Characteristics of Performing Artists: A Baseline Profile of Secotral Crossovers
What best seems to describe American artists is a layered profile that takes into account cross-sectoral work experiences and earnings. Many artists have the opportunity to work as employees in the commercial and not-for-profit sectors, as well as for themselves. We found that the greatest degree of crossover activity is among those artists classified by the census as self-employed. For example, based on the earnings profile discussed above, actors classified by the Census as self-employed clearly exhibited crossover employment in both the commercial and not-for-profit sectors where they also worked and reported significant earnings.
Contrary to popular perception, only 7 percent of all artists were classified primarily as employees in the not-for-profit sector, although many artists do spend time freelancing as self-employed performers in this, as well as the commercial, sector. The workplace reality of most performing artist,as musicians in particular, involves freelance activity as well as employment in the commercial and not-for-profit sectors. Although the present Census classification system blurs some of the picture as a result of the self-employed category, as well as the limitations it places on the types and percentage of employment activities an artist is involved in throughout the year, it still offers a reasonable trail of evidence to suggest a significant amount of crossing over.
|If discoveries are truly a result of the methods used, then the multidimensional crossover lens suggested by the American Assembly may prove to be an effective tool in developing policies that take into account the needs and characteristics of individual artists across all three sectors. This article is a first step in building a baseline profile of the characteristics of performing artists working in the arts in the United States. More must be done in framing the questions needed to create an accurate profile of artists and their circumstances.
The U.S. Census does not allow for the unique experiences of artists such as holding multiple jobs or moving from one sector to another or among art forms. Specialized surveys, such as the New England Survey of Artists, allow for greater detail but must go further in querying artists on their experiences over time. A longitudinal survey, rather than the snapshot approach currently employed, is a necessary step toward a better understanding of artists' true lifetime experiences.
A framework must also be developed to track participation of artists in what has been identified as the third or unincorporated sector. A more detailed research instrument is required to meet the methodological needs of revisioning the arts as a unique sector of American life. (p. 176, 177)
- Shifting paradigms, alternative lenses.
- The limitations of present data collection.
- A crossover profile of performing artists.
- General patterns and characteristics.
- Sectoral classification.
- The commercial sector.
- The gender gap.
- Select characteristics of performers.
- Earnings profile.
- The not-for-profit sector.
- Differences in poverty and demographics.
- Demographic profile.
- Earnings profile.