Pentacle is pleased to announce the launch of Administrative Resource Team (ART), a groundbreaking two-year research and direct services program for dance artists.

Through this program, Pentacle will draw from its forty-year history in the field to examine the direct benefits and impact of intensive bundled administrative services on artists’ development and growth.

Beginning, in 2017, and with major support from The Scherman Foundation’s Rosin Fund, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, and governmental funding* Pentacle is providing capacity-building support to eight New York City based dance artists in the form of one-on-one mentorship, 24 months of bundled administrative support, and grant funds to use toward implementation of their artistic vision. ART offers bundled services –giving each artist 10 hrs a week of administrative work per year and 100 hours of mentorship per year for two years– which allows them to be more effective at doing what they do best, making works of art.

A second group of eight artists are participating as a comparison group, receiving monetary funds but no direct services. By the end of the study Pentacle anticipates that by serving artists in multiple management areas over an extended period of time, their infrastructure will stabilize and their capacity will grow, as compared to similar artists without access to these services.

“Pentacle’s ART study will unearth valuable information about the extent to which this model of bundled administrative services helps small dance companies progress in the short run, and the extent to which an immersive relationship with administrative experts and mentors builds internal capacity that the artists can apply effectively to organizational viability and artistic success post-study. The data will be broadly useful to dance artists, service organizations and funders.”
–Joan Finkelstein, Executive Director, Harkness Foundation for Dance

Artist Selection

Out of 81 responses to the initial RFP, two panels made up of artists, presenters, managers, and funders and facilitated by program evaluator and arts researcher, Hollis Headrick selected the 16 artists. It was important to create two groups that closely mirrored each other in order to have accurate and productive research. Each artist in the final selection received assessments on their current fiscal, capacity and artistic needs, after which a team of outside evaluators and Pentacle staff used a multi-factor process to divide the artists into the following capacity-building and comparison groups.

  • Capacity-building cohort: Jeremy McQueen/The Black Iris Project; Stefanie Batten Bland/Company SBB; Raja Feather Kelly/The Feath3r Theory; Francesca Harper/The Francesca Harper Project; Kimberly Bartosik/daela; Davalois Fearon/Davalois Fearon Dance; Will Rawls; and Antonio Ramos/Antonio Ramos and the Gang Bangers.
  • Comparison cohort: Andre M. Zachery/Renegade Performance Group, Bryan Strimpel & Shaina Branfman/B.S. Movement, John Zullo/Zullo Raw Movement, Marjani Forte-Saunders/Marjani Forte & Works, Miro Magloire/New Chamber Ballet, Ni’Ja Whitson/The NWA Project, Pam Tanowitz/Pam Tanowitz Dance, and Zoe Rabinowitz/Yaa Samar! Dance Theatre.

The 16 NYC artists participating in ART are extremely diverse demographically; a majority are artists of color and/or women-led companies. This cohort developed out of the needs of these specific NYC artists, a direct reflection of the number of diverse artists  that have been historically underserved, and an indication of the  state of the dance field and the artists who enliven it.

Like the larger economy, the dance field is experiencing an ever widening income gap, creating significant economic and social divides that prevent so many artists from securing opportunities for growth and professional development.

Research Methodology

As a research study, the ART Program has engaged the services of Hollis Headrick/Arts and Cultural Strategies, Inc. to design and implement a methodology for evaluation including:

  • ongoing, hands on monitoring by the Program Director
  • intake assessments and periodic surveys and evaluations by all stakeholders
  • monitoring of rubric established benchmarks for artists including the collection of economic comparable data during different points in the project period
  • an overall program evaluation

Over the course of the two-year study Pentacle hopes that ART will not only bring about increased success for the artists receiving direct services, but also change the way these artists think about and approach their career development. With access to a combination of hands-on support, customized growth plans, and invaluable mentorship with seasoned professionals from the field, these artists will learn how to delegate tasks, manage an administrator, and assemble a team around them that can support and sustain their artistic work far into the future.

Pentacle will share the outcomes of this study with the wider dance community, funders, and support organizations in hopes that it has a significant impact in services to the field.

In just the first eight weeks of ART we are already seeing exciting results. Two ART artists were nominated for a Dancing Laboratory Residency at the National Center for Choreography at the University of Akron; Kimberly Bartosik received a major project grant that was written with her ART administrator; and Will Rawls was featured in the New York Times Arts Section. These opportunities and more are being seized by ART artists because they have the administrative support and guidance they need to follow through on them. At every step along the way, Pentacle is collecting information and analyzing the data to share our findings with the field. Please follow us and stay tuned for more stories!

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