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October 14, 2015

Minority Arts Groups Face 'Chronic Financial Difficulties,' Study Finds

Latino and African-American museums and performance troupes struggle to draw philanthropic support compared to other cultural institutions, creating "chronic financial difficulties" that sharply limit what they are able produce, according to a new report cited by the Los Angeles Times.

The "Diversity in the Arts" study by the University of Maryland's DeVos Institute of Arts Management suggests that donors focus their giving on bigger grants for "a smaller cohort [of minority organizations] that can manage themselves effectively, make the best art, and have the biggest impact on their communities."

Using 2013 tax returns, DeVos found that the 30 largest black and 30 largest Latino nonprofit arts groups had a median budget of $3.8 million, versus $61.1 million for 20 major general arts institutions. Minority entities reported getting 5 percent of their funding from individual donations, compared to a norm of 60 percent for other groups. Michael Kaiser, former president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts who now heads DeVos, called the study "a wake-up call" for arts funders.