This blog post is a summary of a recent project completed by Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS). 

Background:  Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS) recently served as a project evaluator for a multi-year arts initiative. The arts initiative included a collaboration of arts organizations whose goal was to experiment with new programming and engage additional and new audience members through funding provided by a group of funding partners. The market research objective was to evaluate the outcomes and impacts of the project as specified in the logic model.

Approach: The three-part evaluation included (1) in-depth interviews and (2) an online survey with arts organizations, funding partners, and project staff; and (3) a detailed review of project documentation. The interviews lasted approximately 20 minutes, while the survey took roughly 10 minutes to complete and was provided to participants via email. Survey and interview participants were selected from the contact list provided by the client. The project logic model was used in conjunction with results from the in-depth interviews, online survey, and document review to determine the success of the initiative in meeting the pre-defined project goals. Following the initial evaluation project, the client re-engaged RMS to conduct a Visioning Exercise, where the study’s findings were highlighted and discussed in a mini focus-group style meeting. The goal of the Visioning Exercise was to determine next steps for the arts initiative following the end of the project funding period.

Results: Here are some highlights of the study’s findings:

  • Increased collaboration among participating arts organizations, funding to experiment with new approaches, and review of regional demographic information provided by a project consultant were major drivers of the initiative’s success.
  • Arts organizations participating in the initiative felt the collaboration among organizations should continue after the project funding is exhausted.
  • Participants felt the initiative could have met more of its goals if additional businesses had been engaged, and more reporting and assistance around audience development had been provided to participating arts organizations.
  • A local economic lull resulting in insufficient funding to create arts opportunities from area corporations and minimal disposable income for local patrons were mentioned as the biggest factors that impact their local arts community.
  • Despite the perceived challenges of the economic situation, a majority of participants felt their local arts community has improved over the past five years and will be even better in the next five years. Increased collaboration among arts organizations participating in the initiative was credited with the improvement.
  • Arts organizations feel they would be more successful in the coming year if they were able to expand their audience, identify funding opportunities for creating and marketing art, and increase awareness of the arts among their local community.

RMS is a full-service market research firm located in Syracuse, NY. If you are interested in learning more about our research capabilities, please contact Sandy Baker, our Senior Director of Business Development & Corporate Strategy at or by calling 1-866-567-5422. Visit our website at