SNAAP Special Report: Careers in the Arts: Who Stays and Who Leaves?
Frenette A and Dowd TJ with Skaggs R and Ryan T (2020) Strategic National Arts Alumni Project Special Report. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University, Strategic National Arts Alumni Project.
This report sheds light on an important yet understudied question related to the challenge of preparing students for an artistic career: How do experiences during the post-secondary education of arts alumni combine with their early experiences working in arts-related industries to shape whether these graduates leave or stay in a career devoted to artistic work? Which students are likely to sustain careers in the arts? Do majors play a role in who stays professionally in the arts and who leaves? What role do personal connections and internships play, if any? Access the full report here.
SNAAP DataBrief: Arts Alumni Describe What Postsecondary Institutions Could Do Better to Prepare Them for Future Work and Education
Frenette, A (2019) SNAAP: Strategic National Arts Alumni Project, 7(4), December
What do alumni say that their institutions could have done to better prepare them for arts-based careers? For alumni who are at least 30 years old, and have worked in an arts-related occupation, they wish that their institution had taught them about the nuts-and-bolts aspects of work, including how to network and promote themselves, how to handle debt and budgets, how to manage the business concerns associated with their particular arts-based work, how to be entrepreneurial, and how to find jobs. Access the brief here.
SNAAP DataBrief: Arts Alumni Describe What PostSecondary Institutions Do Well to Prepare Them for Future Work and Education
Frenette A (2019) SNAAP: Strategic National Arts Alumni Project, 7(3), November
While artistic knowledge and transferable skills are valuable assets for negotiating uncertain careers in the arts, alumni propose that specific business and managerial knowledge could give them an extra resource for helping to keep precarity at bay. While calls to incorporate entrepreneurial and business skills continue to shape arts education curricula, arts alumni want future curriculum’s to incorporate the specific knowledge needed for the careers that many will one day pursue. Access the brief here.
SNAAP DataBrief: Arts Graduates “Oscillate Wildly” Across Disciplines The under-acknowledged prevalence, predictors, and outcomes of multi-disciplinary arts practice
Frenette A, Martin ND, and Tepper SJ (2019) SNAAP: Strategic National Arts Alumni Project, 7(2), August
The idea of working across artistic disciplines is far from new, but evidence suggests that such crossover is becoming an increasingly important part of artistic careers. For instance, in interviews and roundtable discussions with over 300 U.S. artists, cultural leaders, and scholars, Holly Sidford and Alexis Frasz report a steady increase in the prevalence of artists working across disciplines and sectors, citing examples such as award-winning playwrights writing for television, musicians working across genres, and a prominent arts funder supporting many self-described multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary artists. Few studies in the U.S. capture how many artists work across disciplines, however. One large-scale study of Los Angeles- and San Francisco-based artists found that 60% of them practiced more than one art form. Access the brief here.
SNAAP DataBrief: By the Numbers The Impact of Higher Education Experiences on Who Stays and Who Leaves A Career in the Arts
Frenette, A (2019) SNAAP: Strategic National Arts Alumni Project, 7(1), July
Prior SNAAP research looks at which arts alumni are able to break into a career in the arts, but what happens after these alumni get their start? In a forthcoming SNAAP report, Alexandre Frenette and Timothy J. Dowd ask: who stays and who leaves careers in the arts in the years after earning a post-secondary arts degree? They find that there are important predictors relating to personal characteristics, experience in their higher education program, and the impact of an uncertain arts labor market that affect whether alumni stay in or depart from a career in the arts. This brief is the first in a series of four that focuses in on particular findings from the larger report.* This research was supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. Access the brief here.
NEA Research Lab Working Paper: Investigating Artists: Domains of Creativity & Business Practices
Novak-Leonard, J and Robinson, M (2019)
The authors utilize a small sampling of professional artists to investigate how they can use their innate artistic abilities to unlock creativity in other domains, including business and entrepreneurial pursuits. Access the full report here.
