As Los Angeles’ performing arts center, The Music Center (TMC) has served millions of patrons for more than five decades and is one of the largest and most respected performing art centers in the nation.

Beginning in 2012, TMC undertook a strategic realignment of its dance presenting series in order to better reflect the diversity of the LA marketplace both in terms of age and ethnic diversity. WolfBrown was hired by the TMC to study its audiences, programs, and community and to aid TMC in considering a range of programming approaches that would help align TMC with the diverse LA marketplace.

In order to support TMC in addressing this endeavor in a methodical and strategic fashion, WolfBrown posed a series of questions that guided the research process. The study WolfBrown proceed to conduct, was split into three tracks. Each track was driven by a different research and methodological focus, the resulting data intersected at various points, helping to contextualize, inform and bolster observations and recommendations.

Results provided from the yearlong study provided TMC with new insights into how the dance landscape is changing, what programming TMC should focus on to attract a more diverse audience, as well as recommendations and next steps.

Completed: 2013
Consultants: Alan Brown
Category: Market Quality & Competitive Analysis 


The San Francisco Symphony (SFS) is a musical institution that sets the highest possible standard for excellence in musical performance. It strives to enrich, serve, and shape the cultural life of the many communities throughout the Bay Area.

As a consequence of planning to expand their facilitates – Davies Symphony Hall (DSH), SFS hired WolfBrown to conduct a multi-phase market research study to inform SFS leadership on how to address some of the fundamental changes occurring in arts participation, technology and consumer environment.

WolfBrown proposed a three phase scope of work that integrated the perspectives of SFS staff, board members and musicians, other artists and music industry leaders, audiences, music lovers who did not attend the SFS, as well as representatives of the Bay Area’s diverse communities. Due to the compressed timeline (approximately 12 weeks), WolfBrown partnered with Contemporanea, a San Francisco-based firm with deep experience in understand the cultural needs and interests of the Bay Area’s diverse populations

Each phase resulted in a specific deliverable and at the end a final report was presented. At the conclusion of Phase 3 a final report was drafted, discussed, revised and then presented. The resulting final report proposed a clear conceptual foundation for the expanded DSH facility with respect to the types of activities and functionalities it should accommodate. It made a point to emphasize the reasons why they were important to the long-term future of the organization, the art form, and the community.

Completed: 2011
Consultants: Alan Brown, Rebecca Ratzkin, Salvador Acevedo, Monique Madara
Category: Facility Planning 

A Strategic Plan for a Mental Health Agency
Founded in 1928, ANDRUS serves children and strengthens families by offering enriching early childhood and after-school programs, providing community-based mental health services, and offering special education for emotionally fragile children in multiple sites around Westchester County and the New York Metropolitan area. WolfBrown was engaged to assist with the development of a strategic plan early in the tenure of the organization’s new President and Chief Executive Officer. The focus of the planning process took into account changes in healthcare systems in the US and the impact of these changes on programs, human resources, governance, facilities, and financial resources. The final product included detailed financial scenarios as well as timelines for proposed actions.

Since approval of the plan, WolfBrown consultants have been engaged to ensure the plan’s implementation.  The consultants have also assisted with enhancements in the area of governance, fundraising, and research/evaluation.

Consultants: Thomas Wolf, Jane Culbert
Year Complete: 2016
Category: Strategic Planning

barr foundation and Klarman Family Foundation
A Study of Youth Arts Mastery in Boston
As part of their shared investment in Boston’s long-term cultural vitality, the Barr and Klarman Family Foundations commissioned WolfBrown to conduct a study of youth arts mastery (YAM) in Boston. The study was designed to:


  • Examine and update received definitions of arts mastery, with the aim of enriching how to think about youth arts mastery in a contemporary world.
  • Think about the U.S. and specifically, the city of Boston, as two contexts that shape the pursuit of arts mastery.
  • Take stock of what the Boston public schools, along youth arts providers and cultural organizations, do to support young people who are pursuing arts mastery through classes, programs, and other opportunities.
  • Conduct in-depth interviews with young people pursuing arts mastery to learn about their pathways, notably what supported their progress, what barriers they encountered, and what they would ask of the schools, cultural organizations, and the city.
  • Conduct a parallel set of interviews with program directors, teachers, and mentors who work closely with young people.
  • Develop a set of portraits designed to capture the supports and barriers that young people experience as aspiring members of formal and informal artistic communities throughout the city.
  • Define a set of core findings and recommend a set of action steps that organizations, schools, and the city could take to support youth artistry.
  • Summarize the approach and tools for other communities interested in assessing the strength of the pathways they provide for youth arts mastery.

WolfBrown’s work combined:

  • A review of documents and reports to develop a picture of Boston as a context for youth arts mastery.
  • A review of existing databases (such as the Arts Expansion Project surveys of arts provision in the public schools and Edvestors’ survey of student demand for the arts).
  • Quantitative surveys of the supply of arts learning opportunities in each of the five disciplines studied (visual arts, music, dance, theater and spoken word/hip-hop arts).
  • Qualitative interviews with youth, the staff of youth arts organizations, and individuals who have made it part of their life work to mentor young artists and performers.
  • Analysis of the full set of data to identify major opportunities, or bold strokes, for strengthening the pathways to arts mastery in Boston.
  • The results informed Boston’s first cultural plan in many years and ensured that opportunities for youth featured prominently in the recommendations.

    Consultants: Dennis Palmer Wolf, Thomas Wolf, Jane Culbert, and a team of 5 artist-researchers (Terina-Jasmine Alladin, Dance; Siobhan Brown, Theater; Jennifer Chang, Music; Amber Rose Johnson, Spoken Word/Hip-Hop; Ellen Pierce, Visual Art)

    Completed: 2015

    Category: Arts Education Research and Program Development





United Way of Central Indiana/Julian Center
A Financial/Fund Raising Assessment and Plan for A Social Service Organization
Responding to an invitation by a consortium of funders in Indianapolis in September of 2014, WolfBrown conducted a comprehensive assessment of the finances and fund raising of the Julian Center in Indianapolis, the largest domestic violence shelter organization in the state.  Working closely with both the staff and Board of the Center and the funder consortium, WolfBrown did an extensive analysis both of the historical financial track record and the systems in place to monitor and report financial information. This included reviewing financial systems and statements of the Julian Center going back in time in order to gain a full understanding of what had occurred as well as analyze trends over time. WolfBrown reported its findings and recommendations, all of which were accepted by both groups.

After completing this preliminary work and making its recommendations, WolfBrown was engaged by the funders for a second phase project to monitor implementation of its recommendations, including assistance and advice on financial and fund raising plans. WolfBrown’s period of monitoring and advising continued through January 2016 at which point most of its recommendations had been fully implemented and others were in process. 

In January 2019, the Julian Center was proud to announce that they are the recipient of a $1 million grant from the Lily Endowment to further strengthen the financial sustainability of the organization.

Completed: 2016
Consultants: Thomas Wolf, Jane Culbert
Category: Organizational Assessment, Financial Analysis and Business Planning