Investing in Creativity; A Study of the Support Structure for U.S.

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2022 • 107 Pages • 828.91 KB • English
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Summary of Investing in Creativity; A Study of the Support Structure for U.S.

Investing in Creativity: A Study of the Support Structure for U.S. Artists The Culture, Creativity, and Communities (CCC) Program at the Urban Institute is a research and dissemination initiative that investigates the role of arts, culture, and creative expression in communities. It explores the intersections of arts, culture, and creative expression with various policy areas. Investing in Creativity: A Study of the Support Structure for U.S. Artists The views expressed in this report are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the Urban Institute, its trustees, or its funders. Maria-Rosario Jackson, Ph.D. Florence Kabwasa-Green Daniel Swenson Joaquin Herranz, Jr. Kadija Ferryman Caron Atlas Eric Wallner Carole Rosenstein, Ph.D 2003 About the Urban Institute The Urban Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy research and educational organization established to examine the social, economic, and governance problems facing the nation. It provides information and analysis to public and private decision-makers to help them address these challenges and strives to raise citizen understanding of these issues and tradeoffs in policy making. Staff and Contributors Maria-Rosario Jackson was Principal Investigator for the Investing in Creativity study and Elizabeth Boris served as Project Director. This project is part of the Culture, Creativity, and Communities Program at the Urban Institute. It involved staff from the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Center as well as the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy. Staff and consultants who contributed to this project include: Carole Rosenstein, Daniel Swenson, Kadija Ferryman, Eric Wallner, Chris Hayes, Harvey Meyerson, Carlos Manjarrez, Beth Roland, Francie Ostrower, Florence Kabwasa-Green, Joaquin Herranz, Jr., Caron Atlas, Holly Sidford, Roberto Bedoya, Matthew Deleget, Edith Meeks and staff at the New York Foundation for the Arts, and Diane Colasanto and Dawn Crossland at Princeton Survey Research Associates. For more information about this study, please visit Acknowledgements The authors of this report gratefully acknowledges the advice and assistance of hundreds of artists, cultural leaders, educators, funders, public officials and others who gave generously of their time and wisdom to this project. Our particular thanks to Felicity Skidmore, Holly Sidford, Ted Berger, Kinshasha Holman Conwill, Roberto Bedoya, Peter Marris, and Elizabeth Boris for their editorial contributions to this report. We are grateful to Cory Fleming, Stacey Whitlock, Deborah King, and Chris Schneck for administrative assistance. We also wish to express our deep appreciation for the contributions of Holly Sidford in all phases of this effort. Without her vision, commitment, and passion, this project would not have been possible. Funders The Urban Institute is grateful to the funders of the Investing in Creativity study, who include: Allen Foundation for the Arts, Boston Foundation, Breneman Jaech Foundation, Brown Foundation, Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, Chicago Community Trust, Cleveland Foundation, Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Durfee Foundation, Flintridge Foundation, Ford Foundation, Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, J.P. Getty Trust, Greenwall Foundation, George Gund Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Houston Endowment, James Irvine Foundation, Joyce Foundation, LEF Foundation, Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Massachusetts Cultural Council, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Eugene and Agnes Meyer Foundation, Kulas and Murphy Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York Community Trust, Ohio Arts Council, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, Prince Charitable Trusts, Rockefeller Foundation, Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and anonymous donors. Cornhusk Doll CONTENTS Introduction: Why Artists Need More than Creativity To Survive i About this Report 1 Chapter I: Study Motivation, Context and Contributions 3 Chapter II: Study Definitions and Framework 6 Chapter III: Validation 9 Chapter IV: Demand/Markets 21 Chapter V: Material Supports Employment and Associated Health Benefits 29 Awards and Grants 34 Space 46 Equipment and Materials 55 Chapter VI: Training and Professional Development 59 Chapter VII: Communities and Networks 65 Chapter VIII: Information 76 Chapter IX: Conclusions and Recommendations 83 Sources 89 Photo Credits 95 report design by: Brooklyn Digital Foundry Why Artists Need More than Creativity To Survive "Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it." -- Berthold Brecht Throughout our history, artists in the U.S. have utilized their skills as a vehicle to illuminate the human condition, contribute to the vitality of their communities and to the broader aesthetic landscape, as well as to promote social change and democratic dialogue. Artists have also helped us interpret our past, define the present, and imagine the future. In spite of these significant contributions, there's been an inadequate set of support structures to help artists, especially younger, more marginal or controversial ones, to realize their best work. Many artists have struggled and continue to struggle to make ends meet. They often lack adequate resources for health care coverage, housing, and for space to make their work. Still, public as well as private funding for artists has been an