A study produced by research economist Ann Markusen and colleagues in 2006 (Crossover: How Artists Build Careers across Commercial, Nonprofit and Community Work) sheds interesting light on the entrepreneurial approach that California artists are taking in managing their careers. Contrary to the stereotype of artists wanting to be left alone in their studios just to make art, the majority of California’s artists were actually organizing their careers by combining meaningful activities and income across community-based, nonprofit and commercial work. California artists reported significant dividends from this mixed-bag approach – work in the commercial sector offered more visibility and higher rates of financial return; the not-for-profit sector offered aesthetic satisfaction and opportunities for artistic exploration; and the community sector offered an outlet to stand up for political and social justice goals, and to affirm cultural identity.
At the Center for Cultural Innovation, we consider an artist’s ability to manage and direct their own “portfolio careers” to be the highest form of creative entrepreneurship, and we support this way of working by offering entrepreneurial training programs, convening and networking activities, and in our direct grantmaking to artists. Read the rest of this entry »