Friday, May 20, 2022

Screenshot of the Social Impact Explorer wheel, with 30 wedges in a rainbow of colors.

Americans for the Arts has introduced a new 2.0 version of the Arts + Social Impact Explorer, the most comprehensive clearinghouse of example projects and research about the role of arts in community life available today. This new, expanded Explorer debuted at the 2022 Annual Convention in Washington, D.C. on May 19 following 18 months of community and field engagement, design, and development. 

First created in 2018, the Arts + Social Impact Explorer provides examples, datapoints, links to research papers, and lists of active organizations to illustrate the impact of arts and culture in 30 aspects of community life from public health to transportation, safety, community cohesion, and innovation. The original Explorer has, to date, been used by more than 50,000 people across the country to advocate, inform policy, tell the story of the arts, and improve community life.

The 2.0 edition of the Arts + Social Impact Explorer incorporates an array of new features designed to improve the user experience and deepen the impact of the tool. The 18-month process to create this iteration of the Explorer was supported by the Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

New features include: 

  • A searchable, filterable Local Projects Database of social impact-related arts projects that anyone in the field can add to and explore. This database currently includes more than 400 projects from across the country and world, all tagged with information on genre, sector, budget size, geography, and more. Each entry also links back to the original project’s website.
  • An expanded and improved Impact Wheel, now including 30 sectors and incorporating new accessibility features, improved downloadable Fact Sheets about each sector, and a smoother interface.
  • A dynamic Build A Fact Sheet feature that allows users to create and generate customizable, localized information to help them make their case. The Build A Fact Sheet functionality allows users to home in on the specific issues most affecting their community, identify localized examples of how the arts are impacting those issues, curate datapoints and research from over 7,500 publications in Americans for the Arts’ National Arts Policy Database, and add a customized title and logo. The Fact Sheets can then be generated as a PDF to email or download; as a unique URL that can be shared and accessed for up to six  months; or as a pre-formatted printed PDF piece to pass across a desk.

Coming this summer, six “How To guides” will further help users maximize the Explorer as they advocate, educate, communicate, create, and more.

The new Explorer is now running in beta at