uneven, often limited source of support even in the best of times economically. Compounding these material problems is the fact that the public often views the profession of "artist" as not serious. The way artists earn a living may seem frivolous, and artists are often seen as indulging in their own passions and desires which bear no relation to the everyday experiences of most workers. This too contributes to a devaluing of the artist as a citizen with the same rights and responsibilities as everyone else. In the mid 1990s, problems for artists escalated in the wake of federal funding declines, resulting in significant cutbacks in fellowship programs at institutions like the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In response to this new crisis, the Ford Foundation decided to put the plight of individual artists on our agenda. Along with 37 other donors, the Foundation commissioned a study from the Urban Institute to explore the changing landscape of support for artists. Led by Maria- Rosario Jackson, the principal investigator of the study, the Urban Institute's approach involved asking a new set of questions about the climate for support for artists. How are artists valued in society? What kind of demand is there for their work and social contributions? What kinds of material supports – employment and benefits, grants and awards, and space do artists need? Are artists' training programs preparing them for the environments they will encounter? What kinds of connections and networks enable artists to pursue their careers? And what kinds of information are necessary to assess this more comprehensive notion of support for artists? Additionally, the project was designed to stimulate and sustain interest that could lead to action on these issues at both national and local levels. This was achieved through the periodic dissemination of preliminary findings to funders of the study and other possible stakeholders. Holly Sidford assisted greatly in this regard. i This important and timely study was eventually completed in July 2003. In it, the Urban Institute has given us much to ponder. The big headline is that improving support structures for artists in the U.S. will not be accomplished simply by restoring budget cuts, though we will certainly need to rebuild these kinds of direct financial support going forward. Making a real difference in the creative life of artists will entail developing a new understanding and appreciation for who artists are and what they do, as well as financial resources from a variety of stakeholders. Achieving these changes involves a long-term commitment from artists themselves, as well as arts administrators, funders, governments at various levels, community developers and real estate moguls, not to mention the business and civic sectors. The study and this resulting report, which includes information on ways in which the environment of support may be improved over the long haul, offers a real opportunity to make a difference in the artistic landscape of this country. We hope it receives a wide readership and that its useful insights can prove the basis for a new approach to investing in creativity. Alison R. Bernstein, Vice President, The Program on Knowledge, Creativity and Freedom (KC&F), The Ford Foundation. Margaret B. Wilkerson, Director, Media, Arts and Culture unit, KC&F, The Ford Foundation. ii ABOUT THIS REPORT This report presents the overall findings of Investing in Creativity: A Study of the Support Structure for U.S. Artists – a national study conducted by the Urban Institute and supported by a 38-member consortium of funders. A major contribution of the study is a new and comprehensive framework for analysis and action, which views the support structure for artists in the United States as a system made up of six key dimensions of the environment in which an artist works. This approach builds on previous Urban Institute work that seeks to identify and measure the characteristics of place that make a culturally vibrant community. The study also provides information on the status of various dimensions of the artists’ support structure – both nationally and in specific sites across the country. The findings presented here synthesize information from a range of research components: case studies in nine cities including interviews with more than 450 people and a composite rural inquiry; creation and analysis of an of a comprehensive database – NYFA Source – that provides national and local information on awards and services for artists; a nationally representative poll of attitudes toward artists in the United States as well as site-specific polls in case study cities; numerous advisory meetings convened by the project; attendance at various conferences and professional meetings for artists; and numerous topic- specific inquiries on issues of major interest to the field. We also draw from various studies, both completed and ongoing, of the cultural sector and related fields. In addition to this report, which synthesizes our findings, research products include two report series as well as periodic white papers. The two report series are the following: Nine case studies, one devoted to each of our nine city sites – Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. – and a tenth report presenting a composite rural profile; Cross-cutting briefings, devoted to selected dimensions of our framework. In this study, we define artists as adults who have received training in an artistic discipline/tradition, define themselves professionally as artists, and attempt to derive income from work in which they use their expert artistic vocational skills in visual, literary, performing, and media arts. Our main focus is on artists working in the formal nonprofit sector, but we also address