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How Cities Can Nurture Cultural Entrepreneurs

November 15, 2013

Since the Great Recession, North American mayors and city councils have boosted investments in arts and culture as creative placemaking to improve the quality of life, to attract residents, managers and workers, and to welcome visitors. Many city leaders are newly aware that artists bring income into the city, improve the performance of area businesses and creative industries, and directly create new businesses and jobs. Because of extraordinary levels of self-employment, artists often choose cities of residence based on factors other than job and employer locations. Their innovative challenges differ greatly from those faced by scientists and engineers. Artists and related cultural workers tend to fall through the cracks in traditional workforce and small business development programs. As a result, American cities have explored new ways of supporting artists that include space provision, artist-targeted websites and marketing projects, incorporating artistic work into city enterprises, and entrepreneurial training programs tailored to the realities of arts and design as occupations. This policy brief summarizes reasons for and variations in new initiatives to spark cultural entrepreneurship, sampling bottom-up experiments and providing a menu of options for cities of all sizes and character. The brief also counsels city leaders to focus on what is distinctive about their cities, rather than replicating generic strategies elsewhere (e.g. large, expensive arts venues). Via references for further reading, it directs city leaders to various resources for exploring place-appropriate creative entrepreneurship policies.

Arts, Culture and Californians Charting Arts Participation and Organizations in a Vast, Diverse State

September 19, 2011

Arts and culture play a significant role in the daily lives of Californians. The state is noteworthy for the avid participation of its people, the diversity and abundance of its arts organizations and the varied regional characteristics of its arts sector. California's regions reflect distinctive populations, participation rates, numbers and types of arts and culture organizations, and levels of arts funding.These points are drawn from a new report, California's Arts and Cultural Ecology, created by Markusen Economic Research for The James Irvine Foundation. The report is based on data gathered from multiple sources describing the California arts and culture sector and public involvement, and includes a detailed technical appendix. Access the full research at here in highlight form, this information is intended to guide the approaches of arts and culture leaders, funders and policymakers. It invites further investigation by interested researchers, and offers Californians deeper understanding of how they and their communities fit into the state's arts and culture ecology. Plus, it encourages the growing practice of integrating arts into initiatives in education, housing, health care and other areas of community well-being.The research featured here affirms, and extends well beyond, the economic benefits of arts and culture. It sheds new light on the role of this sector in the lives of Californians, illustrating its significance to people and communities throughout the nation's most-populated and diverse state.A note on participation. As new data sets and measures become available, future studies can more fully describe participation by including emerging ways people experience arts and culture, for example, through digital technology and via online communities. They may also further distinguish forms of deep engagement; for example, making art and practicing cultural traditions, versus attending events or exhibits.

California's Arts and Cultural Ecology

September 19, 2011

Californians create, organize, and nurture one of the world's richest arts and cultural ecologies. Across diverse landscapes, they preserve traditions and unveil cutting-edge new artwork. As artists, cultural leaders, community-builders, and arts lovers, they build organizations that nurse creativity from conception through production, presentation, and participation.California's arts and cultural ecology encompasses complex ties among people, organizations, and places. An ecological approach underscores the prominence and contributions of these arts ecology components and how they can be strengthened, especially in times of economic austerity.California's arts and cultural nonprofits play an initiating and pivotal role in this ecology. They are important shapers of the state's internationally renowned cultural industries. They preserve, commission, and present a cornucopia of music, performance, heritage, and visual arts to people in all of the state's regions, across age groups and ethnicities at all levels of income and wealth.Our study documents the budget size, disciplinary focus, and intrinsic and economic impacts of nearly 11,000 California arts and cultural nonprofits, mapping them onto cities and regions. We use new data from the California Cultural Data Project, The National Center for Charitable Statistics, the American Community Survey, the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, and Impact Analysis for Planning. To explore causal connections, we correlate elements of this mosaic with community characteristics. We detail how people work for the sector, volunteer, and make financial contributions. We show the overall impact of people and organizations on California's economy in terms of jobs, income, output, and state and local tax revenue. With interview data, we offer qualitative insights into governance, interorganizational relationships, and special challenges for small nonprofits. California's nonprofit arts and cultural organizationsCalifornia hosts more nonprofit arts and cultural organizations than do most of the world's nations. Their ranks include multipurpose cultural centers, science and visual arts museums, symphony orchestras and folk ensembles, artist service organizations, ethnic arts groups, literary societies, dance companies, professional associations, and many more. Some have no formal budgets, do little fundraising, and operate chiefly on energetic contributions of volunteers. Others manage sizable budgets with extensive staff, run large productions and venues, and rely less on volunteers.California's nearly 11,000 arts and cultural nonprofits operate across the state's regions. Smaller organizations vastly outnumber large ones, with 85% of organizational budgets falling under $250,000 and 48% under $25,000. Yet California's nonprofits have a much larger footprint than formal budgets convey, because at all budget sizes, they engage the services of substantial numbers of volunteers and receive in-kind contributions of time and materials uncommon in public and for-profit sectors.Reflecting California's ethnic diversity and its immigrant character, 22% of California's arts and cultural nonprofits focus on ethnic, folk arts, and multidisciplinary work. Another fifth focus on humanities, legacy, and other museums. Visual arts organizations, including art museums, comprise 5% of California nonprofits, but 10% of those with budgets over $10 million.

