Culture + Community in a Time of Transformation: FAQs

Information for cultural organizations interested in participating in Wave 2

What was involved in Wave 1 of this research?

Conducted in Spring 2020, the first wave of research, “Culture + Community in a Time of Crisis,” surveyed more than 120,000 Americans online with the help of 653 cultural organizations from around the country. The study — one of the largest surveys focused on arts and culture ever conducted to date — sought to answer a range of challenging questions about the role and relevance of arts and culture in the lives of Americans in light of the COVID-19 public health crisis. Crucially, the study sought to understand attitudes toward participation in the wake of COVID and was expanded to include a greater focus on equity and racial justice.

“Key Findings from Wave 1” was published in July 2020 and has been accessed by more than 17,000 users from around the globe. Separately, the first wave of survey data was analyzed through the lens of race and ethnicity, the result of which is a policy report focused on Black, Indigenous and people of color – or BIPOC Americans: “Centering the Picture: The Role of Race & Ethnicity in Cultural Engagement in the U.S.” Over the last eight months, Microsoft has enabled ongoing access to an Interactive Tool that allows anyone to explore the Wave 1 survey responses. The tool enables comparisons by genre of cultural institution, as well as race and ethnicity to further aid cultural organizations in planning and implementation toward increased relevance, equity and sustainability.

What kinds of organizations are eligible to participate in Wave 2?

In our original wave, we included arts & culture organizations across the sector that maintain email lists of their users, visitors, attenders, subscribers, members, etc. — as long as those email addresses are predominantly for people 18 years or older. We are broadening the kinds of organizations included in this research by actively inviting up to 300 new organizations from categories of institutions who weren’t included or were underrepresented in our Wave 1 work like BIPOC-led and BIPOC-serving organizations, cultural organizations located in rural parts of the country, festivals (film, food, crafts, music), libraries, for-profit arts, and national and city parks. We’re also re-inviting all 653 organizations from the first wave of the study to participate again in this second wave of research. We aspire to reach a large, diverse cross-section of adult arts-and-culture participants from around the country, from museum visitors to arts attenders to people who participate informally or personally in creativity and culture. As we did in Wave 1, we will again be surveying a representative sample of the U.S. population through the AmeriSpeak panel, so we can also learn about the broader community.

What is my organization going to get out of this survey?

You’re probably interested in this study because you want to understand the needs of your audiences and communities at this crucial time, and because you want to be able to earn their continued engagement and support. As with the previous wave, we will share a link that will allow you to download your audience-members’ survey responses for your own use (with no visibility into the data of other organizations’ survey respondents). We’ll also create a password-protected interface that will let you compare your data to the U.S. population averages and to the aggregate of other cultural audiences nationally. Of course, we’ll also be creating a series of reports and web materials based on our analysis of all the data in aggregate, which will be freely available online.

How will the survey be distributed? Will contact information be collected?

If your organization participates, we will send you a unique survey link (coded to your organization) along with invitation language you can email to your audience list — or, if your list is large, only a random subset of your list (see below). You can tailor the invitation language to be reflective of your organization’s voice and community. As an incentive for participation, we will enter all survey respondents into a drawing to win one of 25 Visa gift cards of $100 each. (In order to provide these incentives, we’ll need to ask respondents to submit their name and email address if they would like to be included in the drawing; but the emails won’t be associated with their answers to the survey.) This survey design means you won’t have to share contact information for your lists with us.

What languages will the survey be offered in?

For this wave of the survey, respondents can choose between English, Spanish, Chinese (traditional and simplified), Tagalog, Khmer, Vietnamese, and Portuguese versions after they click on the survey link. Please note that the analyzed survey data and reports will be provided in English.

Whom should we send the survey to?

We encourage you to send to a random sample of your lists of ticket-buyers, visitors, participants, event attenders, etc. We know that many organizations’ lists are skewed toward people who are highly affiliated with the organization (members, subscribers, donors), so we encourage you to be sure to include people who may be less affiliated, e.g. one-time program participants, single-ticket-buyers, e-news subscribers, even Wi-Fi users if you require a sign-in). If you participated in the first round of research, you should send to a DIFFERENT list of people than you used the first time. We’ll be available to coach you through these list-management questions, don’t worry!

How many people should we send the survey to?

Please send the invitation to at least 2,500 (if possible) but no more than 5,000 people for this wave of the survey. Again, if you participated in the first wave of research, we recommend that you send to a new set of people and not those you had emailed about the previous survey.

When should I send out the survey-invitation emails?

We are currently aiming to have the survey programmed and tested in March with a launch date in early April. We will have a finalized timeline for you in early March.

Will it there be a cost to my organization?

No. Thanks to generous support from The Wallace Foundation, Barr Foundation, The Terra Foundation for American Art, William Penn Foundation, Art Bridges, and Knight Foundation we are able to continue to offer this study and its subsequent tools and reporting at no cost to participating organizations.

Should I share this information with my colleagues and professional networks?

We are broadening the kinds of organizations included in this research by actively inviting up to 300 new organizations from categories of institutions who weren’t included or were underrepresented in our Wave 1 work, so please do share this with your colleagues and networks at BIPOC-led and BIPOC-serving organizations, cultural organizations located in rural parts of the country, festivals (film, food, crafts, music), libraries, for-profit arts, and national and city parks. Any who are interested should email Matthew Jenetopulos at

Who will be my contact for this project?

Your main contact for questions about the survey or the resulting data will be Matthew Jenetopulos, a researcher at Slover Linett. He can be reached at or by phone at (773) 348-9200 x107.

What will this contribute to the field?

At its heart, this research is about keeping the cultural sector in dialogue with the experiences and needs of its communities and audiences during the pandemic and beyond. This research will also be designed to support and inform equity across the field.

In wave one, we wanted to support the cultural sector and help strengthen communities around the U.S. during and after this crisis, as well as deepen our understanding of how arts & culture organizations can help their communities during these times…and how communities can support their arts and cultural organizations. We realized, though, that in order for organizations to emerge stronger and more relevant we needed to expand the goals of the project to include informing the sector’s racial reckoning and efforts to decolonize and democratize so as to ensure that the reopening is an opportunity not just for reinstating the past but rethinking and creating deeper equity

What are the next steps if we want to participate?

Please fill out our online form to let us know that you’re interested in having your organization participate in wave 2 of this research. Since we want to ensure that cultural organizations of all types, sizes, and regions are participating in this research, we ask that you please share the following information about your organization in that form:

  • approximate annual operating budget
  • approximate number of employees
  • approximate number of attenders/visitors to your organization in a given normal year

Ballpark estimates are fine—you don’t have to do any digging!

Thanks for your collaborative spirit, trust, and energy. We hope this audience and community research helps guide a stronger recovery for your organization, your community, and the wider cultural sector.