Policy Map: The Power of Data

            For museums, developing new programming and reaching new audiences is key to growth and sustainability. Missing the mark, means not researching your target audience and not looking at your community. Policy Map allows institutions to easily access their community’s demographics, which gives insitutions the tools needed to incorporate and design new programming. Policy Map is a fully web-based Geographic System that allows the user to research: demographics home sale statistics, health date, mortgage trends, school performance, unemployment, and city crime rates…just to name a few. 
My goal this semester is to research and design new programming for the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), located in University City. My hope with the new programming, is to bring in a new audience that is not familiar or comfortable with contemporary and modern art, and allow them to experience and learn through the use of ICA’s expertise and resources. Modeled after the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), in New York City, the ICA would create peer-focused learning groups. These groups would choose similar interests with fellow candidates and form the groups themselves, based on mutual interest in the study of contemporary and modern art.
My first step was to research local arts organizations in the University City area that could offer an outlet for evaluation and focus groups. One organization that I chose was the University City Arts League, which is located at 4226 Spruce Street, ten blocks away from the ICA. The next step was to locate ages in the area that I wanted to specifically target. One large population that I wanted to target was teenagers and young adults between the ages of 18-34. The map below shows in dark purple the percentages of this age group that live in the area surrounding the ICA. The data reveals that over 27% of the ICA’s community is in the 18-34 age range. The University City Arts League sits right in the midst of this target demographic. As my targeted age is a large percentage of the population, this data will make it helpful to conduct the necessary front-end evalation and focus groups that is needed to form my programming.
Programming offered by museums can open doors and bring in new visitors, however, if there isn’t a need or want, the programming becomes trivial. Using Census data, frequently updated, and constantly expanding, Policy Map is an invaluable tool for non-profits and cultural institutions.