artists working in commercial and public contexts, as well as in the informal sector. We are not 01 concerned primarily with disciplinary differences, although we discuss them when relevant to the point we wish to make. We are chiefly concerned with the characteristics of an environment that facilitate or impede the efforts of artists, irrespective of discipline, to pursue their careers and contribute to society. Investing in Creativity, begun in 2000, makes contributions to the field on three levels: Conceptual: Our analytical framework and a range of typologies. Empirical: The NYFA Source data, quantitative polling data, and qualitative case study data. Practical: The database input and retrieval mechanisms, data collection tools, and assembly of relevant city-specific and national literature. To help us get it right, we tapped the contributions of artists themselves in many ways. Artists and their views have been well represented in our case studies – half of our interviews in each of our study sites were with artists. In addition, artists – along with arts administrators, funders, policymakers, and selected observers outside the cultural sector – served as advisors and consultants to the project and as sounding boards for emerging findings. We also consider artists important actors in pursuing the study recommendations. Our approach to dissemination distinguishes this project from most research studies. To ensure that the appetite for information from the study remained strong – and that the research findings are presented in ways that are easily understood and ready for action – our research work has been accompanied by a parallel process of periodic dissemenation. In each of the case-study cities and at the national level in various forums, research staff has vetted preliminary findings with a wide range of people who have a role to play in addressing issues raised in the study. Our intended audience, in addition to artists, includes funders in the arts and other sectors, arts advocates, policymakers in the arts and related fields, and anyone interested the cultural life of their communities, in America's cultural legacy, and in bolstering the environment in which artists do their creative work. 02 I. STUDY MOTIVATION, CONTEXT, AND CONTRIBUTIONS This project was undertaken to expand our thinking about who artists are, what they do, and what mechanisms interact to create a hospitable – or inhospitable – environment of support for their work. It is useful to begin this overall report on our findings with the reasons society should be concerned with artists, the focus of previous research on the cultural sector, and the contributions this project makes to the knowledge base. Why be concerned with artists? Although often stereotyped as removed from everyday life and societal processes, artists are fundamental to our cultural heritage and their work is often a crucial part of community life. Artists work in diverse settings ranging from studios and cultural institutions to schools, parks, and various kinds of community centers and social change organizations. They work in all sectors – nonprofit, commercial, public, and informal sectors. Artists create paintings, films, music, plays, poems, and other works that reflect the diversity, aspirations, hopes, fears, and contradictions of our society. The work of artists inspires, celebrates, mourns, commemorates, and causes us to question aspects of contemporary life and the human condition. Many artists are teachers, helping people at all stages of life to develop their creative and critical thinking skills.1 Many contribute in other ways, both directly and indirectly, by acting as catalysts for civic engagement,2 as well as key players in creating culturally and economically vital places.3 The numerous areas where artists contribute to community life include civic leadership and youth development, community building, neighborhood revitalization, and economic development. Artists also contribute to the creation and transmittal of group identities.4 In these and other roles, artists are a growing part of the U.S. workforce.5 But they are typically underpaid in relation to their education, skills, and societal contributions.6 Moreover, given the multiple roles they play in society, they are often under-recognized and under-valued by funders and policymakers both inside and outside the cultural sector, as well as by the media and the public at large. 03 1. See Abbott 1988; Freidson 1986. 2. See Jackson 2003; Putnam 2000. 3. See Florida 2002. 4. See Jackson and Herranz 2002; Wyszomirski 2001; Adams and Goldbard 2001; Cleveland 2000; New England Council 2000; Heath 1999; Stern and Seifert 1997 and 1998. 5. Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicate that the population of artists has grown from 730,000 in l970 to 2+ million in 2001. See NEA 1994 and 2002. 6. See Alper and Wassall 2000; Menger 1999. Kevin A. Kepple ∗ Previous research on support for artists Research to date on the cultural sector has emphasized the roles of explicitly cultural organizations and institutions.7 It has focused on those involved primarily or exclusively in the dissemination or presentation of artistic work, and often includes only fiscal and audience information. There has been some recent interest in collecting information on cultural participation, cultural organizations' sustainability,8 and, to a very limited extent, the community impacts of cultural organizations. Comparatively little attention has been paid to artists per se, either individually or collectively, as creators and presenters of work; to the diverse contributions they make to society; or to the mechanisms that support them and their work. What information has been collected on artists has focused mostly on individual