The Alchemy of High-Performing Arts Organizations

The Alchemy of High-Performing Arts Organizations

Financial success and sustainability for arts organizations begins with artistic excellence and cultural relevance, a report from the Wallace Foundation and SMU DataArts finds. Based on in-depth interviews with leaders of twenty high-performing organizations — ten with a long track record of high performance and ten that at one time struggled but have since shored up their finances and operated in the black for at least five years — the report, The Alchemy of High-Performing Arts Organizations (33 pages, PDF), found that adhering to high standards in the creation of work that is also meaningful to the local community is essential to success. According to the report, other elements of success include clarity of mission, transparency, long-term planning, and the ability to adapt to changing conditions — things that all help leaders build internal support for their efforts, strengthen an organization's brand, lead to greater audience and donor engagement, and put organizations on a surer financial footing.