Frequently Asked Questions - Local Arts Agency Census

There are approximately 5,000 LAAs in the country, and we hope to capture information from as many as possible. For more information about the LAA field and our programs and services that support it, please visit our page dedicated to LAA information.

The Americans for the Arts Research team developed the Census questionnaire in a collaborative effort with our Local Arts Advancement staff, the National Endowment for the Arts’ research and local arts agency staff experts, and the Local Arts Agency Census Task Force.

The Task Force includes the following members, comprising representatives from the LAA field, research methodology experts, and academics.

Task Force Members:

  • Teri Aldrich, Executive Director, Minot Area Council of the Arts
  • Torrie Allen, Chief Officer, Marketing and Development, Alaska Public Media
  • Jennifer Armstrong, Director, Community Arts Development Programs, Illinois Arts Council
  • Amanda Ashley, Assistant Professor, Community and Regional Planning, Boise State University
  • Nick Crosson, Research Analyst at Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance
  • Maryo Gard Ewell, Co-Manager of Creative Districts Program, Colorado Creative Industries
  • Roland Kushner, Asst. Professor, Department of Accounting, Economics & Business, Muhlenberg College
  • Bill Nix, VP (retired), Palm Beach County Cultural Council
  • Felix Padron, Executive Director, City of San Antonio's. Department for Culture,
  • Reuben Roqueni, Program Director, Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (formerly Tucson-Pima Arts Council)
  • San San Wong, Barr Foundation in Boston (formerly San Francisco Arts Commission)

We will contact everyone in our database of LAAs by regular mail, e-mail, and phone in May 4, 2015 in order to ensure that all LAAs are given the chance to participate in this important research study. LAAs will access the Census through this web page. We will provide both a paper version of the questionnaire and a secure web-based Census form. Each LAA will be assigned a unique Survey Key that will provide access to the web-based form. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Graciela Kahn, Research Coordinator, at or give us a call at 202.371.2830.

The Census will request detailed information about each LAA’s staff and board demographic characteristics, its partnerships and collaborations, the programming and services it provides to the community, its revenues and expenditures and budget history (FY2011 through FY2015), and many more important topics. Pre-launch testing demonstrated that the entire survey will take 60-120 minutes to complete, depending on the complexity of your LAA. Because we understand that your time is at a premium, we have taken multiple steps to make the survey as easy to complete as possible.

  • Most of the sections require you to only “check the boxes”. While the paper version of the survey is more than 60 pages long, you’ll notice that is because many sections include long lists of categories where you need to only check the ones that apply to your LAA.
  • You will only see sections of the survey that are relevant to your LAA. For example, if you respond that your LAA does not award grants, you will skip any further questions about grants.
  • You can download a Census Workbook that includes the financial section and other questions that may require you to gather information from your files. Printing the Workbook and filling it out by hand may make completing the online version easier and more efficient.
  • You can save your partially-completed survey at any time. Just click the “Save and Continue Later” link at the bottom of each page. Then, when you are ready to continue, follow the instructions above to return to your partially-completed survey.

We plan to release preliminary results beginning in the fall of 2015, with robust reporting to continue through the summer of 2016.