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AEA Consulting: The Platform

Construction after Covid: What's Next for Performing Arts Buildings?

by Eric Gershman

Over the course of the pandemic, performing arts producers and presenters have been the hardest hit among cultural institutions due to the challenge of maintaining social distancing throughout front- and back-of-house spaces. Although COVID-19 depressed on-stage production, construction continues on many new and/or renovated performing arts facilities. 

Speaking with performing arts leaders and those tasked with designing and constructing these facilities, AEA's Eric Gershman explores what's next for performing arts infrastructure projects beyond this moment.  

Read the full article here.

"The GREEN" designed by Mimi Lien; rendering by Timothy Leung / Lincoln Center

GCDN Launches New Podcast: The Three Bells

The Global Cultural Districts Network

We are delighted to announce the launch of The Three Bells – a new podcast about culture in its urban context produced by AEA Consulting and the Binnacle Foundation for the Global Cultural Districts Network.

Hosted by a rotating team of GCDN insiders, episodes explore the preoccupations, insights, and self-confessed blind-spots of cultural and civic leaders, followed by a Key Takeaways segment in which our hosts respond with what they have learned from the interviews.

New episodes are released every three weeks. 

The Three Bells

AEA Industry Reports

An overview of cultural sector research the AEA team has been reading. 

An impact assessment of 7 public spaces with the goal to understand impacts of everyday public space, residents, communities and long-term sustainability during the COVID-19 pandemic. They found that: resident-centered projects invited regular activity, that community participation facilitated trust increasing place attachment. Additionally, investments that catalyzed funding for innovative ideas led to local capacity building and community development, and attention to resident-centered and flexible spaces helped projects adapt during the pandemic.

The Alchemy of High-Performing Arts Organizations: A Spotlight on Organizations of Color is phase 2 of SMU's research investigating the elements of successful strategies of arts organizations. This involved interviews with 11 performing arts organizations and 10 community-based arts organizations, all of which serve communities of color, with lower than average budget sizes than those in phase 1, and during COVID-19.

Buffering Against Uncertainty: Working Capital and the Resiliency of BIPOC-serving Organizations is SMU’s update of work done in 2016, exploring the amount of capital that organizations had at the end of 2019 to see if any gains were made while the economy was stronger. The short answer is no: while some organizations had made gains, 47% of examined organizations had less working capital than in 2016, and many others saw no changes. 

This report summarizes the events of a February 2020 convening hosted by the Native Arts and Culture Foundation. Featuring the work and ideas of over 225 attendees from 40 tribal nations, the report distills the convening’s discussions into a series of recommendations to elevate and advance dialogues about Native arts and culture. These recommendations include: allowing Native peoples to lead narratives about themselves, giving Native voices power in policymaking, and advocating for equitable resourcing. 

This report seeks to define the ways that grantmakers and philanthropists can engage in the Solidarity Economy (based on sustainable and equitable community-control of work) and change systems instead of symptoms of inequity. Among its recommendations are that grantmakers embrace systems-change and conduct a power analysis, commit to long-term work with multi-year support, support leadership and study groups to encourage collaboration, and advocate for policies to support this economic structure. It also provides framework suggestions as to how grantmakers can readjust their own practices, plus several case studies on organizations benefiting from this organizational structure. 

The annual tome has details on any imaginable part of the art market in 2020, but key findings include: art sales reaching 50.1 billion in 2020 (down 22% from 2019), with the US, UK, and China still leading the market; Post-War and Modern Art reaching 81% of the value at auctions; and online sales reaching a record high of $12.4 billion (double the 2019 figure) and 25% of the sales by value of the market, the first time the figure has been higher than general retail. 

AEA Consulting is a global firm setting the standard in strategy and planning for the cultural and creative industries.

We are known for our candid and impartial advice that draws on deep knowledge of the cultural sector as well as robust research and analytical insight.

Since 1991, we have successfully delivered more than 1,000 assignments in 35 countries, helping clients around the world plan and realize vital and sustainable cultural projects.