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.