If you’re reading this, chances are good that you’re an artist, a friend of artists, or someone who is interested in how creativity thrives. Hello! You’ve come to the right place.
By engaging in the conversation here and through social media, you are part of a research effort to understand how artists in the United States live and work and what they need to sustain and strengthen their careers. CREATIVZ features essays by a range of thinkers in the arts field, along with comments, images and ideas curated from contributions through social media using the hashtag #creativz. Please add your voice!
This web site is not a summary of research findings, but rather an integral part of the research process itself. The goal is to make the research transparent, include a broad range of people and perspectives in the process and hear from as many artists and artist support providers as possible. A report summarizing the findings will be published and available on this site in June 2016.
This national research project builds on a 2003 report by the Urban Institute, Investing in Creativity: A Study of the Support Structure for U.S. Artists, which developed a conceptual framework for understanding the major domains of support that artists need: validation; demand/markets; material supports such as space, equipment, employment, and funding; training and professional development; community and networks; and access to information. Over the past 13 years this framework has informed the practice of funders, artist intermediary organizations and others who are interested in supporting artists.
The world has changed significantly since 2003 in ways that have important impacts on artists and artistic practice. New technology has changed how artistic work is created, accessed, and supported. Creativity is “in,” and is more highly valued by businesses, civic leaders and the general public. Demographic and generational shifts have led to new aesthetics and ways of working, and raised the urgency of cultural equity. With the “gig economy,” the way that artists have always worked has become more mainstream and magnified the need for new structures that support this way of working.
The domains outlined in the Urban Institute report are still applicable, but we need a fresh understanding of the context in which artists work today, and what new kinds of support structures need to be created, or what existing systems can be enhanced to enable them to thrive.
This research is a partnership of the Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), with additional support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Surdna Foundation.
CCI’s mission is to support individual artists, and the ensuing research report will generate understanding and a national dialogue on the kinds of support artists need, with CCI’s intention to catalyze support for artists.
For the NEA, this research is a component of their 50th anniversary initiative, Creativity Connects, which shines a spotlight on how the arts contribute to the nation’s creative ecosystem and connect with other sectors that want to use creativity. Together, the NEA and CCI are working together to recognize and understand the kind of support that artists need today.
By Alexis Frasz
By Sunil Iyengar
By Hannah Appel
By Alexis Frasz, Angie Kim, and Holly Sidford
By Caroline Woolard
By Douglas Noonan
By Joanna Woronkowicz
By Danielle Jackson
By Umberto Crenca
By Sarah A. Howes
By Carlton Turner
By Ruby Lerner
By Steven J. Tepper
By Adam Huttler
By Yaw Agyeman
By Renata Marinaro
By Tanya Selvaratnam
By Kevin Erickson and Jean Cook
By Jenny Kendler and Elizabeth Corr
By Angie Kim
By Laura Zabel
By Asi Burak
CREATIVZ is a conversation about how artists in the United States live and work and what they need to sustain and strengthen their careers. It's part of a research project from the Center for Cultural Innovation and the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Surdna Foundation. Overall research and online strategy by Helicon. Online strategy and production by We Media.
Read more about the project.
Cover photo by Bill Dickinson via Flickr / Creative Commons