The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a three-year grant of $650,000 to Arts + Design Alumni Research, a nonprofit that manages the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP). The Mellon funding will enable SNAAP to plan and administer a 2022 national survey of arts alumni and support new collaborative partnerships and a more inclusive survey administration.
The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will serve as anchor sponsors and host institutions for SNAAP, beginning in January 2021. UT Austin will be the base of SNAAP’s management, and UIUC will oversee the research activities. A new managing director will be hired at UT Austin, and Dr. Jennifer Novak-Leonard, research associate professor at UIUC, will serve as SNAAP’s research director.
In the new survey, SNAAP will respond to the growing need for greater inclusivity and diversity among the arts schools that are the primary institutionalized routes into creative careers. SNAAP plans to partner with more than 100 colleges and universities to survey approximately 75,000 arts alumni about their educational and career experiences. Registration will begin in 2021–22 and the survey will be fielded in fall 2022.
“We’re enormously grateful to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for recognizing the importance of the country’s art and design schools and the importance of SNAAP to our colleges and universities,” said Douglas Dempster, dean of the UT College of Fine Arts and president of the SNAAP board of directors. “SNAAP is the most thorough and probing source of good alumni-outcome data available to executives and faculty of art and design schools. The research data allows us to quantify our value to higher education and to the cultural life of the nation. The data also guides higher education leaders on program improvements and updates.”
Kevin Hamilton, dean of the UIUC College of Fine and Applied Arts, remarked, “This new effort will add yet greater depth to the evidence-based platform SNAAP has provided arts administrators, educators, scholars and others over the years. By accounting for the ways in which a broader range of arts graduates draw from education in their lives, and especially with respect to the work of artists coming out of minority-serving institutions, SNAAP will help colleges like ours be of ever greater service in addressing the most needed social and economic reforms.”