Knowledge Infrastructure: Artists’ Professional Development

In a podcasted conversation with David Dower some time ago, I explained that creative infrastructure for the arts has three components: physical infrastructure, organizational infrastructure, and personal infrastructure. I’ve noticed (as has at least one regular reader) that this blog hasn’t been focused as much lately on the infrastructure theme as I instead share experiences from my classroom and the many conferences I attend.

Today I return to infrastructure and, especially, knowledge infrastructure for arts entrepreneurial success. What professional development knowledges or training do artists need? This question is at the heart of our most recent report for the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, Artist Professional Development Needs: Findings and Recommendations from a Survey of Artists and Arts Organizations. Lead author Mollie Flanagan (Tremaine Foundation Fellow in Arts Entrepreneurship) and I found that marketing communications, networking, and financial management are what artists say they need most, although arts service organizations report slightly different results. We assert, however, that all professional development activity must have the creative practice – the art – at its center, as illustrated in the map Mollie created indicating relationships between the professional development needs that were surfaced in our research. (The relative strength of the need, as measured by frequency of mention in our interviews and surveys, is indicated by size.) You can download the full report from the link above or by visiting Pave’s Research page. research map final 2_19_16

Source: Flanagan, M. and Essig, L. (2016). Artist Professional Development Needs: Findings and Recommendations from a Survey of Artists and Organizations. A report produced for the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation by the Pave Program in Arts Entrepreneurship at Arizona State University, p. 14.

About lindaessig

Linda Essig is Dean of the College of Arts & Letters at Cal State LA and principal/owner of Creative Infrastructure LLC. The opinions expressed on creativeinfrastructure are her own and not those of Cal State LA. You can follow her on twitter @LindaInPhoenix.
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