Virtual Arts. Impact Assessment. Wealth Gap.

Feedback on Virtual Arts

The LA Times recently summarized feedback from a small sampling of people (75 self-reported responses) from around America about their experiences with watching performing arts events over the Internet. For some, it was a life-saving activity, while others had zero interest. Accessibility was a big plus, and free or low costs programs were welcomed. Others suffered from digital fatigue and stopped watching. Granted, this was a limited survey, but it nevertheless gives us a sense of how some of the public feels about “virtual arts” offerings. It will be interesting to see if more comprehensive surveys about online performing arts programming in the COVID age are conducted. How organizations think of “the audience” has undoubtedly been expanded due to the pandemic. Strategically, it makes sense to continue offering a mix of programming in person and online after the pandemic recedes. This topic seems well suited for a future-focused class discussion and research interest.  

Evaluating Impact of Culture

The Centre for Cultural Value in the UK shared their survey results in a recent post to the Art Professional. They were gathering ideas about how the Centre could be of value to the cultural sector. If you go to their website, you will see several resources and events they have already undertaken. The frustration of UK cultural organizations with quantitive evidence as the primary source for evaluating impact is a common theme worldwide. There is an example of a qualitative impact survey at the Americans for the Arts Arts Research Hub. The AFTA 2018 survey, Americans Speak Out About The Arts in 2018: An In-Depth Look at Perceptions and Attitudes About the Arts in America, is certainly worth exploring (see pages 20-29). The AFTA survey is an excellent resource for evaluating the impact of the arts, and if you download the data tables, you can drill down into the survey results for a great deal more information.

Bonus Link

I thought the Visual Capitalist graphic this week focusing on the growing generational wealth gap is worth a look. Enjoy.

That’s it for this month. Thanks for subscribing to these updates. Best wishes for the holidays and try to have a happy new year.

Bill Byrnes


We asked readers what they think of virtual arts. Here are their honest responses

By Makeda Easter,, 12/3/2020

For Pamela Geisel, the performing arts — even in their virtual state — have been a lifeline during the pandemic.

Geisel, 65, has spent much of the year driving between Burbank and Prescott, Ariz., which is home for her parents, who have dementia. In between caregiving responsibilities, she has caught at least 10 shows, including Los Angeles Philharmonic highlights at the Hollywood Bowl, Stephen Sondheim’s 90th birthday bash and virtual conversations hosted by arts organizations.

For the full article, click on the title above or the link below:


Culture-led funding or funding-led culture?

By Ben Walmsley and Emma McDowell,, 12/2/2020

In early 2020 we ran a sector survey to better understand how and where the Centre for Cultural Value could add the most value to the cultural sector. We gathered 311 responses from cultural practitioners and researchers from across the UK and beyond, and these insights complemented the face-to-face events that we ran earlier the same year. Several key findings emerged across the Centre’s three core activities: research, evaluation, and policy engagement. In this article, we summarise these findings and reflect on them in light of our recent ‘What value culture?’ festival

For the full article, click on the title above or the link below:

Centre for Cultural Value

Understanding the difference culture makes – We are building a shared understanding of the differences that arts, culture, heritage and screen make to people’s lives and to society. We want cultural policy and practice to be based on rigorous research and evaluation of what works and what needs to change.

Link to Centre for Cultural Values “Resources” tab:

FYI – If you are interested, Ben Walmsley contributed a chapter (#9) to the book I co-edited in 2019. His chapter was titled “Making Change and the Implications for Leadership,” in The Routledge Companion to Arts Management. Ben looks into the gap between theories of organizational change and how change actually plays out in arts organizations.  

If your library does not have a copy of this book, please urge them to order it from Routledge. The book’s range of topics is designed to stimulate research and a more in-depth study of topics covered in Management and the Arts. Thank you.  


Visual Capitalist, Charting The Growing Generational Wealth Gap, 12/2/2020

The chart posted on Dec. 2nd is informative and points out that the generational wealth of those below 70 is on a decreasing trend line. Here’s the link: