Trends and conditions affecting artists in the United States are examined in a new report released by the National Endowment for the Arts in collaboration with the Center for Cultural Innovation. Two North Carolina initiatives, Art-Force in Greensboro and Operation Paydirt in Burnsville, are featured on the NEA website feature “Bright Spots” showcasing how the arts contribute to communities.
The Creativity Connects: Trends and Conditions Affecting U.S. Artists report describes changes in how artists work and how support systems for artists can change. The report includes a series of essays by artists and supporters suggesting action steps to further the report’s findings.
Findings address shifts in the artist population, training, equity and economics:
The fact that median incomes for artists are below the median income for the U.S. labor force is mirrored in North Carolina, where the median income for theater, dance, music, and other performing artists as well as fine artists and writers was $20,691 in 2014 compared to $46,693.
The report cites encouraging examples of how leaders in a growing number of non-arts sectors—including community development, healthcare, transportation, technology, and public safety—are recognizing that artists’ creative skills and processes can assist their work. Three movements are contributing to the growth in this cross-sector work in significant ways: creative placemaking, socially engaged art practice, and design thinking.
The report advocates action by artists and their allies to shift how society addresses five critical areas: