Bust? Or just a new opportunity to create…

I have been reading more and more lately about Art and the current economic outlook.  The New York Times ran an article back in February discussing whether the “Boom” was over; pointing out the large amount of product for sale in the art communities and the lack of patrons willing to pay for art.  The article discusses the powerful movements created in art from recessionary times (i.e. the creation of SoHo in NY, the use of available materials such as work by Gordon Matta-Clark, or rooftop performance art pieces).  There is some historical referencing done by Holland Cotter to compare this current recession to those which occurred in the 70’s and 80’s.  You can read it in its entirety here
During this same past year LINC (Leveraging Investments in Creativity) released their results from a survey taken using 5380  artists nationwide.  The survey was completed in just under a month over the summer and was titled “Artists and Economic Recession Survey”, focusing on artists economic circumstances almost a year into this current recession.  In general the survey confirmed the NYTimes article with regards to artists having to make changes in their lifestyles, locations, entrepreneurial skill adaptability; all of which will create a large art movement.  51% of artists surveyed reported a decrease in their art-related incomes between 2008-2009 of which a small percentage seen the decrease exceed 50%.  65% of surveyed artists hold at least one other “day job” in addition to their art practice.  One of the most staggering figures was that 44% of surveyed artists felt a need to lower fees/rates charged for their work.  Although most of the figures in the survey are not appealing, 75% of the surveyed artists had a positive outlook to the future and felt it is an inspiring time to be an artist, but not without their personal worry.  In the survey artists indicated their worries are focused around funding for projects, grant monies, and rising debt.  You can read the actual survey here.
Most recently I attended a panel discussion at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago titled “The Creative Economy: Beyond ‘The New Normal'”.  It was a panel consisting of Kelly Costello, director of Design Research at Doblin, Inc.; Mark Dziersk, VP of Design Brandimage-Desgrippes & Laga, Educator at Northwestern University; Theaster Gates, University of Chicago, Coordinator of Arts Programming; and the school’s President Wellington Reiter.   The information used for the panel discussion was the same as it is in the above paragraphs, however I felt this was more interesting because I was listening to the panelists who came from diverse areas in the art community.  The general philosophies expressed were detailed and interesting.  There was a discussion about the MFA becoming the new MBA whereas corporations and businesses are seeking out individuals who have problem solving skills and can think “outside the box”.  Artists are well-known problem solvers and its our creative ways of thinking which are appealing to businesses who are looking to gain ground in a quickly moving world.  There was also a re-emphasizing of the entrepreneurial skill building during the down time in order to make yourself ready when the market turns around.  While this is encouraging for someone like myself who has a strong business and art background, it’s not so wonderful for the person who wants to be  a practicing artist.  However, I have heard from the school that in the springtime they will be holding another panel discussion that focuses on gallery exhibiting and art making in this economy.  You can see the panel discussion on these 3 links. 
1. Part One
2. Part Two
3. Part Three
I guess what I am hearing from all of this chatter about art and our current recession driven economy is that as artists we need to create change.  The artists need to stay focused on their convictions, look inside of themselves to see what they would like to accomplish, and then persevere in that direction no matter what.  We need to continue to solve problems, regardless of their nature and boast that we possess that skill.  This economy will turn around and artists will be the ones who leave the footprint of what it’s implications have been. 

Is a job called a job when you don’t get paid?

So I’ve been online using all my known resources for job searching.   I don’t want to use this blog as a place to gripe about the economy or politics or anything like that…UNLESS there is something that really gets me going.

But, upon graduation I attended a symposium that my school offered to help me get a leg on a career, post education.  Well, it was really useful if you wanted to start your own gallery or business or go all entrepreneurial.  But for finding a job…it was such a waste of time.  The perfect example is the Art Institute of Chicago posts available positions on artist resource sites rather than their own student/graduate available career development website.  Why do you suppose?  Is it too logical to think that a student at the affiliated school would have the chance at a career in it’s attached museum?

Also I have become frighteningly aware that most art jobs (seriously…most) are offered as unpaid internships or volunteer positions.  Do artists not deserve to have a well supplied career path?  At least in business there is a hierarchy in which someone can get into the job and work their way up to the top or at least something they are really happy about.  Since when did it require a degree PLUS experience to land an entry level art job?  I found a posting for a research assistant job at a large museum that required a Master’s Degree…to be a research assistant!  I have a niece who is doing her undergrad in biology to go on to medicine and she has been been a research assistant during her ungrad study.  I just don’t understand.

Can anyone enlighten me?

Hello world!

Well it was just a matter of time before I began blogging….but I would rather call it canvassing.  I am hoping with this blog to clip-clop my way through post college graduation and venture into the entrepreneurial unknown.  I guess it will contain a little of everything but most likely it will be to pass on information I come across in the Metro-Chicago area regarding art.  I seem to always find something trivial that perhaps someone else could use.

I am a recent graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and have discovered that while the experience was fabulous, the degree from here doesn’t really provide you with a guaranteed job.  I even had an internship at the David Adler Music and Arts Center creating visual art programs and improving others, but I still feel like I am back at square one looking for a job.  I have discovered that I would like a job back in academia helping others find their way to their dream career..that would be my dream career.

Until I get there, I hope all visitors will help me canvas the road to my dream career and canvas the various topics that I chat up.  Thanks for visiting!

– Catie