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Performance Management in a creative environment: KPIs used in Arts

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KPIs used in arts

Similar to the typical business environment, the field of arts is also interested in Performance Management, in implementing different standards and performance indicators that range from public appreciation to the artist’s investment in a project. It is an efficient way to bring improvement into an art organization’s performance, in the quality and diversity of its products, in the engagement of the audience and in the artist’s individually.

It starts from the studying process, where sets of standards can be created to guide students throughout their activities and their development. The University of the State of New York offers a developed set of standards, covering the entire palette of artistic activities – dance, music, theatre, visual arts:

  • Creating, Performing and Participating in the Arts
  • Knowing and Using Arts Materials and Resources
  • Responding to and Analyzing Works of Art
  • Understanding the Cultural Dimensions and Contributions of the Arts

After a well-rounded education, an artist can receive further guidance in his professional career from arts managers, who have to make sure that the artists are performing at their best and that the art institution thrives off of them. A study on Current Practices and Trends in the Use of Key Performance Indicators in the Arts provides a list of 20 key performance indicators measured in 95 Not-for-profit Performing Arts Organizations in Quebec in 2009, divided in 7 categories.

KPIs used in arts

Overall, the table offers pertinent indicators that can be used in an artistic institution, but the following recommendations are necessary:

– KPIs should be standardized (Examples: % Market share; $ Expenses; % Audience growth; % Budget variation, # Partners for recurring campaigns and events);

– Clear and separate KPIs: Revenue and Expenses to $ Revenue; $ Expenses;

– Using traffic lights enables a more efficient data visualization.

The study states that it is the art manager’s job to make improvements based on the monitored key performance indicators, and if presented clearly and efficiently, the results can enable him to institute changes where needed.

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Image sources:

Good practices in setting targets
Measuring universities' performance

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