Arts Research


 One of my long-standing interests concerns patterns of organizational and individual success in the arts. In addition to my investigations within music, I pursue these questions within a broader ecology of visual and performing arts organizations, in the U.S. and abroad.

How healthy are America’s creative communities, and what role do new immigrant artists and audiences play in our future?


The 2008 auction of Damien Hirst’s art could be a model of disruption for living artists who do not profit from secondary sales of their work.


You can find creativity on college campuses in studios, but most of it is happening in dorm rooms, and in the connections between students.


Co-author Danielle Lindemann and I investigate a strange phenomenon we discovered in the SNAAP dataset: people working as artists who refused to identify themselves as artists--we investigated this “dissonance group.”

You can also read the 2013 Annual Report for SNAAP, “Making It Work: The Education and Employment of Recent Art Graduates,” which I authored.


This network mapping of funders and projects that seek to connect the U.S. to the global Muslim world reveals that the vibrancy of this sector may be limited by the small number of “tastemakers.”

This research emerged from a consulting project, which resulted a report, available at NYU: Lena, Jennifer C. and Erin Johnston. 2014. “U.S. Cultural Engagement with Global Muslim Communities: Contours and Connections in an Emerging Field.” Expanded report with index. NYU Brademas Center. Pp. 1-83.


“When you're standing on the crossroads that you cannot comprehend/Just remember that death is not the end” (Bob Dylan, Down in the Groove, 1988). Arts organizations fight to stay open, but maybe that’s because they can’t figure out how to end with dignity and preserve their legacy. This study explores the “legacy” project undertaken by NYC arts organization Exit Art, as they shuttered their doors.

This research emerged from a consulting project, which culminated in several reports, available at NYU:

  • Lena, Jennifer C. 2014. “An Organizational Autopsy of Exit Art: Non-Profit Closure as Successful Management.” Executive Report. NYU Fales Library, Exit Art Archives. Pp. 1-23.

  • Lena, Jennifer C. 2014. “Every Entrance is an Exit: The Last Year of Exit Art.” Narrative Report. NYU Fales Library, Exit Art Archives. Pp. 1-45.