From the Introduction:
The goal of Creativity Connects: Trends and Conditions Affecting U.S. Artists was to examine current and evolving conditions for how artists live and work.
The world has changed significantly over the past decade, in ways that have important impacts on artists and creative practice.
New technology has altered all of our lives, and has affected how artistic work is created, accessed, and supported. Creativity and creative processes are increasingly valued by businesses, civic leaders, and the general public.
The U.S. has rebounded from the recession, but the economy has fundamentally changed. Income inequality continues to grow, and more workers in other fields are now supporting themselves through the “gig economy,” a way that many artists have worked for a long time. The demographics of our country are shifting, with growing Latino and Asian-American communities, and expanding populations of new immigrants, multiracial youth, and aging Baby Boomers.
There is now no racial majority in two states and 22 U.S. cities, and the entire nation will move in this direction in the next 20 years. The range of aesthetic forms and cultural expressions has exploded, driven by an increasingly diverse population, the imaginations of young people, developments in technology, and other factors. The growing cultural diversity of our population also increases the urgency of addressing issues of equity, access, and representation in all sectors, the arts included. These trends invite us to think in new ways about artists, the value of their work, and their relationship to communities.
- Who is an artist and how artists work is changing. Like our country’s population overall, the population of artists is growing and diversifying. Norms about who is considered an artist are changing, and more artists are working as artists in non-arts contexts like businesses, social sectors and government agencies. Substantial numbers of artists now work across artistic disciplines and platforms, and are becoming increasingly entrepreneurial in their careers.
- Technology is profoundly altering the context and economics of artistic work. New technological tools and social media have reshaped the landscape for creating, distributing and financing creative work. There are many benefits, including lowered costs of creating work, and accelerated ability to find collaborators and new markets. There are also new challenges, such as an increasingly crowded marketplace, copyright issues, and disruptions to traditional revenue models.
- Artists share economic conditions and needs with other segments of the workforce. Many of the biggest economic challenges that artists face today are shared by other types of workers. These challenges include high levels of debt, rising costs of living, and insufficient protections for “gig economy” workers. There are opportunities for artists to find common cause with other workforce segments who share their challenges, and to contribute to solutions that benefit all.
- Structural inequities in the artists’ ecosystem mirror those in society more broadly.Race-, gender- and ability-based disparities that are pervasive in our society are equally prevalent in the nonprofit and commercial arts sectors. Despite the increasing cultural and ethnic diversity of the country and the broadening array of cultural expressions being practiced at expert levels, the professional nonprofit and commercial arts ecosystems continue to give prominence to a relatively narrow band of aesthetic approaches and artists.
- Training and funding systems are not keeping pace with artists’ evolving needs and opportunities. Increasingly, artists require expertise in areas such as business practices, entrepreneurship, and marketing. They also need knowledge about how to apply their creative skills in a widening range of social and work contexts. They need supports and resources that are responsive and flexible, and help in building the capital they need to sustain their lives and work over the long term.
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