In 2015, Ithaka S+R partnered with New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs to conduct a survey to measure the demographics of the city’s cultural sector. The report of findings was published in January 2016, and is available on our website. Recently, the data used for this report has been made available in an anonymized form through a new national initiative toward archiving data in the arts.

The survey of New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs grantees yielded roughly 40,000 records representing the staff and board members of over 1000 cultural institutions in New York, nearly nine out of ten DCLA grantees. This is potentially the first cycle of an ongoing survey, serving as a benchmark for the city to measure change over time.

The dataset has already been re-used in several ways and continues to have an impact. It resulted in a targeted fund to diversify technical and production staff in theaters in New York. The grant making period for that effort started on January 1st, 2017. The dataset also pointed us towards BRIC, a community arts and media organization in Brooklyn, who allowed us to share in a case study the efforts they’ve made toward cultivating an inclusive organization. And, we used the data to take a closer look at diversity within the dance discipline.

Since the publication of these reports we’ve worked with the data curation team at ICPSR to deposit an anonymized version of the dataset for the research community. Other Ithaka S+R datasets have previously been made available to ICPSR members only. But for our project on diversity in the arts, the dataset has been released in the National Archive of Data on Arts and Culture. As a result, a version of the data for this project is now available for researchers on an open access basis.

I hope this resource will be of use to the community of researchers in the cultural sector, and more broadly. Contact me at with questions about this process or new approaches to the information.