Discovering Fiscally Sponsored Dancemakers
Dance/NYC announces the publication of its "Discovering Fiscally Sponsored Dancemakers" report. Read it HERE.
The study extends Dance/NYC's recent State of NYC Dance, based on New York State Cultural Data Project (CDP) data on nonprofit dance, to the landscape of dance artists and projects sponsored by the Foundation for Independent Artists administered by Pentacle, Fractured Atlas, New York Foundation for the Arts, New York Live Arts, and The Field. In doing so, it provides an unprecedented snapshot of some of those who make dance without their own nonprofit status, the majority of local dancemakers.
Findings help to illuminate the location and economics of fiscally sponsored dancemakers. Whereas three-quarters of nonprofit dance organizations are located in Manhattan, the lion's share of sponsored dancemakers is headquartered outside the borough, creating value for our diverse communities.
The strong start-up culture in nonprofit dance—the ability of groups with budgets of $25,000-$100,000 to make dance with limited resources—is amplified in the fiscal sponsorship arena. Sponsored dancemakers, whose average expenditures are less than $16,000, devote 83% of functional expenditures to programs, as compared to 74 percent for the smallest nonprofits, and demonstrate efficiencies in fundraising and marketing. They make paying artists a priority, committing half of total expenditures to artist fees.
It is not this study's purpose to judge the value of fiscal sponsorship over nonprofit structures, or of one fiscal sponsor over another. Nor is it to redraw a line separating professional dancemakers, often defined by livable wages, from everyone else. To quote cultural economist Diane Ragsdale, such redrawing efforts by the arts field "may be limiting its future (rather than saving it)." Instead, the study represents a best effort to speak in inclusive terms and turn attention to how fiscally sponsored dancemakers are working, and showing their considerable ingenuity, in the dance ecology. We hope it will incite expansive dialogue about the state of dance in our city, opportunities, and strategies for success for fiscally sponsored dancemakers and institutions alike.