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.
These blog essays were shared on creativz.us
as part of a social media campaign to solicit responses from the public on relevant topics covered in the report. Note: The text of the essays are as they first appeared online.
Introduction: What Do Artists Need to Thrive? – Angie Kim, Center for Cultural Innovation
Why Arts Funders and Indie Video Game Makers Don’t Click, and How to Fix It – Asi Burak, Games for Change
What Artists Actually Need is an Economy That Works for Everyone – Laura Zabel, Springboard for the Arts
How Artists and Environmental Activists Both Do Better Together – Jenny Kendler and Elizabeth Corr, National Resources Defense Council
Technology Isn’t Magic: Let’s Make It Work Better for Artists and Musicians – Kevin Erickson and Jean Cook, Future of Music Coalition
Want to Be an Artist? Be Passionate and Realistic about Your Career – Tanya Selvaratnam, Artist, Producer, Activist
Health Insurance Is Still a Work-in-Progress for Artists and Performers – Renata Marinaro, The Actors Fund
Generosity as a Guiding Principle of Life as an Artist – Yaw Agyeman, Sound Artist, Black Monks of Mississippi
For Profit or Not, Artists Need Tech Designed for Artists – Adam Huttler, Fractured Atlas
What Does It Mean to Sustain a Career in the Gig Economy? – Steven J. Tepper, Arizona State University
The Art School of the Future – Ruby Lerner, Creative Capital
Why We Can’t Achieve Cultural Equity by Copying Those in Power – Carlton Turner, Alternate ROOTS
Artists, the Original Gig Economy Workers, Have More Rights than They Think – Sarah A. Howes, Playwright, Actor, Attorney
Who Sets the Agenda in America’s New Urban Core? – Umberto Crenca, AS220
Can Photographers Restore Their Devastated Business? – Danielle Jackson, Writer, Strategist
Do Artists Have a Competitive Edge in the Gig Economy? – Joanna Woronkowicz, Indiana University
How Does Crowdfunding Change the Picture for Artists? – Douglas Noonan, Indiana University
Online Platforms Are Not Enough. Artists Need Affordable Space. – Caroline Woolard, Artist, Teacher, Organizer