Leveraging Youth: Overcoming Intergenerational Tensions in Creative Production
Frenette, A (2019) Social Psychology Quarterly, 82(4): 386-406
The sociological literature on creativity would suggest that collaboration between newcomers and more experienced members of an art world results in the fruitful combination of novelty and usefulness, though not without some conflict. Drawing on fieldwork and interviews with workers from the popular recording industry (rock/pop) in New York City, this article extends the literature on creativity as collective action by showing how three types of inter-generational tensions (aesthetic, technological, and career) are embedded in the ways newcomers and experienced workers see themselves and each other as agents of change and stasis. I propose a new variable—leveraging age—a mechanism inter-generational collaborators use to resolve or override these tensions to ultimately maximize creativity in group contexts. Leveraging age, as a form of knowledge extraction, occurs in creative bureaucratic organizations and describes how newcomers and experienced workers dualistically draw on each other’s respective strengths (novelty and tradition). I primarily examine the bottom-up part of this process—how experienced workers draw on the insights of newcomers—by analyzing five leveraging-youth practices, which vary by level of formality and intentionality, but mostly limit the interactional challenges between the two groups. Access the abstract here.
Sustaining enchantment: How cultural workers manage precariousness and routine
Frenette, A and Ocejo, RE (2018) Research in Sociology of Work, 32: 35-60
Deriving pleasure and meaning from one’s job is especially potent in the cultural industries, where workers routinely sacrifice monetary rewards, stability, and tidier careers for the nonmonetary benefits of self-expression, autonomy and contribution to the greater good. Cultural labor markets are consequently characterized by the continual churning of its workforce; the lure of “cool” employment attracts an oversupply of aspirants while precariousness and routinized work lead to short careers. This article draws on qualitative data to further conceptualize the appeal and limits of nonmonetary rewards over time. Why do workers stay in precarious “cool” jobs? More specifically, how do workers stay committed to their jobs and perform the requisite deep acting for their roles? Through qualitative research on two sets of workers—music industry personnel and craft cocktail bartenders—this article examines patterns in these workers’ “experiential careers.” We identify three strategies cultural workers use to re-enchant their work lives: 1) deep engagement, 2) boundary work, and 3) changing jobs. In doing so, we show how the experiential careers of cultural workers resemble more of a cycle of enchantment than a linear path to exiting the field. Access the abstract here.
Tepper, SJ and Frenette, A (2018) Routledge Handbook of Cultural Sociology, L. Grindstaff, JR. Hall, & M-C. Lo (Eds.), 2nd edition, Chapter 40: 378-386
Cultural policy is concerned with creating a vibrant cultural life where every citizen has access to diverse cultural expression, where artists find ample opportunities to connect to audiences, where artistic innovation is frequent and pervasive, and where art and culture serve to advance a more just and inclusive society. This chapter analyzes how sociological research, theories, and methodologies could inform cultural policy and broaden understanding of how arts and culture gets produced, distributed, and consumed by individuals and communities. The authors consider five questions that illustrate sociology’s potential contributions to a vibrant arts and culture ecosystem, including how to support and sustain 1) arts participation; 2) artists’ careers; 3) freedom of expression; 4) diverse cultural institutions; and 5) robust markets for exchange. Ultimately, cultural policy will succeed or fail based on how well it takes into account the complex social and human dynamics that shape how culture moves through the world as well as how people move through the world with culture. Access the abstract here.
Oscillate Wildly: The Under-acknowledged Prevalence, Predictors, and Outcomes of Multi-disciplinary Arts Practice
Frenette A, Martin ND, and Tepper SJ (2018) Journal of Cultural Trends, 27(5): 339-352
This article draws on data from a survey of U.S. arts and design graduates (N = 26,672) to analyze the prevalence, predictors, and outcomes of multi-disciplinary artistic careers. Being a multi-disciplinary artist is significantly associated with a range of entrepreneurial career activities, such as self-employment or freelancing, teaching in the arts, or managing an arts-related organization. Access the abstract here.
