Detroit Performance Exchange. Photo by Juan Carlos, Featherstone Moments

In to the Archive: Research Initiatives

Our Research Initiatives have focused on national, state, and local aspects of Latinx artistic and cultural production as a means of understanding the social value of these activities.

Detroit Performance Exchange. Photo by Juan Carlos, Featherstone Moments

Michigan Latino Arts Survey

Building Equal Voice for the Growing Latino Population in Michigan through Arts and Culture

With support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, NALAC has successfully delivered our programming suite to support Latinx communities across Michigan. NALAC’s statewide outreach over the past two years has set the groundwork for the Research phase of our multi-platform strategy for investing in Latinx arts communities. With hundreds of new contacts and new relationships, NALAC and Michigan artist communities are well positioned to engage in a mutually beneficial asset mapping study.

Through the survey, we aim to discover what resources are benefiting Michigan arts practitioners, as well as what areas can benefit from further support. To this end, two surveys were customized to address Artists and Organizations, respectively. NALAC will analyze the results and use trends to inform advocacy efforts in support of Michigan Latinx arts communities. The participation of Latinx artists and arts organizations is key to ensure all communities are represented.

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National Conversations

Building Latino Leadership, Cultural Equity and Creative Innovation

Between 2010 and 2012 NALAC conducted six National Conversations to examine innovations, promote national dialogue and gather information on how demographic shifts and economic conditions are affecting the leadership structures, artistic production, organizational capacity and cultural equity in Latino communities. The first three conversations were convened in January 2010 in New York, San Antonio and Philadelphia. These historic conversations resulted in the publication of three white papers (now christened by NALAC as brown papers) that were presented to a national audience at NALAC’s 7th National Conference in San Jose, California. NALAC convened the second iteration of National Conversations in 2011-2012 in San Francisco, Chicago and Miami to gather additional perspectives from the diverse national Latino arts sector. Each conversation was followed by a Town Hall meeting to gather feedback from the arts community in each city. NALAC invited accomplished Latino artists, leaders, legends, scholars and others from around the country to participate in its groundbreaking National Conversations Project in order to identify solutions to issues of capitalization, next generation leadership development and capacity building. After the 2010 sessions, acclaimed journalist Elizabeth Mendez Berry, whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, Vibe, the Village Voice, Smithsonian, The Nation, Time, among many others, prepared a series of three brown papers edited by Dr. Maribel Alvarez. The three papers are “Aesthetics”, “Leadership”, and “Organizations.”

Read the Brown Papers

Nu Flamenco Inc.
Nu Flamenco Inc.

2009-2010 Organization and Artists Economic Survey Analysis

In response to the economic downturn in 2008, NALAC conducted a series of surveys in 2009 and 2010 to assess the economic condition of Latino artists and arts and culture organizations. The data collected shows that the Latino arts field experienced significant decreases and delays in funding, diminished revenue and reductions in staff and programs. Additionally, the results indicate that a significant number of Latino artists surveyed experienced an increase in requests to donate performances, to absorb production expenses and to provide their own equipment and labor in order to present their work. Both artists and organizations explored different strategies to maintain artistic production and provide much-needed programs and services despite harsh economic conditions.

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Teatro Vision de San Jose, 2014 NALAC Fund for the Arts Grantee
Teatro Vision de San Jose, 2014 NALAC Fund for the Arts Grantee

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Survey Analysis

In order to measure the impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding on Latino arts and culture organizations, NALAC conducted a survey focused on the distribution of National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) ARRA grants to Latino organizations. A total of 96 Latino organizations participated in this survey.

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Santa Cecilia Orchestra, 2016 NALAC Fund for the Arts Grantee
Santa Cecilia Orchestra, 2016 NALAC Fund for the Arts Grantee

Nebraska Arts Council Latino Arts Initiative

Composite Report Listening Sessions August 22-25, 2005

The Nebraska Arts Council initiated the Latino Arts Initiative in 2005 in an effort to help develop a comprehensive strategy for providing services to the Latino arts field in Nebraska.  A ten member Steering Committee representing organizations from across the state was formed to facilitate local connections, and NALAC supported outreach efforts to identify Latino artists and organizations and assess their needs. A series of listening sessions were held.  NALAC prepared a synopsis of the sessions based on observations and our conversations with artists and community representatives from across the state.  The report made suggestions for the Nebraska Arts Council to promote an environment of meaningful support to the Latino arts community and promote diversity.

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Asian Arts Alliance, 2011 Diverse Art Spaces Grantee
Asian Arts Alliance, 2011 Diverse Art Spaces Grantee

Latino Arts and Cultural Organizations in the United States

A Historical Survey and Current Assessment

Beginning in 1995, NALAC undertook the necessary task of collecting data on constituent Latino arts organizations throughout the nation. As the first ever national study of its kind, the survey and assessment was a response to the lack of factual data and general information that existed on Latino arts and cultural organizations. Through this research NALAC fulfilled the need to know its constituency better, and fostered mutual understanding among Latino arts and culture organizations and gave others the opportunity to gain insight into this often unrecognized community. During the first phase, two field researchers conducted in-person interviews with 43 organizations throughout the nation. A survey instrument was designed and distributed to each of these organizations. Whereas this first phase consisted of data collection and documentation, the second phase involved some data analysis so as to identify significant conditions and trends that have possible implications for policy. The summary report is based on this research, which focused on the history, development, current conditions and future prospects of these organizations with the goal of documenting this information for further analysis and synthesis. Interviews were divided into two geographic areas- the Southwest/West Coast Region and East Coast/Chicago Region, and the report compiled and synthesized information on key areas such as history, mission, current status, funding, governance, programs, audiences and issues which provided a thorough collective profile of the organizations in that region. The research showed certain unmistakable trends and conditions that have confronted and challenged Latino arts organizations.

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Sayre Quevedo, 2016 Transnational Cultural Remittances Grantee
Sayre Quevedo, 2016 Transnational Cultural Remittances Grantee