Always A Good Sign When Survey Respondents Crash Your Website

Some encouraging news for all you data hungry folks. The special Covid-19 version of the Culture Track survey I mentioned last week launched today…but only for some communities.

Apparently there was such a large last minute surge of interest in participating (thank to my blog post, I am sure) that they realized their servers could crash if even a portion of those receiving an email tried visiting the survey site this morning. As a result, my organization has been asked to wait until Saturday to distribute our link.

If that many people are being surveyed, this portends good things for collecting valuable data.

My staff and I had an opportunity to take a look at the survey before it went live. Any data we entered would have been wiped last night in preparation for the actual roll out. The interface was easy to use and was set up so you were often only asked a question relevant to a previous response. For example, if you indicated you weren’t interested in going to a live performance after local restrictions were lifted, the survey would ask what motivated those concerns about live performances but wouldn’t ask about museums if you indicated a willingness to go there.

I was happy to see they were asking questions from previous surveys with an eye to identifying what activities people viewed as cultural events. Like the survey results from 2017, categories like going to the park, eating/cooking food and attending food festivals were in there.

I definitely look forward to seeing the results.

However, if you can’t wait for the survey to finish, head over to Collen Dilenschneider’s blog if you aren’t visiting already. I have seen and heard her weekly updates on survey data mentioned in emails and Zoom meetings dozens of times in the last two weeks. I confess a secret satisfaction at having read the blog for several years now.

The Culture Track survey asks many of the same questions Dilenschneider’s does about how open people are to participating in cultural activities and how long they think it might be before they engage/re-engage. There are really promising signs in the responses she has been getting. While interest in returning is not uniform across all types of cultural organizations, the interest in participation continues to increase.

However, there are a number of steps organizations need to take and communicate to potential audiences to allow them to feel confident about showing up.



About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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