Equity and Engagement in the Arts: Regional Differences in the Missions of Local Arts Agencies in the United States
Cornfield DB, Skaggs RE, Barna EK, Jordan, ML, and Robinson, ME.(2018) Curb Whitepaper
In this white paper the authors document regional differences in the approaches taken by 55 major U.S. LAAs to the dual mission of pursuing cultural equity and civic engagement and assess the policy implications of the globalization thesis. In making this assessment, they present a university-community partnership (UCP) model for augmenting LAA pursuits of the dual equity-engagement mission. Access the paper here.
Current Public Opinion Toward Federal Funding for Arts & Culture in the United States
Novak-Leonard, J and Skaggs, R (2017) Curb Whitepaper
On March 16, 2017, President Trump became the first U.S. president to propose eliminating federal funding for arts and culture by eliminating federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Since this date, numerous articles and op-eds have been written in defense of these federal entities and the impact of their work, as well as in support of the proposed federal budget. To help empirically inform the current national discourse, we report the results of survey questions we recently fielded to gauge current public attitudes about the President’s proposal to eliminate federal funding for arts and culture. Access the paper here.
Public Perceptions of Artists in Communities: A Sign of Changing Times
Novak-Leonard, J and Skaggs, R (2017) Artivate: A Journal of Entrepreneurship in the Arts 6(2): 5-22
Artivate: A Journal of Entrepreneurship in the Arts 6(2): 5-22 Public opinion and perceptions play an important role in the formation of public policies, yet whether and how artists’ roles in public life are perceived beyond the arts and cultural field is unknown. This lack of understanding impedes the ability to monitor if an arts policy paradigm shift is occurring and to develop policies which support artists’ work within and with communities. In this article, the authors developed and pilot tested survey indicators to gauge public perceptions of artists within communities, report on the national pilot test top-line results, and discuss the indicators’ merits to be used over time drawing from the pilot test results. Access the paper here.
Assembling Nashville: Creative Anchors and Art District Sustainability
Shaw S. (2014) Curb Whitepaper
This report aims to contextualize Nashville’s Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood as an open-ended case study of arts-related neighborhood change. Political-economic and materialist perspectives (the bread of butter of urban sociological theory) would surely predict that WH is not sustainable as a “creative” space because propertied interests tend to hold sway, and artists get priced out in the process of development and rising demand. The purpose of this report is to draw attention to the current concerns of the many actors and interest groups whose struggles are intersecting to assemble a contested and communal “creative city” simultaneously in the present. Access the paper here.
Animating the Creative Campus
Tepper, SJ and Arthurs, A (2013) Inside Arts (Fall): 2-7
In 2007, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters embarked on a journey, with the support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, to explore the potential of the “creative campus” concept to deepen learning and interdisciplinary collaboration through the arts. This report is meant to serve as a case statement of what was learned from innovative projects at 14 campuses across the U.S. It is the authors hope that this document and the digital resources that can be found at APAP365.org will be an incentive for APAP members and their colleagues to initiate dialogues with presidents, provosts and other campus and community leaders – to imagine how together they can leverage existing and potential arts assets to enhance reflective learning and engagement that should be the heart of 21st century education. Access the paper here.
Looking Back, Looking Forward: Arts-Based Careers and Creative Work
Lingo, EL and Tepper, SJ (2013) Work and Occupations 40(4): 337–363
The last two decades of research and policy discussion have illuminated important changes in both the opportunities and challenges facing artists and artistic workers as they pursue their careers and advance their artistry. The authors argue that artists need to be masters of navigating across historically disparate domains, for example, specialization and generalist skills, autonomy and social engagement, the economy’s periphery and the core, precarious employment and self-directed entrepreneurialism, and large metro centers and regional art markets. Access the paper here.
