and caregivers in a healthcare environment.
  • Arts in Social Impact, such as how artists community-based programs can change attitudes or encourage action about an issue of civic or social importance.

A Flexible Framework

The firm provides a range of options so that you make the choice and match your evaluation needs with customized evaluation services. We offer a range of opportunities to collaboratively plan and implement your evaluation design:

  • Half or full day training introduces the principles, leaving you with an overview of the process and a new way of thinking about evaluation, along with several introductory tools. Appropriate for conferences and small or large groups.
  • Full-day seminar to be offered once annually in Washington, DC, to a group of no more than 10, allows for in-depth training, leaving you with a Vision Map and Evaluation Plan for your own program.
  • One-on-one consultations for funders or arts administrators, usually conducted on-site, gives tailored guidance on your specific programs, and customized data collection instruments.
  • Ongoing consultation as programs are underway allows arts organizations or faculty to take advantage of specialized expertise as they need it, including data collection and analysis. Our own customized survey software, integrated into our website, provides you a professional, yet anonymous way, to gather information.
  • Full scale evaluation can be provided after initial planning. Organizations that are too busy with their own responsibilities can turn over the data collection, analysis, reporting, and even board presentations to us.
  • Fundraising consultation guides you in how to frame your evaluation findings in reports and presentations to funders, boards, or the leadership of large institutions.

Expertise in Arts Evaluation and Education

Staff and Senior Consultants bring expertise in evaluation and research methods, and are artists themselves and have taught art.