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Among many other things you find that designers are the single largest group of artists in USA today, followed by performing artists such as actors, dancers, musicians, and announcers. Writers have been the fastest growing artist occupation between 1990 and 2005, growing twice the rate of the total labour force.
You also find that compared to other workers, artists are less likely to have full-year, full-time jobs. Instead artists are 3,5 times more likely than other workers to be self-employed and figures indicate that the level of self-employment is increasing. 40 percent of musicians are employed by nonprofit organizations; artists, dancers, producers and writers are around 10 percent or more in non-profit sector. This can be compared with the labour force as a whole, where more than two-thirds work in the for-profit sector.
California and New York have by far the largest numbers of artists, and topped the list for actors, producers and directors. Looking into the specific group of actors, you find that this group is around 2 percent of all artists. Almost half of all actors live in California, mostly Los Angeles. Twelve percent of actors are employed by not-for-profit organizations, around 40 percent are self-employed and 47 percent work for private for-profit employers. Only around 15 percent work full time for the entire year.
Graphics are from Artists in the Workforce (Research Report #48), courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts.
”You do what works”, says John Stoddard at IDEO, one of many success stories placed in Silicon Valley. The Design Firm started in 1991 and has since grown with several offices around US and in London. On the question if it has been important to have the office in Silicon Valley, John Stoddard says without hesitation ”definitely”. It has to do with things like the close relation to Stanford University, he tells us, and the casual clothing that is custom and the casual way of behaving. Anyone can speak to anyone, top and bottom doesn’t matter. The philosophy of starting small and experiment. High risks and a lot to gain if you make it. And the attitude that you arrange your work as you want and what is convenient. As long as you hold your deadline and budget.
At IDEO creativity and innovation is in front and to create such an atmosphere, they believe in things like open spaces, constant-changing workplaces, working in teams with a variety of competencies collected in each project. Other things are a mixture of general competencies and expert knowledge and a possibility to do individual development planning. The result of a project is of course in focus, but also the work process. Innovation, Mr Stoddard tells us, is where different disciplines meet, in the crossovers of different areas. That’s where new things happen.
www.iinnovatecast.com (interview with founder David Kelley)
www.leighbureau.com (find books written by Tom Kelley of IDEO)
”It has to be real projects”. The cornerstone of the Social Practice Programme at California College of the Arts (CCA), is community based projects and real work. We meet Ted Purves, Director of the programme, at CCA and get a tour around the premises. The eight students at Social Practice are part of the Fine Arts department, some classes are also mixed with students from both programmes. The idea behind Social Practice is to work as an artist with social and community projects. To do this CCA cooperate with different organisations and cities. The artists have important competencies that can be used to change a city, to work with municipalities, put view on problems and work in processes, something that the Social Practice put forward. The training also puts emphasis on other skills than the artistic, like managing projects, economy and theoretical knwoledge.
”How do you teach Social Practice?” Ted Purves answers our question and mentions several things. You need to teach different models and methods and teach by doing. Students need to know different methods of how you take collective decisions. And it has to be allowed to fail.
At Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, they run a similar programme called Public Practice. This is also a project based programme and is run by the internationally known artist Suzanne Lacy. Another website we are redommended is worldchanging.com.
Intersection Incubator started in the 70s trying to help artists with sustainability. Today it’s more formalised and is run through the incubator. 120 projects are part of the programme, which primarily consists of fundraising, business management and promoting work. Few funders give artists direct funding, for this you need to start a non-profit organisation.
But the organisational form has laws that are difficult to overview. Most of the time an individual doesn’t have a chance to keep up with changes in regulations, which makes it difficult says Yesenia Sanchez at our meeting. Intersection is the intermediary between the artist and the funder. The solution is called Fiscal Sponsorship, which in short is taking care of the money in and out, while the artist can concentrate on being an artist. The incubator has a large network of partners that the members easily can get in touch with and use for a small fee.
It can be lawyers, bookkeeping, and marketing.Related organisations could be Fractured Atlas, Springboard for the Arts, National Network of Fiscal Sponsorship (website coming), Center for Culture Innovation and Creative Capital. At Ninth Street Independent Film Center, film festivals and organisations as The National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture (Namac) are gathered in one building in central San Fransisco. The solution was to buy the building, trying to build up the advantages of sharing resources, networking and supporting each other. The independent film sector is a large sector in San Francisco, although the field is changeing, KC Price tells us.