Meandering Multiplicity: Envisioning a 21st Century Creative Campus
Tepper, SJ (2013) Engage: The Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, John Stromberg (Ed.)
In this essay, the author explores the relationship between higher education and creativity, arguing that creativity should be at the heart of a university education, yet existing trends and institutional pressures often undermine its central role on our campuses. He contends that creativity is not a mysterious and magical quality that only a few possess. Rather, cognitive scientists, psychologists, and sociologists know a great deal about how to measure, stimulate, and support creative work. Importantly, while the arts do not have a monopoly on creativity, there is increasing evidence that certain types of artistic training and experiences build creative muscle and prepare us to innovate and invent in many areas of our lives. Access the paper here.
Double Majors: Influences, Identities and Impacts
Pitt, RN and Tepper, SA (2013) Curb Whitepaper prepared for The Teagle Foundation
A Curb Center Report for the Teagle Foundation The authors believe their research reveals that overall double majors reap positive benefits in terms of creativity and liberal learning. However, some double major combinations produce more integrative learning, more diverse experiences, and more creative thinking than others. Moreover, they argue that there are missed opportunities for universities and colleges to help double majors connect and integrate knowledge across disciplines and that certain “bridge experiences” might help transform what has become an unwitting trend on campuses into a purposeful strategy for fostering creativity and liberal education. Access the paper here.
Creativity Narratives Among College Students: Sociability and Everyday Narratives
Pachucki, MA, Lena, JC, and Tepper, SJ (2010) The Sociological Quarterly 51(1): 122-149
Despite foundations in early pragmatism, research on social patterning of creative action has been scarce in the multidisciplinary literature on creativity. The authors address this by exploring how students perceive their creative contributions to college life. By analyzing narratives, they found that the majority of creativity is associated with everyday experiences and social interactions, in contrast to a popular and scholarly focus on extraordinary individual achievement in domains like art and science. The authors also found strong trends in sociability as students negotiate both “where they stand” with regards to those around them as well as “how they stand out” as individuals. Access the abstract here.
Nexus Work: Brokerage on Creative Projects
Lingo EL and O’Mahoney S (2010) Administrative Science Quarterly 55(1): 47-81
This study examined how brokers on creative projects integrate the ideas of others. The term “nexus work” refers to brokerage requiring synthesis or integration, rather than just communication or transference of ideas. With an ethnographic investigation of 23 independent music producers in the Nashville country music industry, the authors examined how producers in the brokerage role fostered the integration of others’ contributions throughout four phases of the creative process. Access the abstract here.
Arts, Inc.: How Greed and Neglect Have Destroyed our Cultural Rights
Ivey, B (2010) Berkeley: University of California Press
In this impassioned and persuasive book, Bill Ivey, the former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts and founding director of Curb Center for Art, Enterprise & Public Policy, assesses the current state of the arts in America and finds cause for alarm. Even as he celebrates our ever-emerging culture and the way it enriches our lives here at home while spreading the dream of democracy around the world, he points to a looming crisis. The expanding footprint of copyright, an unconstrained arts industry marketplace, and a government unwilling to engage culture as a serious arena for public policy have come together to undermine art, artistry, and cultural heritage—the expressive life of America. In eight succinct chapters, Ivey blends personal and professional memoir, policy analysis, and deeply held convictions to explore and define a coordinated vision for art, culture, and expression in American life. Purchase the book here.
America’s Image Abroad: The UNESCO Cultural Diversity Convention and U.S. Motion Picture Exports
Balassa, C (2008) Curb Whitepaper
Beginning in 1998, a consortium of cultural ministers led by representatives of Canada and France advanced a set of principles ostensibly formulated to protect creative work grounded in the cultural heritage of communities and nations. Between 2003 and 2005, the informal activities of this group were debated and ultimately memorialized within UNESCO as the “Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.” This report traces the development of the U.S. response to the initiative in the period leading up to and following the adoption of the Convention in both UNESCO and the WTO and concludes with a set of recommendations designed to address some of the issues that formed the backdrop to negotiation of the Convention, giving special emphasis to the U.S. film industry . Access the paper here.
