ArtsFund Social Impact Study and COVID Cultural Impact Study

Seattle, WA / 2018 & 2022

Project completed at BERK Consulting


ArtsFund is a nonprofit united arts funder supporting arts and culture in the Puget Sound region and Washington State through leadership, advocacy, and grantmaking. High-quality, compelling, and actionable research has been a trademark of ArtsFund’s advocacy work for decades. After decades of economic impact studies, ArtsFund hired Vivien and Radhika in 2018 to document the links between arts and cultural experiences and youth development and education, health and wellness, and neighborhood vitality in its study of the Social Impact of the Arts. This was one of the first studies of its kind to explore the many ways that nonprofit cultural institutions create positive community impacts, while bringing an expanded statewide lens.

Following this work, Vivien supported ArtsFund with the Covid Cultural Impact study (2022). This work investigated the organizational cultural impact of Covid-19 and associated public health policy measures, including venue closures. The data and storytelling in this effort played a key role in bringing policy attention, and public and private resources to stabilize the regional arts and cultural sector.


Our interdisciplinary approach allows us to work collaboratively with clients to achieve goals, even as we are called to adapt in shifting circumstances. In the case of the Social Impact of the Arts, we were able to bring our experience in community development and outcomes to the investigation of linkages with arts and culture. By using a broad approach grounded in values and the advocacy goals of the organization, we were able to develop topics and case studies that would have strong resonance with policymakers. In 2020, ArtsFund had the initial idea to revisit the social impact of the arts, but the onset of COVID made clear that there was a more urgent need to tell the story of impact. Our team quickly pivoted to document the Covid impact as it unfolded, working closely with the client to meet the greatest needs of the cultural community at that time.

Report design by Dapper + Associates.

"The COVID Cultural Impact Study is a deep dive into the Washington State nonprofit cultural community…arts and culture will be critical in economic and community recovery. Acknowledging and investing in the sector and its workforce is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss. This part of a growing movement of arts leaders partnering with civic and community leaders to understand and articulate the impact of arts on society, and it starts with a question: Can arts change our communities in the ways they change our lives and economies?"
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