More and more people have their own cameras and computors, the need for spaces where this can be rented or borrowed has changed. The Do t Yourself trend has changed who is producer and customer and film makers in much larger extend work on their own. What still is a need for is meeting places.Namac is one of the organisations based in this building, a non-profit organisation with around 370 members all over USA and some in Canada with the common goal to support and work with the advocacy of independent film, video, audio and digital arts. Amanada Ault and Morgan Sully meet us in their small office. The administration is just a few people, the variety of activities that they do is impressive. Main focus is events, research, capacity building (both individual and organisational) and advocacy. Members meet mainly during the every two-year conference; on-line discussions and information is the main communication tool.
They want to, as they say, put forward ”the value of the collective intelligence of the network” and are at the moment developing a new website, which will be much more user friendly and a platform to be active from. This together with a reflective part where they do articles and studies of the field and to put forward new methods, often provocative, makes them both a practioner and service organisation.
At the entrence of the University in Berkeley you find a fantastic artpiece in the pavement called Column of earth and air. Free Speach Monument (1991). It’s a six inch column of land and airspace that is said not being part of any nation, state or city. No laws are applicable within the small space. A ring surrounds the column and has the inscription: ”This soil and the airspace extending above it shall not be a part of any nation and shall not be subject to any entity’s jurisdiction.” The work is done by the Californian based visual artist Mark Brest van Kempen, who has done several different public art projects. Over a cup of coffee he tells us that cities in US put of 1-2 percent to art when public spaces are being redone or new spaces are built. It’s very different how this works, in some cities very well, in others not at all. In the book ”Art of Engagement. Visual politics in Californa and beyond” by Peter Selz (University of California Press) you can follow public art projects in California.
”There is noone asking for Jörgen Svensson when finishing Art University. Why would they? There was no product to sell. The simple reason was that I hadn’t done anything yet. Art students at University or just finishing have no market, since they usually don’t have a product to sell at that point. When Art Universities work with entrepreneurship, this needs to be taken into account” says the artist Jörgen Svensson.
On the freeway to Palo Alto in Silicon Valley, the radio declares that two million people identify themselves as artists in the USA. 3,71% of the total working force in San Francisco are artists according to 2005 Census Data. They earn in average less than others with the equivalent years of education. The study made by The National Endowment for the Arts had also found that the medium salary for artists is 35.000 dollars a year. An article on the topic can be found in the June 13 issue of New York Times.
”Cooperation with other fields, for example the business field, has to be seen by artists as an interesting field in itself to explore. If they do, it’s not a problem with artistic integrity. If you only see it as money and economy, you will have problems. No one will just give you money. This is how you should work with entrepreneurship. As new interesting artistic processes, which are interesting to explore.” Thoughts on the road on artistic integrity and entrepreneurship, told by the Artist Jörgen Svensson.
At Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, they have an artist-in-residence program in a unique setting. Surrounded by beautiful areas, hills to trek in and close to the ocean side, the former military buildings are now studios for artists. Several international artists have had residencies here over the years, being able to focus on their work and meet other artists from all over the world. The idea is to offer artists the opportunity to research and networking that build the understanding for the role of art in society.
In many of the art institutions we visit in San Francisco, you find that the Bernard Osher Foundation has funded projects, artist-in-residence programs, exhibitions within art and culture. It can be the small independent film theatre in San Rafael, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Headlands Center for the Arts or California College of the Arts.
In Sweden you find The Foundation for the Culture of the Future, which has had the same possibility of funding initiatives all over the country. If you ask around, almost every small or large initiative within culture in Sweden have had funding at one point or more from this Foundation. It can be new project ideas or Art institutions, it can be the Municipalities or cultural organisations. The money from the Foundation has allowed them to initiative new ideas of development, changing structures or explore new areas, something the ordinary funding system usually doesn’t allow. The idea of being able to make a quick decision to give money if the Foundation finds an initiative interesting and the non-bureaucratic structure makes it open to new ideas. The access to seedmoney of this sort has been one of the key factors behind the vivid cultural scene you find in Sweden today.