California's Arts and Cultural Ecology Technical Appendix

September 19, 2011

In this technical appendix, we describe our data sources and document the quantitative and qualitative methods we used to evaluate characteristics of California's arts and cultural nonprofit organizations and their host communities. We integrated quantitative data from five main sources, each with limitations and advantages, from which we made requisite correcting adjustments.By carefully designing three key indicator variables -- budget size, organization focus area (mission and/or artistic discipline), and region -- we assessed how arts and cultural organizations vary across California.To make use of the rich data available from the California Cultural Data Project, we investigated how well the data represent the entire landscape of nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in California. Based on the results, we designed a method for weighting the Cultural Data Project data to improve estimates.To explore how Californians' arts participation compares with the rest of the U.S. and varies across large metros in the state, we used data from the National Endowment for the Arts' Survey of Public Participation in the Arts.To investigate how arts and cultural organizations reflect and vary by the characteristics of the communities in which they are located, we compiled and analyzed data from the U.S. Census and other supplemental sources.For estimating the economic impact of California's arts and cultural organizations, we used the Impact Analysis for Planning input-output model and data for the state of California.This appendix also covers methodologies used in our interviewing work. To illustrate special features of California's smaller arts and cultural organizations and the challenges they face, we used data from interviews with organizations that are typical of those underrepresented in other data sources.Our careful approach integrates the best available data sources to shed new light on California's nonprofit arts and cultural ecology and the cities, towns, and communities in which it is embedded.

Nurturing California's Next Generation Arts and Cultural Leaders

May 1, 2011

Leaders in the nonprofit arts world, many of them founders and builders of their organizations for decades, will be retiring in unprecedented numbers in the coming years. Organizations could become weaker and destabilized during this transition, a prospect that should be addressed with some urgency. Younger professionals should be able to take on these leadership roles and chart a new course in stressful and changing times. Yet an operational divide between the workplace needs and values of Next Geners and those currently in charge threatens this transition. It does not help that the nonprofit arts field suffers from a paucity of training and professional degree-granting programs, low pay, long work hours, and inadequate career advancement opportunities. The generation that sparked a powerful nonprofit arts movement more than thirty years ago now wonders about their successors: Are they motivated? Prepared? How can we recruit, train, nurture, and retain them?This study was commissioned by the Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI) as part of a large-scale Next Generation Arts Leadership Initiative funded by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and The James Irvine Foundation that aspires to strengthen and retain a new generation of administrative talent in California's nonprofit arts field. It addresses nonprofit arts leaders' desire to know more about their younger colleagues and their experiences as professionals, board members, and volunteers. To explore the experience of Next Geners, the author developed a survey conducted in the summer of 2010. In this report, Next Gen arts leaders are defined as individuals between the ages of 18 and 35 years who are currently working with a California nonprofit arts organization as administrators, artists or board members and who have worked in the field for less than ten consecutive years. More than 1,300 California Next Geners took the survey and with modest exceptions (under-representation of Latinos, African and Asian-Americans, and men, non-metropolitan regions, and certain art forms), their workplaces are generally representative of the size of and variation within the nonprofit arts sector in the state. For example, some 23% of our Next Gen respondents work for organizations with budgets under $100,000, while 22% work in organizations with budgets over $2 million.

Creative Placemaking

November 10, 2010

Ann Markusen and Anne Gadwa: A white paper for The Mayors' Institute on City Design, a leadership initiative of the NEA in partnership with the US Conference of Mayors and American Architectural Foundation.

Native Artists: Livelihoods, Resources, Space, Gifts

December 31, 2009

Examines the experiences of Ojibwe artists in Minnesota, including access to training, funding, space, paying markets, and institutional support; discrimination and isolation; and relationships with communities. Profiles artists and makes recommendations.

Crossover: How Artists Build Careers Across Commercial, Nonprofit and Community Work

October 1, 2006

Explores how Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay area musicians, writers, and performing and visual artists move across sectors as part of their artistic and career development. Includes suggestions for developing opportunity and support for crossover.

Artists' Centers: Evolution and Impact on Careers, Neighborhoods and Economies

February 1, 2006

Explores how dedicated art centers in Minnesota strengthen individual artists and revitalize communities by providing access to workspace, residencies, grants, mentoring, programming, and exhibition and performance space. Includes policy recommendations.