The arts have always been an important part of American culture and life. In 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts was created by Congress to ensure funding for new and existing arts forms in the country. In the recent decades, however, the arts have had a much more difficult time getting funding and support at a national level and are often the first programs to be cut in schools when it comes time to cut budgets.
National arts and culture experts (funders, researchers, nonprofit senior staff, government officials, etc.) identified 17 top national arts and culture nonprofits (out of 275 total reviewed nonprofits). We asked experts to recommend nonprofits that serve a national or multi-state audience or that influence the arts at the national level. These arts organizations could be developing or producing new work, be focused on performance, work to preserve and promote a traditional culture, advocacy, have an educational component, serve any age or type of audience, have any budget size, and/or represent any genre or discipline of art. We were interested in arts nonprofits that have had real impact and do outstanding work, NOT nonprofits that have simply been around for many years or most need additional funding. This research was focused on organizations, not individual artists.
Philanthropedia surveyed 144 national arts and culture experts (with an average of 25 years of work experience in the field) to identify those organizations that were making the biggest impact in the arts and culture field. We believe a high-impact arts and culture nonprofit is one which is successful at creating or producing something of value to those who care about the arts and culture. A high-impact arts and culture nonprofit is able to contribute to the field by creating meaningful work and/or helping others develop an appreciation for the arts and culture.
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