artists' careers (restricted to career paths exclusively in their artistic discipline),9 on economic analyses of their employment and related issues,10 and on artists' needs for human and social services.11 Much less attention has been given to the societal contributions of artists, the training that prepares them for diverse roles in a democratic society, and the sources of support on which they rely. There has been no adequate illumination of the multiple ways artists work, the range of places in which they operate, or the various supports – financial and otherwise – on which they depend. There has been no central repository for information on grants and awards available for artists. There is no centralized body of information about organizations that are artist-focused, artist-run, or dedicated to providing services for artists. There is not even any generally agreed-upon definition of who should be included in the population of artists. ∗ Contributions of this project The fundamental goal of this project is to think in a new way about artists, how they work, and the mechanisms they need to support their creative activity. Building on other Urban Institute research,12 we treat geography or place as the critical context in which the various elements of support interact.13 This approach recognizes that the cultural sector is part of the larger society and is 04 7. As noted in this study, artists also often do their work in places that are not explicitly or primarily cultural venues or organizations (e.g., schools, parks, libraries, community centers). 8. See McCarthy and Jinnet 2001; McCarthey et al. 2001. 9. See Jeffri 1990a, 1990b, 1990c. 10. See Alper and Wassall 2000; Alper 1996; Menger 1999. 11. See Jeffri 1989, 1997a, 1997b. 12. The Arts and Culture Indicators in Community Building Project, focused on neighborhoods and cities, is a research effort to better understand and monitor the presence, roles, and value of arts and cultural participation. Started in 1996, the project has been supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. 13. We recognize that many artists--touring performing artists and some visual artists, as well as others – depend on markets in multiple places. However, this does not diminish the primacy of local support structures which have some bearing on all artists, even those with ties to multiple localities. affected by (and affects) other components of the community – even if the interactions are not pro-active or strategically planned. Our primary data source is a series of case studies we conducted in nine cities across the country – Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington D.C.14 – plus a composite look at artists working in rural areas.15 This fieldwork has resulted in a more robust understanding of the diversity of artists' careers. It has also enabled us to create a framework for analysis and action that lays out six core elements of an artist's support structure: validation, demand/markets, material supports, training and professional development, communities and networks, and information. The project also advances the field's ability to assess its provision of key elements of that support structure through creation of a national database on awards and services for artists. NYFA Source, a collaborative effort by the Urban Institute and the New York Foundation for the Arts, makes possible for the first time aggregate analyses of relevant awards, services, and publications using many different variables that include artistic discipline, geography, and type of award or service. We also conducted the first nationally representative poll on the public's attitudes toward artists, supplemented with representative local polls in our case-study sites. This poll address additional issues related to demand for what artists do and how they are valued (or not) in our society – an important element of the artists' support structure.16 In addition, we convened a variety of advisory meetings with artists, leaders in diverse sectors of the arts, and researchers. We observed various artists' meetings; vetted our preliminary findings in a wide range of professional settings; and continually investigated research in related areas. Finally, on the basis of our research findings, we make recommendations about potential lines of action to monitor and improve support for artists in the longer term. 05 14. The cities selected for case studies have significant populations of artists (as defined by the Census). They are geographically dispersed, have diverse demographic characteristics and provide a useful range of places in which to explore our research questions. However, they do not comprise a scientifically representative sample of U.S. cities. Case study cities were selected based on the characteristics discussed above and because funders in those cities showed an interest in supporting the study and following up on recommendations coming from it. 15. Our inquiry about artists in rural places included interviews with artists, arts administrators and funders operating in rural areas in California as well as the convening of a conference of artists, arts administrators, funders and community leaders in various rural areas around the country including communities in Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Maine, California, Kentucky, Missouri, and North Carolina. 16. There have been studies about attitudes toward arts consumption, audience participation, and giving to the arts. But these are mostly about "art" as a product, divorced from the producer – not about artists and what they do or make. See Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, sponsored by National Endowment for the Arts; Urban Institute 1998 Cultural Participation Survey; Giving USA 2002.