How do Small Community-Based Arts Nonprofits in the Twin Cities Struggle or Flourish?

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How do Small Community-Based Arts Nonprofits in the Twin Cities Struggle or Flourish?

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This study focuses on the question, What factors are present, or absent, in Twin Cities community-based arts nonprofits that correlate with their flourishing or struggling? This inquiry is important to the sector because there is limited research available specifically regarding small community-based arts nonprofits; however, the positive impacts of community-based arts organizations are documented. This study is a useful tool for individuals running these small arts nonprofits. Using a grounded theory approach, Rosa Raarup and Lauren White gathered qualitative data, primarily from in-person interviews, with three community-based arts nonprofits in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. After an analysis of the findings and the literature, the authors recommend that small community-based arts nonprofits pay special and equal attention to the three points of the Raarup/White Triangle. This triangle, as well as a number of sub-factors, helps create a full picture of what a small community-based arts nonprofit needs to focus on in order to create a complete, thriving, and resilient organization. The three points are, 1) mission clarity and focus, 2) quality of leadership, and 3) core external resources (both people and money). If any of the three points of the triangle are weak or lacking, an organization will struggle. During the writing of this paper, the COVID-19 pandemic was a monumental concern for many arts nonprofits, both locally and nationally. However, the authors assert that the Raarup/White Triangle helps uphold a thriving community-based arts nonprofit and the three points are vital to consider. This is believed to be true even in the era of COVID-19, or any other extreme event.


University of Minnesota Capstone in partial fulfillment of the MPS in Arts and Cultural Leadership Program. Advisor Margo Gray. Spring 2020. Degree: Master of Professional Studies in Arts and Cultural Leadership. 1 digital file (pdf).

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Raarup, Rosa; White, Lauren. (2020). How do Small Community-Based Arts Nonprofits in the Twin Cities Struggle or Flourish?. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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