‘Detrimental to the Field’: Art Center at SMU Takes DeVos Institute to Task for Study on Funding

DeVos Institute of Art Management at the University of Maryland.

DeVos Institute of Art Management at the University of Maryland.


In a fairly damning white paper, the National Center for Art Research at Southern Methodist University offered a stark dismissal of the lengthy study on funding models for minority arts organizations that was released by the DeVos Institute of Arts Management last September. A press release states that the white paper took issue with the study’s insistence that “funders would achieve greater results by redirecting funding to a smaller number of ‘high performing’ arts organizations of color, rather than funding a larger number of organizations.”

“Through a data-based analysis of the operating contexts and performance of culturally-specific arts organizations, NCAR argues that a funding model as proposed by the DeVos paper would be detrimental to the field, which will see diversity and innovation diminish as a result,” the release goes on.

The full document, which was written in collaboration with the directors of the Asian American Arts Alliance and the Dallas Black Dance Theatre, goes on to state that the model as proposed by the DeVos Institute would “diminish the level of diversity, dynamism, and innovation in the field.”

The DeVos Institute, which was founded in 2001 at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts but relocated to the University of Maryland in 2013, is named for Betsy and Dick DeVos, the billionaire parents of ArtPrize cofounder Rick DeVos.

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