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On Friday, December 7th, 2018, ArtsFund hosted a convening presenting the findings of the Social Impact of the Arts study to representatives from 47 unique cultural organizations titled, Making the Case for the Social Impact of the Arts. The presentation of the report’s findings was followed by a panel discussion on how to leverage the research at attendees’ organizations to highlight the important work they do in their communities.

Social Impact of the Arts convening Agenda and printed report

Attendees check in at Northwest Film Forum

Sarah Sidman, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Communications at ArtsFund, cited new data points found in the study. Sidman also explored the themes of the report through the lens of case study organizations that impact Youth Education & Development, Health & Wellness, Neighborhood Vitality, and Equity. Sidman recognized case study organizational representatives in the audience and the specific programs that were mentioned in the report. Sidman offered examples and strategy tips for the audience to use in their own fundraising and advocacy work. When surveyed, 100% of convening attendees said they would implement these tools at their own organization. You can find the slide presentation online.

Panelists (L-R) Sung Yang, Erika Nesholm, and Randy Engstrom

Panelist, Sung Yang (L) answers a question from the audience while panelist, Erika Neholm (R) looks on

Upon conclusion of the report findings, panelists Randy Engstrom, Director of the Office of Arts & Culture at the City of Seattle; Erika Nesholm, Executive Director of the Nesholm Family Foundation; and Sung Yang, Partner and Principal at Pacific Public Affairs and ArtsFund board member, joined the discussion. The panelists shared what they think are effective ways to use the information to empower organizations in their own work. Nesholm advised attendees to start with their boards, making sure they can speak to why the work the organization does matters in the broader community. Engstrom emphasized the importance of storytelling and applying your organization’s work to a hyper-local level. Yang reiterated the importance of creativity to the business community how that is crucial to fueling the economy.

James Miles of Art Corps discusses strategies

Key talking points, as outlined by the panelists, touched on multiple aspects of the report. Nesholm suggested that organizations should emphasize the joy and connection everyone feels to art. Engstrom stressed that investing in arts and culture is investing in the community and that those investments help to build the community. Yang believes that the data shows that partnerships are essential. To be effective advocates for the cultural community, collaboration with organizations outside of the sector is necessary. Yang ended the session with his final talking point—the arts and culture create social impact. All arts and culture organizations can link their work to social impacts in their communities.

Thanks to our distinguished panelists.

Special thanks to Northwest Film Forum for hosting the event.

The event was generously sponsored by The Boeing Company and Sound.

Photos by Robert Wade Photography.

To view the Social Impact Study of the Arts, click here.

To view the Executive Summary of the Social Impact Study of the Arts, click here.

To view the Summary Brochure, click here.

To view the slide presentation, click here.

To view or print Talking Points: Social Impact of the Arts, click here.