The first thing that you see in the open hall of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is a glass room for project ideas. ”Room for big ideas” is supposed to be a space where you can sit in soft sofas and talk, discuss, reflect and come up with new ideas.
The center is a large center for both visual and perming contemporary art. We are toured around the visual arts exhibition by the Interim Director of Visual Arts, Kate Eilertsen, who tells us about the artists and the mission of the exhibition: make peace, not war.
When moving to Paris at the age of nineteen, Pablo Picasso was already an accepted artist. Although a poor one. As a young upcoming artist he got in contact with a rich couple that let their living room function as a gallery where he could show his work. The gallery was an incubator for his artistic development, a place where he was let to experiment. What importance did this have on his way to become one of the twentieth centuries most important artist? At San Francisco Museum of Modern Art you find an educational part of the museum, which let you read, learn and interact with the artists and the work you see in the exhibitions. You can watch short movies made by artists, read articles and description of their work. Look at photos of art work.
The visit is part of the study trip to San Francisco, USA, done by representatives from Nätverkstan, the arts and City Museum of Göteborg in June 2008.
Kulturverkstan KV 06 has finally graduated. We have been very inspired by their cleaver minds, creative ideas and turbulent behaviour. They have done their Learning at Work on very different places like Världskulturmuseet, Brewhouse, Street (Stockholm), Riksteatern,
Raisinen Creative (NY), Tempo Dokumentärfestival (Stockholm), Kultur Ungdom, Kulturlabbet, Marks Kommun, The American-Scandinavian Foundation (NY), Pustervik, Faktum, VGR Kultur, Kulturdepartementet, Konsthallen, UKM and many more.
We in the Course management would like to congratulate you!
/Karin, Lena & Olav
”China!” The representative from the local business sector answers the question with one single word. In the North Italian town Biella, textile has been the major business since 13th century. In the beginning of 19th century they imported technical skills and knowledge from Manchester. Along the rivers in the bottom of the steep valleys manufacturing of textile was industrialised.
But Biella can no longer escape the globalised economy and its undercurrents. China is taking over. In less than ten years, thousands of jobs have disappeared. Twenty-five thousands are still left. A short-time visitor gets the feeling of travelling through a landscape of industrial heritage.
As in so many places in Europe, the authorities are putting their hopes to the cultural and creative sector. Art, creativity and tourism will save the local area. The listeners of today’s seminar are a mixture of business economists, philosophers and artists that take part in the intellectual experiment ”Nurope, the Nomadic University”. One of the initiators is the Italian organisation Cittadellarte.
Cittadellarte is the work of the artist Michelangelo Pistoletto. He bought an old spinning mill in Biella in the beginning of the 1990s. With a fixed purpose he has restored, built and organised what seems very close to a dream of a modern renaissance workshop. This is meant to be a place for reflection, a laboratory for new thoughts that needs to be formed and formulated if our planet is to survive. Pistolettos thoughts of art have been described as a-modern. In his vision of societal changes, art plays the main part.
In the ears of a sceptical Northerner, it sounds a bit bombastic. But if you have been forced to take part of the discussions on culture and business that at the moment is taking place at most parts of the country – and it’s discussed in many places; artistic universities and unemployment offices, at endless seminars and conferences – Pistolettos self-evident belief in the value of art for arts sake is refreshing. It’s far from the moralising undertones that you can find in the Swedish discussions. Artists have difficulties in finding a viable way of living. So they have failed as small-scale businesses. Therefore they should be taught to become entrepreneurs.
Maybe it’s instead as Pistoletto is saying or as the anarchistic business economist Pierre Guillet de Monthoux, one of the initiators of Nurope, has argued in several books: The business sector has a lot to learn from the artists.
The article is written by David Karlsson and was published in the daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter at February 13 2007. Find the original Swedish version in PDF here: artikel_dn_070213.pdf. Translation by Lotta Lekvall. Photo 1: Biella, Photo 2: inside Cittadellarte, Photo 3: Art piece by Mr Pistoletto inside Cittadellarte. www.nurope.eu and Cittadellarte Fondazione Pistoletto.
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