Andrew W. Mellon Foundation: Anchor Cultural Institutions Project


AMS Planning & Research was engaged by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support Senior Fellow and Former Brooklyn Academy of Music President Karen Brooks Hopkins on a project exploring the role of anchor cultural institutions in low income areas and communities in transition, addressing how these organizations can make maximum social, economic, and artistic impact.

Working with a research team, AMS studied the organizational context of three very different cultural anchors: the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, AS220 in Providence, and MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts. AMS developed case studies on each of the three organizations by analyzing the characteristics and reach of each anchor’s market, conducting personnel surveys, and networking the existing partnerships between each anchor and other organizations in their local communities.

The work culminated in an iterative dialogue amongst peers, funders, artists, and administrators on how cultural anchors can adapt a framework to measure desired outcomes and positively impact the communities in which they are based. The team presented this research at a project ‘Sounding’ at the Foundation in New York City, as well as the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators, Grantmakers in the Arts, and the Association of Performing Arts Professionals conferences.

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