Sustain Arts

Sustain Arts is an unprecedented effort to connect knowledge and networks to build the collective capacity of the arts and cultural sector in America, one community at a time.

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 meaningful data about cultural activity, answering the critical questions: Where are arts and cultural organizations located? Who participates in them? From where does funding come? And how do they maintain relevance over time?

Organizations, artists, private foundations and public agencies access this information through the Sustain Arts website. By combining innovative technology and on-the ground capacity building, the project equips arts and cultural stakeholders with resources to make data-driven decisions, create strategic collaborations and engage more effectively with communities.

Sustain Arts is grounded in the belief that a healthy cultural sector is essential to any vibrant city. Beginning in Detroit and the Bay Area, Sustain Arts will engage a total of six regions over the next three years, developing a resource that lays the groundwork for regional and national cultural policy conversations.

What makes the initiative unique?

• Sustain Arts is updated over time, through a dynamic online platform, building on and synthesizing existing research

• Sustain Arts is not an opinion survey. Instead, the project aggregates existing data to ground its discussions

• Sustain Arts provides an intuitive online platform—you don’t need a PhD to understand the information or how to use it

• Sustain Arts is an asset for a broad and diverse network of stakeholders, including policy-makers, large and small art and culture organizations, individual artists, for-profits and non-profits, private funders and individual donors

• Sustain Arts engages one of the largest collaborations of arts funders to date, including individual philanthropists, foundations and service organizations, promoting the relevance and adoption of resources

• Sustain Arts encourages both the micro and macro-level health of the arts and culture sector, empowering leaders of individual organizations to make data-driven decisions and informing the regional cultural planning efforts of policy makers and funders

A project with broad support
Sustain Arts will be supported by a consortium of over 50 national organizations, public agencies and individuals and currently has more than $2.8 million in committed funds and invited proposals. The project aims to raise a total of more than $4 million in the next three years.  Creative Many has been selected as the Sustain Arts implementation partner for the southeastern Michigan pilot and will partner with Culture Source and the Detroit Creative Corridor Center for outreach and engagement support.