2018 GIA Conference
Race, Space, and Place
Oakland, CA  |  October 21–24

Information, Learning, and Strategy for Arts Grantmakers

Monday, October 22, 10:00am – 11:30am

Pro Arts: Studio (150 Frank H Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, CA 94612)

Organized and moderated by Renae Youngs, director of Research and Evaluation, Minnesota State Arts Board.

Presented by Wendy Morris, founder, Creative Leadership Studio; Kiley Arroyo, executive director, Cultural Strategy Council; and Ian David Moss, CEO, Knowledge Empower.

Most arts grantmakers profess to have an impact on their communities. But some make decisions based mainly on information about their own past activities, rather than grounding strategy in a dynamic understanding of community context or the effects of their grantmaking. Others rely primarily on intuition or habit to set strategy and allocate resources. Even arts grantmakers who wish to prioritize data-informed decision making can be overwhelmed by existing information. Many lack the technical capacity to learn deeply about their own impact, struggling to turn observations (whether the results of “scientific” study or drawn from other ways of knowing) into meaningful conclusions and action. These gaps in knowledge and practice undermine our field’s collective success. They limit our understanding of the arts sector’s needs and our ability to be responsive to constituents or improve our work. They can also reinforce the unconscious biases and structural inequities that sometimes lurk in our organizations. Why do these limitations persist, even in well-resourced organizations that value learning? What can we do to support each other in incorporating useful, actionable information into our work? Join a panel of experts in arts research, evaluation, and organizational learning to ask tough questions and generate ideas together.