Ranked Nonprofits: National Arts & Culture 2010

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Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one. -Stella Adler
Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one. -Stella Adler

The Cause: The arts have always been an important part of American culture and life. In 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts was created by Congress to ensure funding for new and existing arts forms in the country. In the recent decades, however, the arts have had a much more difficult time getting funding and support at a national level and are often the first programs to be cut in schools when it comes time to cut budgets.

The Scope: National arts and culture experts were asked to recommend nonprofits that serve a national or multi-state audience or that influence the arts at the national level. These arts organizations could be developing or producing new work, be focused on performing arts, work to preserve and promote a traditional or indigenous culture, advocacy, have an educational component, provide arts grants, serve any age or type of audience, have any budget size, and/or represent any genre or discipline of art. We were interested in arts centers or nonprofits that have had real impact and do outstanding work, NOT nonprofits that have simply been around for many years or most need additional funding. This research was focused on organizations, not individual artists.


144 National Arts & Culture experts recommended the following 17 outstanding nonprofits.
Meet the experts and read more about this research.


Top Nonprofit Mission
1 Medal-small-2010 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Endowment is the nation's largest annual funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases.
2 Medal-small-2010 John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Since opening in 1971, the Kennedy Center has continued its efforts to fulfill his vision—presenting the greatest performers and performances from across America and around the world, nurturing new works and young artists, and serving the nation as a leader in arts education.
3 Medal-small-2010 Americans for the Arts
Americans for the Arts is focused on four primary goals: Lead and serve individuals and organizations to help build environments in which the arts and arts education thrive and contribute to more vibrant and creative communities.; Generate meaningful public and private sector policies and more leaders and resources for the arts and arts education.; Build individual awareness and appreciation of the value of the arts and arts education. Ensure the operational stability of the organization and its ability to creatively respond to opportunities and challenges.
4 Medal-small-2010 Creative Capital
Creative Capital is a national nonprofit organization that provides integrated financial and advisory support to artists pursuing adventurous projects in all disciplines. Our pioneering approach combines funding, counsel and career development services to enable a project’s success and foster sustainable practices for its grantees.
5 Medal-small-2010 Walker Art Center
The Walker Art Center is a catalyst for the creative expression of artists and the active engagement of audiences. Focusing on the visual, performing, and media arts of our time, the Walker takes a global, multidisciplinary, and diverse approach to the creation, presentation, interpretation, collection, and preservation of art. Walker programs examine the questions that shape and inspire us as individuals, cultures, and communities.
6 Medal-small-2010 New England Foundation for the Arts
NEFA’s mission is to creatively support the movement of people, ideas, and resources in the arts within New England and beyond, make vital connections between artists and communities, and build the strength, knowledge, and leadership of the region's creative sector. Each program and project that is brought to life at NEFA is created with the underlying goal of building a stronger and more dynamic infrastructure for the arts. Through research, documentation, and evaluation, NEFA works to demonstrate the economic impact of the arts, and to enhance public understanding of how the arts contribute to the vitality of communities.
7 Medal-small-2010 Theatre Communications Group
To strengthen, nurture and promote the professional not-for-profit American theatre.
8 Medal-small-2010 National Performance Network
The National Performance Network (NPN) is a group of diverse cultural organizers, including artists, working to create meaningful partnerships and to provide leadership that enables the practice and public experience of the arts in the United States.
9 Medal-small-2010 Metropolitan Opera
The Metropolitan Opera is a vibrant home for the most creative and talented artists, including singers, conductors, composers, orchestra musicians, stage directors, designers, visual artists, choreographers, and dancers from around the world.
10 Medal-small-2010 Dance USA
Dance/USA sustains and advances professional dance by addressing the needs, concerns, and interests of dance artists, administrators, and organizations. By providing services and national leadership, Dance/USA enhances the infrastructure for dance creation, education, and performance.
11 Medal-small-2010 National Association of Latino Arts and Culture (NALAC)
The National Association of Latino Arts and Culture (NALAC) is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization exclusively dedicated to the promotion, advancement, development, and cultivation of the Latino arts field. In this capacity, NALAC stimulates, facilitates intergenerational dialogues among disciplines, languages, and traditional and contemporary expressions.
12 Medal-small-2010 Alternate ROOTS
Alternate ROOTS is an organization based in the Southern USA whose mission is to support the creation and presentation of original art, in all its forms, which is rooted in a particular community of place, tradition or spirit. As a coalition of cultural workers we strive to be allies in the elimination of all forms of oppression. ROOTS is committed to social and economic justice and the protection of the natural world and addresses these concerns through its programs and services.
13 Medal-small-2010 Fractured Atlas
Fractured Atlas is a non-profit organization that serves a national community of artists and arts organizations. Our programs and services facilitate the creation of art by offering vital support to the artists who produce it. We help artists and arts organizations function more effectively as businesses by providing access to funding, healthcare, education, and more, all in a context that honors their individuality and independent spirit. By nurturing today's talented but underrepresented voices, we hope to foster a dynamic and diverse cultural landscape of tomorrow.
14 Medal-small-2010 Creative Time
Creative Time strives to commission, produce and present the most important, ground-breaking, challenging and exceptional art of our times; art that infiltrates the public realm and engages millions of people in New York City and across the globe. We are guided by a passionate belief in the power of art to create inspiring personal experiences as well as foster social progress.
15 Medal-small-2010 Arts Education Partnership
The mission of the Arts Education Partnership is to demonstrate and promote the essential role of the arts in enabling every student to succeed in school, life and work in the diverse and global economies and societies of the 21st century.
16 Medal-small-2010 Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation
Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation supports the richness and diversity of the region’s arts resources and promotes wider access to the art and artists of the region, nation and world. The Foundation serves the states and territories of Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, the US Virgin Islands, Virginia, and West Virginia. Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation was established in 1979 to promote and support multi-state arts programming.
17 Medal-small-2010 Arts Midwest
Arts Midwest connects people throughout the Midwest and the world to meaningful arts opportunities, sharing creativity, knowledge, and understanding across boundaries.


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Through independent research, Philanthropedia has leveraged the wisdom of 3121 experts to provide reviews on 751 top nonprofits across 46 causes.