Art Majors: Satisfied with Their Jobs

See Strategic National Arts Alumni Project 2011 Snapshot.

The Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) I introduced yesterday is not just relevant for those considering art degrees as it also examines the satisfaction rates of artists and helps us consider definitions of success. 

Must artists work full time as artist to be satisfied? This research clearly shows not. Over 87% of arts alumni are somewhat or very satisfied with the job where they spend the majority of their time which may or may not be as a professional artist (see 2011 annual report page 16).

Meanwhile, 72% of art alumni still make or perform art in their personal time.

Interestingly, between 10% and 20% of all art students do not plan to pursue art as a profession as they begin their studies.

We should encourage artists, students and art educators to learn though this data, allowing us to demystifying futures in the arts and advocate for arts education. 

Art Major Myths: SNAAP

See Strategic National Arts Alumni Project 2011 Snapshot

Many myths surround aspiring art majors, full of bleak futures and overwhelming student debt. Meanwhile, the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) paints a picture gainfully employed and satisfied individual artists.

As we work together to improve artists’ fulfillment with their practices and overall prospects in our state, this new data helps give a framework for the value of arts education.

SNAAP, out of the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, gathers detailed information from art majors across the country to better understand art major’s career paths and satisfaction rates.

More than 33,000 arts alumni have taken the survey, which focused on an expanding number of art schools and departments. Schools, parents, students and our community can advance the importance of the arts with this information.

With dramatic changes in education systems and careers in the arts, this research outlines more contentment than I would have anticipated from art majors. For instance, 77% say they would go back to their degree-earning institution. See the snapshot of 2011 information for more interesting facts.

Taking Public Art to the Streets!

Author: Cierra Linander (OVAC Intern)
Part of the Oklahoma Art in Public Places program, Four Seasons by Kevin Box 
is located at the entrance to the University of Central Oklahoma’s Center for Transformative Learning.

Two weeks ago, the Oklahoma Arts Council and Oklahomans for the Arts hosted the 2012 Oklahoma Arts Conference, and I had the pleasure of attending. The theme of this year’s two-day conference was Building Bridges to Vibrant Communities, which primarily focused on the economic benefits of community revitalization projects. 

A variety of inspiring tours, panels, and workshops were held, ranging from informational sessions for artists on writing grant proposals, to inspiring seminars discussing the crucial role the arts play in the livelihood of our communities.
Part of the Oklahoma Art in Public Places program, the Heritage Bridge
was designed by Steven Weitzman of Creative Form Liners, Inc. 

Though all of the sessions I attended carried an important message, I was most profoundly impacted by the moderated panel discussion, Takin’ it to the Streets: Incorporating Public Art into your Community Cultural Plan

Moderated by Debby Williams, panelists Ken Busby, Robbie Kienzle, Randel Shadid, and Larry Walker each discussed the public art sector in each of their towns, Tulsa, OKC, Edmond, and Norman. Several methods and ideas were introduced, offering advice for listeners interested in starting a public art program in their community as well as additional measures that can be taken for further community involvement.
One interesting solution to the problem of funding art projects is the private-public funds matching program adopted by Edmond. Through this program, the contribution of a private donor is matched by the city to purchase a work of art to be displayed publically. Due to the success of the program, some 124 pieces have gone up around Edmond in the 10 years of its implementation.
By and large, the message of Takin’ it to the Streets focused on the importance of community involvement and how to make the investment of time or money for public artwork projects look appealing. Citizens like the idea of city beautification measures, including public art, and are proud of the work they participate in.
The benefits of public art can be quantified, even if an exact number of admission tickets can’t be counted. Public art provides free education to the community and group projects provide a sense of unity within the community.

See recent articles in Art Focus Oklahoma about the Oklahoma Art in Public Places as well as the  Tulsa, Norman, and Oklahoma City public art programs.

