Friday, February 15, 2008

Errors in Boston Foundation arts report?

The Boston Foundation is planning to mail out revised copies of its controversial December report on the state of Boston’s arts and cultural nonprofits, the foundation says, because of errors found in the document’s data.

“The errors did not affect the conclusions one way or another,” Boston Foundation spokesman David Trueblood tells me by e-mail. “Typically they were typos that happened after the analysis was completed.”

The report, “Vital Signs: Metro Boston’s Arts and Cultural Nonprofits, 1999 and 2004,” which was originally released on Dec. 19, has irked some with its recommendation that small local arts groups that may be struggling to attract audiences and remain financially viable should consider shutting down. (For more details on the report and community response, see Geoff Edgers’s reports here and here.)

“There is a corrected PDF on our website at,” Trueblood writes. “There were a number of errors in the data provided by our consultant that just inched over the line of acceptability. No pattern to them, but [Boston Foundation senior program officer] Ann McQueen felt it was necessary to make the correction. We considered just doing an errata sheet, but these reports have a long and fruitful life, typically, and errata sheets can get separated. Hence the decision to reprint. We have just received the new and improved copies and are planning to send them out to all who attended the forum.”


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