Creativity Connects Report

The publication of Creativity Connects: Trends and Conditions Affecting U.S. Artists marks the culmination of a year and a half of planning, research, interviews, roundtables, analysis, and writing from NEA staff and our research partner, the Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI). The purpose of this report is to update the findings of the Urban Institute's 2003 study Investing in Creativity, which identified support systems necessary for artists, including material supports, validation, markets, networks, training, and information. While the framework outlined in that report remains useful, it is clear that many aspects of the environment and market for artists' work have changed profoundly in the past decade, including developments in technologies, public perceptions of creative workers, marketplace opportunities, demographics, and aesthetic practices. The Creativity Connects report uses a wide lens to consider who is an artist, how artists are working, what factors influence their work, and what we can do to better support them.

Following are some of the findings of the report:

  • The population of artists is growing and diversifying, and norms about who is considered an artist are changing.
  • Substantial number of artists now work in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary ways.
  • Many artists are finding work as artists in non-arts contexts.
  • Artists are pursuing new opportunities to work entrepreneurially.
  • Technology is altering the context and economics of artists’ work.
  • Artists share challenging economic conditions with other segments of the workforce.
  • Structural inequities in the artists’ ecosystem mirror inequities in society more broadly.
  • Training is not keeping pace with artists’ evolving needs and opportunities.
  • Artist fellowships, grants, and awards are not responding to new ways of working.