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Equity global scoping review of factors related to poor mental health and wellbeing within the performing arts sectors

May 12, 2022

This scoping review was commissioned by Equity to explore the current research and information regarding the possible factors related to poor mental health and wellbeing within the performing arts sectors. The is part of a strategic programme of work looking at how the union can safeguard performers and creative practitioners' mental health and wellbeing in the workplace, and bring about deep-rooted structural change for the industry.

Asphalt Art Safety Study: Historical Crash Analysis and Observational Behavior Assessment at Asphalt Art Sites

April 12, 2022

Transportation infrastructure is perhaps the most visible aspect of a city's public realm -- the sidewalks and roadways we depend on daily are often as recognizable as the buildings, destinations, and people within it. As cities transform to meet evolving needs of the future, there is an increasing opportunity for streets to not only be safe and efficient, but a unique and inspiring part of the urban experience. Among other strategies to achieve that goal, public art projects coupled with improvements to transportation infrastructure, often known as "asphalt art," offer many benefits. They can create safer, more desirable streets and public spaces. They are typically inexpensive and quickly implementable, while helping cities test long-term roadway redesigns. And they help local governments engage with residents to reshape their communities.These projects, including intersection murals, crosswalk art, and painted plazas or sidewalk extensions, have existed for years and are growing in popularity in communities across the world. Though asphalt art projects frequently include specific roadway safety improvements, the art itself is often also intended to improve safety by increasing visibility of pedestrian spaces and crosswalks, promoting a more walkable public realm, and encouraging drivers to slow down and be more alert for pedestrians and cyclists, the most vulnerable users of the road.There has been considerable public feedback, anecdotal evidence, and analyses of individual locations indicating that asphalt art can have these traffic-calming benefits and encourage safer behavior. However, despite broad support from people who use and design streets, art within the public roadway network has faced regulatory hurdles in the United States and elsewhere because of concerns about compliance with current design standards and guidance that governs roadway markings. These concerns have persisted in the absence of much rigorous evaluation or published literature on safety performance of asphalt art projects.This study was conducted to address the need for impact analysis by comparing crash rates and real-time behavior of pedestrians and motorists at an array of asphalt art sites before and after the projects were installed. There are two main components to the study: first is a Historical Crash Analysis that compares crash data prior to and after the introduction of asphalt art at 17 diverse study sites with at least two years of data. The second is an Observational Behavior Assessment that compares before and after video footage of motorist and pedestrian behavior at five U.S. locations with asphalt art projects installed in 2021 as part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies' Asphalt Art Initiative. The analysis found significantly improved safety performance across a variety of measures during periods when asphalt art was installed.

Toward a More Equitable Creative Economy: Creative Vitality Summit Conference Report

April 12, 2022

As a thought leader, convener, and researcher of the creative economy, WESTAF often brings together leading experts to thoughtfully survey the state of this important sector. Spawned from WESTAF's popular tool, Creative Vitality Suite and its proprietary Creative Vitality Index (CVI), and a convening of creative economy experts back in 2008, the 2021 Creative Vitality Summit aimed to build on this initial work and chart new ways to reimagine the future of the creative economy. Over two days from September 20-21, the 2021 Creative Vitality Summit, hosted by WESTAF in partnership with Grantmakers in the Arts, the Association of Latino Arts and Cultures, ASU Herberger Institute on Design and the Arts, the National Creative Economy Coalition, and others, presented a number of panels, conversations, and presentations by leading practitioners that encouraged a genuine and careful examination of the most pressing challenges and inequities confronting creative economies in the United States alongside new pathways.Topics addressed ranged from threats to, and opportunities for, creative workers and entrepreneurs to cooperative economics, impact investing, and trust-based philanthropy in the creative economy, to building creative economy infrastructure through networks and policy. The resources and recommendations presented below summarize and build upon the rich dialogues generated during the inaugural Creative Vitality Summit. Chief among the insights offered by speakers and panelists is the imperative that recovery include the rebuilding of the creative economy in ways that are more equitable, fair, and accessible to artists and creators. 

