Slover Linett's e-newsletter about audiences and culture—from the arts to informal science learning.


With an election coming up to replace Chicago's retiring arts Pharaoh, mayor Richard Daley, it’s a time of transition for the arts community in our hometown. Maybe that’s one reason for the unusual confluence of research and data-sharing projects getting underway.

Our firm alone is working on three city-wide and state-wide studies in the arts: one for the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs to understand the needs of artists; one for the Chicago Community Trust and four leading arts organizations looking at arts education in the public schools; and another for Arts Alliance Illinois, the advocacy and service organization, to learn what arts organizations around the state need most.

There are also new data analysis and tracking efforts like the Illinois Cultural Data Project (sister to CDPs around the US, based on a model the Pew Foundation developed in Philadelphia), a Creative Vitality Index (part of regional planning effort for the Chicago area, in which the arts are just a part), and a local version of the National Arts Index launched two years ago by Americans for the Arts.

One thing all these initiatives share is a spirit of community: they’re ensemble efforts, not star turns. Another is a hunger for objective data on which to ground decisions — data that help us get past our assumptions and take realistic, responsive actions. Both are welcome trends, and we’re happy to be a part of it here in Chicago (and around the country).

If you’re not in Chicago, and even if you’re not in the arts per se, the findings from all this collaborative research may still be relevant to your cultural or educational institution. Stay tuned as the reports are published this Spring. And meanwhile, tell us what kind of research is going on in your community this year.

— Team Slover Linett

Photo: Corey Wagehoft, Flickr (thanks!)

What's New?
January 27, 2011

Participation: It’s In the Air These Days

Participatory engagement in the arts and culture was a front-burner topic this month at Slover Linett. Here in Chicago, we co-sponsored a talk by Nina Simon, author of The Participatory Museum, to an audience of 130 museum professionals, funders, and consultants. Online, Cheryl Slover-Linett helped Alan Brown present a webinar on participatory cultural practice. More »
January 26, 2011

Cabrini College Chooses Slover Linett for Strategic Market Assessment

After a national search, Cabrini College has engaged the firm to analyze new and existing markets for its fast-growing graduate programs, particularly degrees in education. The assessment will help ensure that the college remains responsive to the region it serves while continuing to expand its offerings to new populations. More »
January 19, 2011

Slover Linett to Conduct Chicago Public Schools Arts Education Survey

The Chicago Community Trust, an organization that leads and inspires philanthropic efforts to improve the quality of life and prosperity of the Chicago region, has helped rally the arts sector around arts education in the Chicago Public Schools. Slover Linett recently began working with The Trust and several of its grantees to assess the breadth and depth of education programming provided by arts organizations to Chicago Public Schools students and teachers. More »

January 30, 2011

Innovation starts with self-critique (which is why it’s so rare)

A line in a recent New Yorker article caught my eye. Tim Armstrong, the head of AOL, is bravely retooling the company, starting with a redesign of its homepage. He told a roomful of senior execs that the current homepage feels “like an Internet company designed it.” But isn’t AOL an…internet company? Shouldn’t they be proud of that? More »
January 24, 2011

Music education sure, but which kind? Nick Rabkin's thoughts on the NEC announcement

This past week, two big stories on music education. In one, Carnegie Hall (which is not, at its core, an educational institution) expands its commitment to education. In another, the New England Conservatory (which is, obviously) parts ways with El Sistema USA, one of the most important music ed organizations in the country. Interestingly, both make arguments based on their missions. More »

Slover Linett is a research & assessment firm for the cultural sector, broadly defined. From art museums to dance companies to zoos, we help institutions become more successful by understanding their audiences. We do it through rigorous research and evaluation...More »

Invite a friend
Know anyone else who might be interested in receiving Re:search? Feel free to forward, or type an email address or two below and we'll gladly send a copy. (Please put a space between each address.)