Report from National Arts Leadership Institute

Guest Author: Sam Wargin

During the week of July 16th I participated in a leadership institute in San Antonio, TX put on by the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture(NALAC). As a Latino artist and arts advocate from Oklahoma, the chance to be part of this year’s selection to attend was an exciting opportunity and turned out to be an incredibly humbling yet inspiring experience.
National Association of Latino Arts and Culture  Leadership Institute participants,
including Oklahoma artist & educator Sam Wargin (rear amid address numbers) 
NALAC is a nonprofit organization focused on promoting, developing, and cultivating the Latino arts field on a national level. Their efforts remind me a lot of what OVAC does by offering workshops, grants and other forms of support to artists and organizations, except it’s on a larger scale and with an emphasis on Latino artists and arts organizations.
The leadership institute itself consisted of 6 days of intensive training in the form of lectures, group activities, and conversations. Along with the 21 other participants, who represented organizations and communities from all across the country, I was being trained to be a leader within my community.
I think one of the most important things we could have taken away from that week is that, while we may have been learning and discussing what Latino art is and can be on a national level, we all have the responsibility–and now the capability–to bring those ideas and actions back to our own communities.
Sam Wargin (3rd from left) taking part in Artist Summit as part of the
Cultural Development Corporation ‘s Artist Support Study
It has been my dream for a while now to see Latinos in Oklahoma have more visibility and more access to the creative outlets offered by the arts whether it is through education or exposure. I applaud the efforts of the local art community to reach out and recognize what already exists in that regard, but I want more.
Being surrounded by the many established and up-and-coming artists, performers, directors, and organizers made me hungry to see our growing Latino community more engaged in the national conversation on Latino experiences in the arts and more involved in the growth that Oklahoma City, and the state as a whole is going through right now. The skills I learned through the leadership institute taught me how to go about turning my dream into a tangible reality, but it was the experience of a week surrounded by such inspiring individuals, faculty included, that gave me the motivation to continue investing the time and effort into creating the kind of future I’d like to see.

What Do Artists Need? How Do Artist Impact Our Community?

Artists discuss strategies at June Artist Summit (that’s me in green & white shirt)

This probably goes without saying, but I think the artist community is incredibly important. For about the past six months, I have been knee deep a study examining artists’ needs and artists’ impact on our community (more than usual) helping with the Artist Support Study commissioned by the Cultural Development Corporation of Central Oklahoma.

Of course we at the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition are constantly examining artists’ needs as we plan programs. But being part of this effort has helped me look more holistically at how artists of all disciplines interact and sustain. It is also interesting to focus on a metropolitan area, rather than the whole state, since the associations are different.
Artist Support Study Steering Committee Co-Chair Dylan Bradway
reports in at June Artist Summit
Led by our able consultants Tom Borrup and Shirley Sneve with Minneapolis-based firm Creative Community Builders, the Artist Support Study gathered input from over 120 artists, arts professionals, neighborhood leaders and educators since January.  I have been involved as the co-chair of implementing the Cultural Plan for Greater Oklahoma City.
Artists discuss strategies at June Artist Summit
If you are interested in the bigger picture for OKC-area community and artists, please join us at the release event for the study on Tuesday, July 31 at 5:30 pm in the Lyric Theatre in Oklahoma City. More information:
Either way, I’ll report back here about the study and plan after it is public. Go artists!

KCMO Art Community: Enthusiastic and Candid

Cory Imig, Kelsey Karper, Blair Schulman, & Julia Kirt
(OK Art Writing Fellows with OVAC staffers) at Plug Projects

OVAC Associate Director Kelsey Karper & I have just returned from a jam-packed weekend in Kansas City, MO viewing art, visiting galleries and museums, chatting with artists and building on regional partnerships.  

We will post about specific spaces and conversations soon. Meanwhile, I wanted to reflect on some of the primary qualities that made the KCMO arts community so striking.

First of all, the arts community rolls out the welcome. Everyone we met, whether planned or spontaneously, received us with enthusiasm and curiosity. From individual artists to commercial gallerists, they were excited to discuss their art activities and inquire about ours (along with a reasonable amount of OKC Thunder talk).
KC artists work as part of the 2012 Kansas City Flatfile at H & R Block Artspace
Artists and other arts leaders express a pride in the city and the community’s art while simultaneously addressing the gaps and areas for improvement in their arts ecology candidly. This combination of acknowledging the strides already taken, while refusing to remain comfortably in the present, is exciting and healthy.

I was especially inspired by their openness about aspirations for the community and for artists in their community.

Thanks for having us Kansas City!  More later…

Arts & Artists: Important to Our State

We celebrate Oklahoma’s first Arts Day today, April 30, 2012.

Why? The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition speaks up for artists to be sure our legislators and others leaders know that artists improve our state on a daily basis. Artists better our state culturally and economically. We rely on the Oklahoma Arts Council, a state agency, to serve these artists.

Of course, artists create new work as they paint, sculpt, draw, edit, conceive and more. We have contact with 4,637 visual artists around the state. Imagine the quantity and variety of their work!

Many artists share their ideas and vision with the world, sometimes capturing our history and emotions while other times pushing toward the future.

Beyond the immediate impact of their artwork, artists play many other roles in our communities. They teach our youth, lead in our cities, and volunteer through charities.

