Summative Evaluation: Inside Out Program

October 1st, 2017 | EVALUATION

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) contracted RK&A to conduct an evaluation of the Inside|Out program, which brings high-quality reproductions of masterpieces from the museum’s collection to outdoor venues throughout Metro Detroit. Specifically, the objectives of this study were to: 1) gauge the impact of Inside|Out on communities; 2) identify best practices from Inside|Out; and 3) identify how, if at all, Inside|Out can help support the DIA’s strategic plan.

How did we approach this study?
RK&A used a mixed-methods approach for this study which focused on three audiences: DIA staff members, community partners who collaborated directly with DIA staff to implement Inside|Out, and community members in Inside|Out host communities. First, RK&A conducted open-ended, in-depth telephone interviews with six DIA staff members and 24 community partners. Second, RK&A administered online questionnaires to 83 community partners, and in-person questionnaires to 790 community members. Third, RK&A conducted case studies in four active Inside|Out host communities, which included unobtrusive observation of one reproduction and on-site interviews with community members.

What did we learn?
During interviews, DIA staff demonstrated consensus around three main goals of Inside|Out—to increase the visibility of the DIA in the community; encourage community engagement through art; and surprise and delight community members as they encounter reproductions of artworks in their everyday life. Staff also identified program strengths, such as the program onboarding for communities, as well as program weaknesses, such as limited staff time and program funding. Regarding impact on communities, “civic and community engagement” and “arts and cultural enrichment” are perceived to be the areas of greatest impact on communities based on results from the community partner questionnaire. Findings from the community member questionnaire indicate that awareness of Inside|Out is relatively high (55 percent), however observations from community case studies reveal that most people passing by the reproductions did not give much, if any, attention to them.

What are the implications of the findings?
RK&A drew several key conclusions from results to inform the program’s future, a few of which stand out as most positive. For one, Inside|Out contributes to communities’ pride and identity as a place that cares about and values art. Through multiple methodologies we found that communities who receive Inside|Out perceive that the program achieved both outcomes, and a close look at the results suggest that communities develop pride through their participation in an arts-based program. Moreover, Inside|Out is mutually beneficial for communities and the DIA. Not only does the program make residents feel good about their community, but one-half of community members said seeing the reproductions enhanced their perceptions of the DIA because the museum brought art into communities. However, in its current form, Inside|Out’s ability to cultivate active spaces for community engagement is limited. Some community partners expressed frustration that they did not receive more timely information from DIA in order to plan events, and others were disappointed that DIA did not support them in executing events. A few even regretted the lack of a deep partnership between the community and the museum. Notably, all of these conclusions relate to the DIA’s strategic goal of relevance (offering experiences that authentically connect with the needs and interests of diverse, wide-ranging audiences). During interviews, DIA staff offered recommendations for increasing program alignment to the goal of relevance, including changing the request process to reach underserved communities more easily, expanding Inside|Out events to strengthen community engagement and sustain community partnerships, and selecting artworks that are relevant to the community members who will experience them.



Team Members

Stephanie Downey, Evaluator, RK&A
Amanda Krantz, Evaluator, RK&A
Erin Wilcox, Evaluator, RK&A
Ken Morris, Project Staff, Detroit Institute of Arts


Funding Source: Private Foundation


Audience: Evaluators | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Art | music | theater | Education and learning science
Resource Type: Evaluation Reports | Summative
Environment Type: Community Outreach Programs | Museum and Science Center Programs | Park | Outdoor | Garden Programs | Public Programs