Take Arts Programs to the Next Level with Open Data

Many arts organizations perceive that collecting data is an important factor in building relationships with their audiences. Arts managers also use open data to understand their audiences and community. Although the content of open data might not be directly related with arts, there are 1000 of open data sources available in local, regional, and national levels. This data will help arts mangers to identify their current and potential audiences in more detail.

PC Screenshots of  Bureau of Labor Statistics Website  - Source:  https://www.bls.gov/charts/american-time-use/activity-by-emp.htm

PC Screenshots of  Bureau of Labor Statistics Website - Source: https://www.bls.gov/charts/american-time-use/activity-by-emp.htm

Understanding How Individuals Spend Their Time

Arts managers can use an interactive chart, such as this one created by Bureau of Labor Statistics to understand how individuals spend their time. Based on the American Time Use Survey (ATUS), this chart shows the amount of time people spend doing a variety of activities such as learning, volunteering, and socializing. It is grouped by different variables including gender, employment status, and age. The results of ATUS will show if a certain group of people show a strong interest in spending their time in a certain way. Based on this data, arts mangers can design the programs that embrace those values. This broadens an arts manager's perspective and aids them to better understand their audiences.

PC Screenshots of American Community Survey Deliverable- Source: https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/searchresults.xhtml?refresh=t


Identify the Characteristics of a Community

The American Community Survey (ACS) is an ongoing statistical research that guides people to plan investments and services. This study uses three different types of variables: demographic, social characteristics, and economic characteristics. Each type has a board range of variables such as spoken language, special needs, school enrollment, and ancestry. These are the elements that represent a community’s identity. With this data, arts managers can learn about various cultures that exists in their community. When they truly understand the community, they will be able to come up with better approaches of encouraging community engagement.

PC Screenshots of Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation Website - Source: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/opre/research/topic/overview/head-start


Analyze Generational Social Behaviors

Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation (OPRE) has worked to create meaningful guidance for the field of early childhood programming and development. Specifically, Head Start Projects show the benefits of various children’s education programs and activities, which provide a blueprint for other design arts programs. Additionally, over 20 years, Health and Retirement Study provides the data on the health and economic well-being of adults over age 50 in the United States. It addresses social behaviors of older population in terms of decision making, expectations, and meaningful work. Throughout these data, arts managers would be able to understand the difference in the social behaviors of different age groups.

Open data is a great resource for arts mangers to comprehend the trends of current society. Also, it helps them to find similar characteristics between different groups of people. As arts managers know more about their audiences, they will be able to tailor the programs to the needs of their community. When the community acknowledges that an arts organization is dedicated to serving the community, it will be willing to support the growth of the organization.


Work Cited:

Adhikari, Abhay. "The arts and culture sector must think about data … but differently." The Guardian. March 28, 2014. Accessed February 9, 2018. https://www.theguardian.com/culture-professionals-network/culture-professionals-blog/2014/mar/28/arts-culture-sector-data-impact.

Drigotas, Ethan. "An Open Data Overview." Idealware. December, 2014. Accessed January 31, 2018. https://www.idealware.org/open-data-overview/.

"Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES), 1997-2018." OPRE. Accessed February 7, 2018. https://www.acf.hhs.gov/opre/research/project/head-start-family-and-child-experiences-survey-faces.