Madeline Smith collaborates with the firm’s project directors to design research studies that answer our clients’ strategic and tactical questions about public engagement. Equally expert at qualitative and quantitative methods, Madeline helps cultural changemakers deepen participation, develop new capacities, and build the audiences of the future. Her projects have ranged from market research for art museums (including her hometown museum, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City) and exhibit evaluation for international art fairs (like the Mark Bradford installation at the Venice Biennale) to studies for history, science, and industrial museums, symphonies and opera companies, foundations, and other clients. She has contributed to Slover Linett’s reports for the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution, the NSF-funded Art of Science Learning initiative, and the Knight and MacArthur foundations. Madeline is particularly interested in helping cultural organizations create a culture of research and responsiveness that leads to audience diversification and authentic community engagement.
Before joining the firm in 2015, Madeline earned two master’s degrees, one in modern art history, theory, and criticism and another in arts administration and public policy, both from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She worked in the Art Institute of Chicago’s education and membership departments and at contemporary art galleries in Chicago and Milwaukee. Madeline did her undergraduate work at the Kansas City Art Institute, earning a BFA in fiber studies. She still weaves on her Macomber loom when she’s not out enjoying Chicago’s museums and visual arts scene and volunteering as a mentor with Young Women Warriors.