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Current Areas of Inquiry

Internships and fellowships: Cultivating a diverse talent pool of young artists and managers has never been more urgent or more necessary. WolfBrown is deeply engaged in reflecting on support structures for nurturing the next generation of arts leaders.

Design for evaluation: Evaluation is seldom successful when it is layered onto grant programs post-award. Instead, funders can create structures and incentives for grantees to integrate research and learning into the DNA of their projects, assuring a high level of critical reflection and cross-site learning.

Collaborative funding practices: Spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic, new consortia of arts funders have coalesced around relief funding. We are working with funders and service organizations to cultivate a continued interest in collaborative funding as a means of addressing persistent challenges in the sector.

WolfBrown helps funders and institutions deepen their effectiveness through rigorous evaluation and creative thinking about program design.

With our broad, first-hand experience in the cultural sector, WolfBrown offers objective, informed perspective and research experience in evaluation work. This is necessary to reflect critically on the design and evaluation of foundation grant programs, programming initiatives, and capacity-building efforts. Our work in this area centers on equity and incorporating the principles of equitable evaluation into our research designs. We are especially sensitive to the many demands placed on artists and arts organizations by foundation funders. Additionally, we also understand the power dynamics of grantee/funder and grantee/consultant relationships. We make a practice of advising foundations when investments in evaluation are likely to be unproductive or could be redirected towards other priorities.

Of course, evaluation work often addresses questions of program design and even strategic planning. A depth of knowledge arises from the work, and we enjoy multi-year, multi-faceted client relationships in this practice area. We provide program evaluations that provide one-time, retrospective snapshots of a program. In addition, we have followed numerous cohorts of grantees over a continuous span of years. In these instances, we learn from grantee experiences, facilitate learning between and among grantees, and identify promising practices.

Our evaluation work draws on rigorous methodological designs that are tailored to the specific needs of the client. As part of this work, we are frequently asked to provide technical assistance to grant recipients. This assistance both to improves their outcomes and builds their capacity for research and critical thinking. We have extensive experience helping funders, grantees, and agency leaders articulate theories of change—at the project level, program level, and agency level.


  • Evaluation planning and accountability frameworks for arts grantmakers
  • Grant program design and evaluation
  • Portfolio evaluations for state and regional funding agencies
  • Program evaluation
  • Technical assistance with research and evaluation