NeuroArts Blueprint: Advancing the Science of Arts, Health, and Wellbeing

March 30, 2022

Scientific studies increasingly confirm what human beings across cultures and throughout time have long recognized: we are wired for art. The arts in all of their modalities can improve our physical and mental health, amplify our ability to prevent, manage, or recover from disease challenges, enhance brain development in children, build more equitable communities, and foster wellbeing through multiple biological systems.Most of us do not need rigorous research to recognize that arts and aesthetic experiences allow us to feel better; our own life experiences tell us that engaging with art, either as maker or user, can help us thrive. Why, then, have we developed the NeuroArts Blueprint: Advancing the Science of Arts, Health, and Wellbeing, a broad-reaching initiative designed to showcase the scientific evidence that explains these phenomena?The answer is that we have not developed the systems and strategies to use the extraordinary asset that is at our disposal to its fullest potential. We need a Blueprint to guide us through the vast body of knowledge that is accumulating across multiple disciplines, to identify collaborative opportunities to collect many kinds of evidence, and to employ these learnings in systematic and sustainable ways so that we can ease some of the most intractable problems that humanity faces. 

Pandemic Priorities: Exploring unemployment and demographic characteristics of arts and culture workforces and artists across the U.S.

March 18, 2022

For over 10 years, SMU DataArts has studied the demographic makeup of arts and culture workforces and boards to help organizations better understand themselves and the communities in which they serve. From Los Angeles to Houston, from to museum professionals, we have surveyed demographic characteristics related to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability status, workplace perceptions, and more. While the results of these localized studies are very beneficial to participating organizations and their local communities, it is difficult to use this data to generalize about the state of the entire arts and culture sector in the United States.In 2021, we extended our demographics work beyond just our own studies and evaluated national data about the sector in an effort to gain deeper understanding about the makeup of the aggregate arts and culture workforce. Using data from the United States Census Bureau, in partnership with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), via their survey known as the Current Population Survey (CPS), we are now able to assess the demographic characteristics of not only those employed in the sector but also those who are unemployed on a near real-time basis.This report explores the demographic characteristics of arts and culture workforces, both employed and unemployed, and its appendix provides contextual information about the Current Population Survey's applications and limitations as related to the arts and culture sector. Additionally, this analysis will look specifically at artists employed beyond just the arts and culture sector to better understand the larger ecosystem. We start in January 2020 to establish a baseline of pre-pandemic employment characteristics and track the monthly progression through January 2022. 

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation 2021 Annual Report

March 1, 2022

In 2021, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation centered the power of voice and honored the power of the word.A year permeated by the uncertainty of the ongoing pandemic, race-based hatred and violence, and the climate emergency only strengthened our commitment to clarity and openness in our work, and ensured that we voiced our mission for social justice at every stage of our grantmaking, operations, and public engagement. As the richly detailed etymology of the term shows, "voice" is not merely a characteristic medium of communication, but also a means to assert a position or call out a dissent, as well as a metaphor for the right to join in a shared undertaking. At Mellon, we believe in multivocality—the mighty mingling and juxtaposition of many different voices having a say in the arts, culture, and humanities. 2021 was the year that we clearly and consistently articulated our own work and values while also honoring the voices of others: from those of our grantees and peers in philanthropy to those of intellectual and creative communities across the United States.

The Creative Power of the Arts: Reimagining Human and Planetary Flourishing

March 1, 2022

As the world confronts the compounded impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate crisis, and structural injustices, societies are bracing for a protracted and complex period of reassessment, reimagination, and restructuring. The culture and arts sector must be at the table and included in decision-making processes as societies seek to eschew a return to "normal" and instead reimagine more creative pathways towards human and planetary flourishing.Launched in 2021, Salzburg Global's The Creative Power of the Arts: Reimagining Human and Planetary Flourishing program brought together an interdisciplinary and inter-generational group of 90 creative practitioners, researchers, and policymakers from over 30 countries.The program began with a series of online Focus Group sessions examining the systemic relevance of the arts and culture sector for creative reforms in the four target areas of climate, health, education, and justice. In the process of convening these Focus Groups, however, it became clear that regardless of the area of focus – whether at the intersection of the arts and culture with climate, health, education, or justice – Fellows were confronting similar challenges in their work that were standing in the way of true systemic change. This report is the result of the Focus Groups as well as a joint convening of all participants, along with a collaboratory in-person meeting in Salzburg. By sharing the thinking of this global, diverse, and engaged group of Fellows in this report, Salzburg Global Seminar invites others to engage in a similar process of constructive inquiry to reflect deeply on what is dividing us, what is keeping us from collaborating better, and how we can achieve transformative change together.

