Los Angeles Artist Census addresses the lack of knowledge of the life of working artists in Los Angeles. This research 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, housing, and employment information.
Similar to the American Community Survey, the objective of collecting this information is to provide artists, art institutions, funders, and policy makers with a clearer picture of what the needs are of artists in our community. The Census will take the form of an online application and will be promoted as a community-wide endeavor through local art institutions as well as through word-of-mouth. Statistics and data that are collected will be compiled, published, and made available as a public resource.
This is a socially engaged art research project that responds to the expanding art scene in Los Angeles and the subsequent need for more support for individual artists in the city. It aspires to bring attention to the needs of contemporary artists while critiquing and reimagining existing systems of power, particularly through funding, in the art world. This project intends to foster community and self-empowerment amongst artists whilst creating a public dialog about these issues.
Los Angeles Artist Census is for the LA art community but could extend as a model to other cities, acting as a measure to assess what needs and resources exist for artists in cities throughout the US.