Creative workers are a critical part of Boston’s thriving economy. They offer unique perspectives, bringing innovative ideas and solutions to complex challenges. But because of their nature of their work, they are also often undercounted and thus, underserved. When we released the Boston Creates Cultural Plan this summer, keeping artists in Boston and recognizing their contributions to the city was identified as a key goal of the plan.
The New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) has recognized this need as well. Last month, with the support of New England’s state arts agencies (including the Massachusetts Cultural Council) and the Barr Foundation, NEFA launched Creatives Count, an online survey to uncover the needs of creatives and artists across New England. We are encouraging all creative workers here in Boston to take the time to participate.
The Creatives Count survey asks creative workers (including artists, dancers, musicians, designers, craftspeople, architects, digital media creators, culture bearers, makers, and more), working full time at creative work or not, about various aspects of their work life, including the type of work, how much time is spent on those activities, and how much of their income comes from this work.
The survey includes questions on demographics, education, training, income, employment status and sector, as well as specifics on creative pursuits, and the need for space. The survey will also offer an opportunity to identify key resources and needs for advancing a creative career.
Why does this matter? By learning what the work life is like for creative workers, we’ll be better able to connect them to resources. Ultimately, this research will showcase their economic contributions, highlight areas for potential investments, show which creative occupations and industries are showing growth and how the creative sector relates to other significant sectors in the New England region.
Here in Boston, we’ll use this data to inform decisions about housing, live work space, presenting and production space, grants and professional development opportunities and other needs of the creative community. It will also greatly inform the work of our forthcoming artist resource desk in City Hall.
The survey will be open through November 18, 2016 and should take 20-30 minutes to complete. Please take the time to complete the survey and encourage others to do the same. The results will inform a comprehensive report on the whole creative sector in New England that will be released in spring, 2017.