The Pocantico Gathering: Happiness and a High Quality of Life: The Role of Art and Art Making
Ivey, B and Kingsbury, P (2008) Curb Center, The Rockefeller Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund
From May 31 through June 2, 2007, the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy hosted a unique gathering of writers and thinkers at the Pocantico Conference Center of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund in Tarrytown, New York. “Happiness and a High Quality of Life: The Role of Art and Art Making” explored two key questions: Do art and art-making have a special role in creating happiness and a high quality of life in Western society? If so, how should public policy be shaped and deployed to strengthen those connections? The conference bypassed the questions of funding and leadership that constitute a conventional arts agenda, focusing instead on questions of human happiness, satisfaction, and meaning in life as framed by experts in the fields of psychology, sociology, history, medicine, anthropology, folklore, literature, and other disciplines. Access the paper here.
The Music Industry in Flux: Reconsidering the Performance Right
Ivey, B and Cleggett, P (2007) Arts Industries Policy Forum at the Curb Center
With the advent of the internet, recording artists and record companies felt threatened by digital audio transmissions of their recordings because, unlike songwriters and music publishers, they made money only when their recordings were retailed to the public. Under U.S. copyright law, artists were not eligible for performance royalties, regardless of where their recordings were performed and who proﬁted. Faced with a looming new digital divide, Congress responded twice in the 1990s with legislation modifying the U.S. Copyright Act in order to create a new stream of royalty revenue for recording artists and record companies: a public performance right in sound recordings. However, the performance right was narrowly applied only to the emerging technology of digital audio transmissions. The authors of this paper explored whether, in light of current technologies and copyright law, performance right should be extended beyond the digital realm to cover all performances of sound recordings. Access the paper here.
Cultural Diplomacy and the National Interest: In Search of a 21st Century Perspective
Ivey, B and Cleggett, P (2006) Arts Industries Policy Forum at the Curb Center
This report begins by redefining “cultural diplomacy” in light of 9/11, and then reviews the history and current state of cultural diplomacy efforts. Our report concludes by identifying key challenges, possible initiatives, and essential questions that, if engaged, can enable cultural institutions, government agencies, arts industries, policy makers, and private sector leaders to harness the global movement of our expressive life to advance our national goals. Access the paper here.
America Needs A New System for Supporting the Arts
Ivey, B. (2005) The Chronicle Review 51(22): B6
The author believes it is time to begin a conversation about a new model for building a vibrant arts landscape. As a public servant, Mr. Ivey has had an opportunity to create a research center engaging the very issues that fascinated him during his tenure with the National Endowment for the Arts. He continues to think about the American arts system, how it works (or, at times, doesn’t work) to serve the public interest, and ruminate on what kinds of interventions might make the system more effective for artists and citizens. In this article, the author discusses a new approach to thinking about the ways we try to collectively influence the cultural landscape.
The Creative Campus: Who’s No. 1?
Tepper, S.J. (2004) The Chronicle Review October 1, 2004
No one has ever tried to measure the creative environment of American colleges. At least in terms of direct measures, the author remains agnostic on the question of how creative we are within the walls of academe. Mr. Tepper outlines his plan for measuring and comparing where creativity is flourishing and where it is languishing, which he calls a campus “creativity index.
Radio Deregulation and Consolidation: What Is in the Public Interest?
Ivey, B. and Cleggett, P. (2004)
This report begins by redefining “cultural diplomacy” in light of 9/11, and then reviews the history and current state of cultural diplomacy efforts. Our report concludes by identifying key challenges, possible initiatives, and essential questions that, if engaged, can enable cultural institutions, government agencies, arts industries, policy makers, and private sector leaders to harness the global movement of our expressive life to advance our national goals.