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The Numbers Game

There’s a quote that gets thrown around when arts talk turns to impact: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”

The economy and the government budget standing as they do, discussions surrounding the perceived “value” of the arts (in every definition of the word) are getting a lot of air time. I’ve been really impressed by the persuasive power of efforts like this one in support of PBS. Then, this morning, I saw the video below and was really blown away:

I’ve been considering what a similar piece related to the arts covered here on ArtsJournal would look like and what it might accomplish. What facts and figures would you include in such a presentation?



  1. Number of school children across the U.S. that have had an educational experience at a museum, theater, musical performance etc.

    Number of attendees at free family festivals across the U.S. at art organizations.

    Number of attendees visiting special exhibitions.

  2. I see what you are getting at but a better question would be what can artists do to make a sexier, more relevant case for issues like saving PBS and using less oil. Every institution we know of has failed. Maybe us artists could do what others have not been able to do and save a few lives.

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