NCAR + TACA: Dallas Arts Organizations: A National Comparison

Dec, 16 2014 / In /

On December 8, 2014, NCAR and TACA (The Arts Community Alliance) co-hosted an event for local art leaders to discuss findings demonstrating how Dallas arts organizations compare to other arts organizations nationally. Due to popular demand, we are making the presentation available online as well as providing a summary of key findings.

Summary of Key Findings

Dallas is in the 95th percentile of all 3,144 counties in the U.S. in its arts vibrancy, measured by per capita strength in total arts dollars, arts providers, and government support in the market. This means that 157 counties rank higher overall. When we consider our Metropolitan Division compared with all 937 Metropolitan Statistical Areas, Dallas-Plano-Irving is in the 91st percentile. More details will be made available on NCAR’s website in January 2015 (

Dallas is similar to the following Other Large Markets in its population, density and size of arts organizations, state arts funding, and median income: Phoenix, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Houston, Santa Ana, Riverside, and San Diego. We examined Dallas’ average outcomes on a variety of indices relative to arts organizations in these Other Large Markets and Chicago. We found that Dallas Arts Organizations in the CDP:

  • Benefit from higher trustee giving and related organization (i.e. TACA) funding.

  • Have lower public funding at every level and lower Net Assets Released from Temporary Restriction, so less funding given in a prior year for future activity. Generate higher return on fundraising than Chicago but lower return on marketing than either Chicago or Other Large Markets.

  • Spend twice as much to bring in each attendee than organizations in Chicago or Other Large Markets and earn more per person once someone attends. Chicago organizations net more program revenue per person than other markets.

  • Attract fewer people per offering and revenue per offering, and serve fewer people relative their budget size.

  • Invest more of their budgets in program and program personnel than organizations in Other Large Markets or Chicago.

  • Struggle to break even, keep up with cash flow needs and maintain access to cash, especially large organizations.

    Opportunities for Growth:

  • It is great to have TACA in Dallas. What could we imagine for the arts in the city if we had TACA funding AND strong public arts funding? If there is high crossover between TACA funders and trustees of arts organizations, there is a lot of pressure on a small group of individuals to carry the support of organizations whose services and offerings are there for the benefit of all of Dallas.

  • The marketing nut is critical to crack. Many of the outcomes reflect lower demand for the arts in Dallas than in peer markets.

  • What are the opportunities for programming that is compelling to Hispanics/Latinos, African- Americans and Asian-Americans in our community – the majority of the population?

See the Full Presentation 


NCAR-TACA Presentation 12-8-14