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The Impact of Artist Residencies | Tools + Models

Alliance of Artists Communities





This project began with a convening at The Bellagio Center, supported by The Rockefeller Foundation, to explore evaluation and assessment strategies at artist residency programs. Bringing together 20 leaders from the artist residency, funding, and evaluation fields, we discussed what we as a field hope to achieve and how we know we are doing it well. At the conclusion of the convening, the Alliance of Artists Communities was asked to continue this work and dig deeper into questions of impact and assessment. [ read a summary of the Bellagio Center convening ]

In our follow-up research, it became clear that few artist residency programs have developed satisfactory frameworks for assessing and demonstrating their impact. Most rely on anecdotes from artists, and indeed these testimonials provide some of the most powerful and compelling evidence of impact. Yet most residency programs still struggle with how to capture this impact and articulate it to stake-holders and the public.

Below are examples of how artist residency programs are approaching impact. We look forward to adding more frameworks, sample assessment tools, and case studies on an ongoing basis.

Africa Centre | Evaluation Framework

Founded in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2005 as a not-for-profit organization, the Africa Centre provides a platform for exploring contemporary Pan-African arts and cultural practice as a catalyst for social change. As a multi-disciplinary organization with a focus on socially innovative work, the Africa Centre deemed it critical to define an approach to understanding its impact. As such, the organization developed a methodology for evaluating its work within the context of social innovation. The framework features its Artist-in-Residence Program as a case study for evaluating impact.

[ read more ]

Africa Centre



Baltimore Clayworks | Measuring Joy

Baltimore Clayworks is a non-profit ceramic art center that exists to develop, sustain, and promote an artist-centered community. The organization offers artistic, educational, and collaborative programs in ceramic arts, including an artist residency program.

Deborah Bedwell, Executive Director, writes about adopting evaluation methods to assess the impact of Clayworks' programs, and wondering how you can measure joy.

[ read more ]

Baltimore Clayworks



Bellagio Center | Evaluation Tools

The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, through conferences and residency programs, supports the work of scholars, artists, thought leaders, policymakers, and practitioners who share in the Foundation's pioneering mission to "promote the well-being of humanity." The Center has a record of major impact, from meetings that led to the Green Revolution and the Global AIDS vaccine initiative, to residencies that furthered the work of Glenn Ligon.

The Bellagio Center shared their assessment tools and spoke with the Alliance about measuring impact in the long-term.

[ read more ]

Bellagio Center




Caldera | Evaluation Case Study

Caldera started as a summer art camp in Central Oregon for urban and rural youth. Programming quickly expanded to year-round programs, including activities in schools and communities in Portland and Central Oregon and a winter artist-in-residence (AiR) program. In 2014, Caldera developed a new evaluation framework for its artist-in-residence program to better understand and track impact of the program over time.

Caldera was driven to create this framework not only for its own AiR program but also to serve as a model for the field, recognizing that artist residency programs have long-struggled with evaluation.

[ read more ]





National Endowment for the Arts | Program Evaluation Resources

The National Endowment for the Arts has compiled a list of resources for program evaluation. The resources include examples from cultural and humanities as well as education, healthcare, human services, and other sectors.



NEA logo




This project is funded in part by support from The Rockefeller Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.