Los Angeles Artist Census addresses the lack of knowledge of the life of working artists in Los Angeles. Part research project, part public art—this project involves collecting basic financial data on LA-based artists to gain a better understanding of need versus resources-available to artists in the city.
Modeled after the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, which collects data on people in the US to determine how federal and state funds are distributed each year, the LA Artist Census will provide much needed statistical information on the quality of life of artists living in Los Angeles. The data will include information like total debt, debt from student loans, monthly income and expenses, and employment status.
Similar to the American Community Survey, the objective of collecting this information is to provide both artists and larger art institutions/funders with a clearer picture of what the needs are of artists in our community. An “emotional census” will also be included to assess the subjective “moods” of artists. Multiple choice questions like, “How do you currently feel about your practice?” and “How often do you worry about money?” will be included in this section.
Statistics and data that are collected will be compiled, published, and made available to artists and local institutions and can be used as a resource for those who want to push for more funding opportunities for Los Angeles based artists.
Los Angeles Artist Census will take the form of an online application and has an initial goal of collecting a minimum of 300 forms. It will be promoted as a community-wide endeavor through local art institutions as well as through word-of-mouth or through an email chain letter.
This is a socially engaged art project that responds to the rapidly expanding art scene in Los Angeles and the subsequent need for more financial support for individual artists in the city. This project brings attention to the needs of emerging contemporary artists while critiquing and reimagining existing systems of power, through funding, in the art world. This work fosters community and self-empowerment amongst artists whilst creating a public dialog about these issues. This work will directly impact the art communities in Los Angeles by creating a framework to address need.
Los Angeles Artist Census is for the LA art community but could extend as a model to other cities acting as a sort of “report card” for art communities to assess what needs and resources exist.
Los Angeles Artist Census is a project of Fulcrum Arts’ Emerge fiscal sponsorship program.