How art works. The national endowment for the arts’ five-year research agenda, with a system map and measurement model

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This document sets forth the National Endowment for the Arts’ five-year agenda for research, but it does more than that. It provides a conceptual frame for planning and assessing research priorities so that the NEA can improve its ability to meet a core goal: To Promote Knowledge and Understanding about the Contributions of the Arts. This goal appears in the NEA’s Strategic Plan for FY 2012–2016. The plan charges the Arts Endowment’s Office of Research & Analysis (ORA) with drafting a five-year research agenda with annual milestones for reporting to the White House Office of Management & Budget, Congress, and the American public. Thus, in 2011 ORA developed operating principles for the research agenda and presented them for feedback from a variety of stakeholders. (To view the presentation, visit

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