Plus, artists build their small businesses. Known for their entrepreneurship, artists find all kinds of ways to make a livelihood, from public art commissions to creative retail businesses.

Amidst the noise at the Capitol, we need to remind those making decisions that art and artists are important economically and culturally. 

Notably, the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition serves artists all over the state because of the Oklahoma Arts Council. This small state agency helps many groups provide programs around the state.

Please helps us show that art enthusiasts live across the state by contacting your legislators today telling them you believe in supporting the Oklahoma Arts Council. Or, drop by and see us in the 4th Floor Rotunda any time between 9 am & 4 pm.

Learn more about Arts Day from the Oklahomans for the Arts.

Be an arts advocate!

As an arts lover, you’ve probably heard that you need to speak up for the importance of the arts. But how? What do you say?
At the Oklahoma Arts Conference, guest Mary Kennedy McCabe, Executive Director of Mid-America Arts Alliance, spoke about the importance of communicating the powerful impact the arts can have on your community. Your elected officials are there to represent YOU, but they can’t do that if they don’t hear your voice.
Here are a few key points to focus on when contacting your representatives:

1.  Economic Impact of the Arts
For example, did you know that for every $1 in public funding to the Oklahoma Arts Council generates $8 in economic impact? That’s a good investment. (Source: 2008 economic impact study of arts and culture organizations in Oklahoma.)
2. Education Through The Arts
Studies consistently demonstrate the arts’ impact on education and overall student achievement. Students with four years of arts education in high school score significantly higher on college entrance exams than students with little or no arts education. Arts education has been shown to increase performance in non-arts subjects like math and science. Other proven benefits include an increase in school attendance and civic engagement, and a decrease in anti-social behaviors.
3. Community Development
Communities that offer vibrant arts and cultural amenities are more likely to attract young professionals, retain young talent, appeal to businesses, and provide a setting where people want to live and raise families.
To be updated on Oklahoma arts advocacy alerts, sign up for the Oklahomans for the Artsmailing list. For updates on national issues, sign up for the Americans for the Arts Action Fund.

Involving Audiences: Study Examines Arts Participation

Infographic from The James Irvine Foundation report “Getting In On the Act:
How Arts Groups are Creating Opportunities for Active Participation”

Examining relationships between arts participation and the impact of art, The James Irvine Foundation released this fascinating study “Getting In On the Act: How Arts Groups are Creating Opportunities for Active Participation.” 

Besides appreciating the definitions they offer for arts engagement, also I am interested in how our exhibitions, events, and classes address our community and in turn alter professional artists’ practice.  

Have you taken art classes? If so, how have they affected your experience of art?  

Artists, how have you involved audiences in your art? 

We Need Public Art in Oklahoma!

3/17/11 Update:
House Bill 1665 was passed by the House and waiting to be heard in the Senate.
Senate Bill14 passed committee, but was not heard on the floor in time, so died.

We encourage you to still contact your Senator and the Governor to let them know the Oklahoma Art in Public Places Act should continue.  HB 1665 would suspend the program for 3 years. 

See a recent Tulsa World article about the program.  Watch for more updates on the Oklahoma Arts Council’s Arts Information Center:

Please speak up to your Representatives and Senators to let them know you want the Oklahoma Art in Public Places Act to continue.  Find your legislators contact information here: 

The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition supports the Oklahoma Art in Public Places Act:
  • Passage of HB 1665, which will suspend the Oklahoma Art in Public Places Act for three years, will be detrimental for our state.   Passage of SB 14 is even worse, ending the program.
  • The percent for public art is paid for from capital project budget and does not affect the General Revenue Fund or other sources of state revenue.
  • Funds spent on public art improve our communities for minimal expense and create jobs for artists, who are small business people.
  • This program is only a few years old and just beginning to complete a variety of excellent art projects all over the state.
  •  Public art enlivens our cityscapes, reflects our distinctiveness, attracts tourism and creates economic benefit.  Public art can record our community history.  All distinctive communities include public art from the Statue of Liberty to the Vietnam Memorial. 
  • Cultural travelers, who make up 81% of tourists who travel over 50 miles from home, spend 40% more money and stay 50% longer, according to a recent Travel Industry Association of American study. Oklahoma will become a more exciting destination as artists create works that reflect the identity of our state.
  •  Last year for only $50,000, three Oklahoma artists were commissioned for public projects that transformed their careers and increased their business capacity.

8.     Read more facts about the Act here or see their website:  Please act quickly as these bills will be heard in the next day.