HueArts NYC: Brown Paper

February 16, 2022

The HueArts NYC project was initiated by Museum Hue, The Laundromat Project, and Hester Street. They collectively conceptualized and designed it in response to the needs they experienced and observed in the arts sector; and then sought joint funding. The partners recognize the vast diversity of arts entities that focus on vast artistic mediums (visual arts, theater, literary arts, dance, art, music, film, and more). The result of this project is a digital map that begins to capture the arts entities and provides resources to support further conversation with philanthropy and other funders. We will continue to gather resources to include additional POC arts entities in the future.HueArts NYC is also a call to action. This community-informed brown paper offers findings from our research and clear recommendations for more indepth studies and funding to ensure the long-term stability and sustainability of arts entities founded and led by Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, and all People of Color.

HueArts NYC Map & Directory

February 16, 2022

This project was initiated by Museum Hue, The Laundromat Project, and Hester Street. They collectively conceptualized and designed it in response to the needs they experienced and observed in the arts sector; and then sought joint funding. The partners recognize the vast diversity of arts entities that focus on vast artistic mediums (visual arts, theater, literary arts, dance, art, music, film, and more). The result of this project is this digital map that begins to capture the arts entities and provides resources to support further conversation with philanthropy and other funders. We will continue to gather resources to include additional POC arts entities in the future.

The Big Picture 2: Public Expenditure on Artistic, Cultural and Creative activity in Australia in 2007-08 to 2019-20

February 6, 2022

The 2019–20 financial year included both significant bushfires and the first four months of the Covid-19 pandemic. While Covid-19 dominates our every thought and every policy today, it is important to remember that this was not the case for most of the 2019–20 period. This report provides an updated overview of cultural expenditure trends in Australia between the 2007–08 and 2019–20 periods, drawing on a new release of Australia's most comprehensive dataset on cultural funding by governments. It builds on the initial observations about this release, which ANA published in October 2021.

Rethinking Relevance, Rebuilding Engagement

February 2, 2022

The Culture & Community research series launched with a first wave survey in May of 2020 designed to provide actionable information about changing community needs, contexts, and behaviors to arts and culture organizations during a time of rapid change and uncertainty. This report shares findings from a second wave of the Culture & Community research, collected in May 2021, over a year into the pandemic, and at a point when cases were falling before new variants emerged. This Wave 2 survey tracked changes in key questions from Wave 1 and explored new lines of inquiry. We developed a new series of questions to explore the dynamics of race and identity in cultural engagement, perceptions of systemic racism across the cultural sector, and the roles that Americans want arts and culture organizations to play in addressing social issues. Along with our partners at LaPlaca Cohen and Yancey Consulting, we named the second wave of this initiative Culture + Community in a Time of Transformation to reflect our hope that this difficult period -- one in which the country has faced not just a pandemic but also a long-overdue racial reckoning and intense political polarization -- would be an opportunity for genuine, system-level change.

Paul G. Allen Family Foundation: Impact Report 2021

January 31, 2022

Without question, it has been another challenging year. In 2021, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation continued to respond to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, while also managing its robust conservation and ocean health portfolio and supporting new arts and culture projects in the Pacific Northwest.During the rollercoaster of the pandemic, we focused on the needs of our neighbors, particularly underserved communities in our region. This geographic focus enabled deeper and more impactful efforts. We also operated with increased flexibility as emergency situations demanded; given the rapidly evolving nature of the pandemic, we provided trusted partners who have strong roots in communities with greater freedom and flexibility, allowing them to respond to new challenges more quickly.Similarly, we have seen the benefits of grants that support and place trust in Indigenous communities, who are the best stewards of our planet. We also reinforced the power of collaboration – for both funding and knowledge sharing. Tackling formidable challenges requires true partnership with like-minded organizations because working together we can move the impact needle further and faster than just working solo.Building on the work we covered in the 2020 Decade of Impact Report, we remain inspired by our grantees and partners across the Pacific Northwest and around the globe and remain optimistic about the future. The report that follows highlights some of the progress we have seen this year and offers a preview of some of what is to come.