Research and Exploration

With its move to the University of Maryland in September 2014, the DeVos Institute of Arts Management has expanded its work into substantive studies in arts management issues that challenge the field. Each year, the Institute will lead a series of research-oriented explorations into the greatest issues of concern to the future of the arts. Each initiative will engage important arts leaders in a series of public symposia and related special projects, culminating recommendations for the field at large as well as practical solutions for arts managers.

In 2016, the Institute investigated the impact of 21st-century technologies on artists, arts institutions, and arts audiences through a series of four debates"Generation Elsewhere: Art in the Age of Distraction" asked artists, arts administrators, and thought leaders to consider: 

  • Can these forces be expected to accelerate in the years and decades to come?
  • If so, how will audiences’ increasing usage of digital technology to understand, navigate, and produce meaning in daily life affect their appetite for traditional art forms and institutions?
  • What must artists, managers, architects, and arts funders do now to keep pace with increasingly short attention spans and a plethora of ever-more sensational, decreasingly expensive, content?
  • Which cultural producers and institutions will flourish in this new environment? Which will falter?

In 2015, "Diversity in the Arts" investigated the challenges facing organizations of color operating in the United States today, with a specific focus on African American and Latino dance companies, theaters, and museums. The arts served as a highly visible arena in the fight for Civil Rights, and the need for healthy arts organizations of color is as great today as it ever was.

"Diversity in the Arts" included "Legends in the Field," a panel discussion reflecting on the legacy of the trailblazing artists and founders of today's leading African American and Latino arts organizations, followed by two subsequent panels that examined the future of organizations of color in the United States. The Institute addressed the current state of these organizations in "Diversity in the Arts: The Past, Present, and Future of African American and Latino Museums, Dance Companies, and Theater Companies," an in-depth study that offers recommendations to foster sustainability in the sector.

Photos by Lisa Helfert.

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