The National Center for Arts Research (NCAR) at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, has appointed Kate D. Levin, former commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs under the Bloomberg administration, to be its first fellow. Launched in February 2012, NCAR recently published its first report on the economic health of U.S. arts organizations (smu.edu/artsresearch), drawing on the most extensive data set ever created for analysis of the arts industry.
As an NCAR fellow, Levin will serve both as an intellectual partner and an ambassador, communicating with arts organizations around the country and helping to raise awareness about NCAR’s research within the field. She will also work with NCAR’s leadership to draw their attention and resources to critical issues and questions in the field for NCAR to address in its research and writings.
“The NCAR staff and advisory board chose Kate Levin as its first fellow because of her extensive knowledge and understanding of the entire arts and cultural ecosystem, from artists to arts organizations in all sectors to communities and cultural policy,” said Zannie Voss, NCAR director. “During her tenure as commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Kate not only had a tremendous impact on arts and culture, but she also embraced the capacity of data as a tool for generating important knowledge and awareness among arts leaders.”
Levin served as commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs from 2002-2013. Managing the largest single arts funder in the U.S., she increased the number of nonprofit cultural organizations receiving support and average grant awards by more than 30 percent, as well as creative sector participation in economic development, tourism, human services and education initiatives. During her tenure, capital funding recipients tripled, expanding the agency’s oversight of planning, design and financing for cultural construction projects—directing over $3 billion for projects in neighborhoods across the city.
At the Department she implemented technology improvements that streamlined application procedures and data collection, and developed capacity-building programs to strengthen nonprofit leadership. She oversaw the city’s permanent public art commissioning program, and helped develop and promote numerous temporary exhibitions and performances. Levin worked to create several new cultural districts and organizations, extending New York’s vitality and impact as a world cultural capital. A former professor of English at City College/CUNY, she also served in the administration of Mayor Ed Koch.
Levin recently joined Bloomberg Associates, Michael Bloomberg’s new international consulting service led by members of his administration, which advises local governments on their most challenging issues and aims to improve quality of life.
“The kind of compelling data analysis that NCAR provides will help arts organizations operate successfully and sustainably and inform wider audiences about the extraordinary ways this field can impact communities—from the economy to employment to human services,” Levin said. “I’m looking forward to helping NCAR determine what kinds of research and information are of greatest value to the field, the public and other stakeholders.”
In 2012, the Meadows School of the Arts and Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University launched the National Center for Arts Research (NCAR). The Center, the first of its kind in the nation, analyzes the largest database of arts research ever assembled, investigates important issues in arts management and patronage, and makes its findings available to arts leaders, funders, policymakers, researchers and the general public. The vision of NCAR is to act as a catalyst for the transformation and sustainability of the national arts and cultural community.
With data from the Cultural Data Project (CDP) and other national and government sources such as the Theatre Communications Group, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Census Bureau and the National Center for Charitable Statistics, the National Center for Arts Research will create the most complete picture of the health of the arts sector in the U.S. The goal of the Center is to become the nation’s leading source of expertise on: 1) arts attendance and patronage, 2) understanding how managerial decisions, arts attendance and patronage affect one another, 3) the impact of the arts on communities across the U.S., and 4) the fiscal trends and fiscal stability of the arts in the U.S., and create an in-depth assessment of the industry that allows arts and cultural leaders to make more informed decisions and improve the health of their organizations.
The project’s indices and dashboard were created in partnership with IBM, TRG Arts and Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF). The Center also partnered with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) to develop its mission, vision and long-term strategies.
NCAR is led by Dr. Zannie Voss, chair and professor of arts management and arts entrepreneurship in the Meadows School of the Arts and SMU Cox School of Business, and Dr. Glenn Voss, Endowed Professor of Marketing at Cox School of Business. Through this leadership, NCAR sources its cross-disciplinary academic expertise in the fields of arts management, marketing and statistics from Meadows and Cox faculty.
More than a dozen visionary foundations and individual arts patrons have supported NCAR with financial investments, including the Communities Foundation of Texas, M. R. & Evelyn Hudson Foundation, Carl B. & Florence E. King Foundation, Jennifer and Peter Altabef, Marilyn Augur, Molly Byrne, Bess and Ted Enloe, Melissa and Trevor Fetter, Carol and Don Glendenning, Jeanne R. Johnson, Nancy Nasher, Nancy Perot, Bonnie Pitman, Caren Prothro and Donna Wilhelm.
For more information or to view the National Center for Arts Research’s inaugural report, please visit the NCAR website at smu.edu/artsresearch.
About the Meadows School of the Arts
The Meadows School of the Arts, formally established in 1969 at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, is one of the foremost arts education institutions in the United States. The Meadows School offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in advertising, art, art history, arts management and arts entrepreneurship, communication studies, creative computation, dance, film and media arts, journalism, music and theatre. The goal of the Meadows School of the Arts, as a comprehensive educational institution, is to prepare students to meet the demands of professional careers. The Meadows School is a leader in developing innovative outreach and community engagement programs, challenging its students to make a difference locally and globally by developing connections between art, entrepreneurship and change. The Meadows School of the Arts is also a convener for the arts in North Texas, serving as a catalyst for new collaborations and providing critical industry research. It shares with the Cox School of Business at SMU the dual-degree MA/MBA in arts management. For more information, visit www.smu.edu/meadows.
About the Cox School of Business
SMU’s Cox School of Business, originally established in 1920 and named in honor of benefactor Edwin L. Cox in 1978, offers a full range of undergraduate and graduate business education programs. Among them: BBA, Full-Time MBA, Professional MBA (PMBA), Executive MBA (EMBA), Master of Science in Accounting, Master of Science in Entrepreneurship, Master of Science in Finance, Master of Science in Management, Master of Science in Sport Management, and Executive Education. The school also offers a number of unique resources and activities for students, ranging from its Business Leadership Center (BLC), Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship, Maguire Energy Institute, and Global Leadership Program to its Associate Board Executive Mentoring Program and an international alumni network with chapters in more than 20 countries.