Sustain Arts for the Bay Area: A New Website

By In Dance

September 1, 2015, PUBLISHED BY IN DANCE

A project of the Hauser Institute for Civil Society at Harvard University, in partnership with the Foundation Center and Fractured Atlas, Sustain Arts equips communities with relevant data that focuses on locating arts and cultural organizations, zeroing in on where arts funding comes from, and building a better understanding of cultural participation and audiences.

Sustain Arts – Bay Area is launching publicly this fall, with the local support of Arts for a Better Bay Area, Dancers’ Group, Theatre Bay Area and Silicon Valley Creates.

screenshot of websiteAfter building their first set of tools in Southeast Michigan, Sustain Arts recently did a soft launch of their second set of regional resources in the Bay Area—marking a major milestone in their effort to provide pertinent and easy-to-access data to the arts and cultural sector. The Bay Area was selected as the second in a national series of Sustain Arts regions because of the prolific number of artists and arts organizations across the region, the engagement with the arts, and the diversity of its people and communities. The inclusion of the Bay Area is an important step toward the project’s longer-term goals. Here, Sustain Arts strives to present findings that will inform the Bay Area’s decision-making, planning, advocacy, funding, and engagement strategies with timely, accurate information about who is making art, who is supporting it, and who is participating in it.

In addition to making resources available to the public, Sustain Arts also created a report that demonstrates what the data can tell us about the region’s arts and culture sector (download the report here). In the Bay Area, Sustain Arts found that that 82% of people participate in arts and cultural activities. Of this, Sustain Arts found that the top disciplines are Film and the Visual Arts (55% and 40% respectively), while Theatre, Literary Arts, and Dance each fall at or below 15% (Music and Humanities both fall near the middle). Within the discipline of Dance, Sustain Arts estimates that $2,420,345,438 (yes, that’s over 2 billion) in arts and culture funding flowed into the Bay Area between 2001 and 2014, and that an estimated 457,587 people attended a live dance performance between 2001 and 2013.

Now that the Bay Area platform is launched, the resources are free-to-use and easily accessible from Artists, cultural programmers, institutional administrators, civic leaders,educators, funders and others invested in a sustainable future for art and culture can use these tools. As of now, individuals may search through over 2,087 arts and cultural nonprofits and over 11,632 businesses in the Bay Area to better connect with and understand organizations, funding, and participation both at a local level as well as in comparison to other regions in the nation.

A variety of free presentations will be announced that will help users interested in Sustain Arts learn more about the project, which will be held at various public arts community convenings, in collaboration with our local partners. Sustain Arts welcomes feedback on what you think of their tools, and how you’re using them. You can submit feedback online at

In Dance is a publication of Dancers' Group.