The NEA has released an online research tool based on information of 2.1 million artists in the United States’ labor force. “Equal Opportunity Data Mining: National Statistics about Working Artists,” contains 70 searchable tables with figures on working artists by state and metropolitan area, by demographic information (including race and ethnicity, age, gender, and disability status), and by residence and workplace. The tool offers tables, a map of state-level rankings, and links to original sources.
The tool can also be found under the Tools and Tips page.
The Creative Alliance will be honoring World AIDS Day this upcoming Friday, November 30th, 2012 by holding a musical celebration. A cabaret starring Mink Stole, Sunrize Highway, Quae Simpson, Alexis Holzer, Tenley Spatz, and more, will be hosted by Adam Cooley. The evening will include Broadway, pop, rock’n’roll, and original songs performed by the Baltimore cast. Following the performances AIDS Action Baltimore’s Lynda Dee and John Hopkins Hospital’s Dr. Dick Chaisson will hold an interactive dialogue with the audience and present new research developments. Proceeds for the event benefit AIDS Action Baltimore. Tickets are $20 for general public and $15 for members. Tickets can be purchased by visiting the Creative Alliance website or calling 410-276-1651. The show begins at 8pm on November 30th.
One of the most pressing questions facing the Baltimore Art + Justice Project is: what is the role of the arts in driving social change?
Artists not only document social change,” she argues, “they promote, inform, and shape it.”
Whether through music, plays, graphics, paintings, songs, films, media, architecture, textiles, jewelry, photography, poetry, sculpture, pottery, landscapes, written word, spoken word, or dance, art is powerful…For art is the intellectual underpinning of social change; nowhere is there more potential and more need for art than here and now.
Martinez asserts that while government bears the principal responsibility for ensuring that residents are healthy and safe, art plays a vital role by raising awareness, encouraging participation, and reducing the barriers of misunderstanding and mistrust that too often divide decision-makers with institutionalized political and economic power from community members who are most directly affected by social problems.
She cites several instances in which artists have helped to shape public debates in San Francisco. For example, in 1972, an Asian-American arts collective produced posters, murals, and publications to protest the eviction of older adult Filipino and Chinese residents from a low-income residential hotel.
A decade later, artist Ester Hernandez produced a satirical advertisement for “Sun Mad Raisins” in order to draw attention to the public health consequences of pesticide overuse by California’s raisin industry.
Martinez calls for a 1930’s-era, Works Progress Administration-style initiative to provide multi-year funding for community artists whose works serve the social good. This type of public investment would use “…creative capital to promote social justice, mitigate disparities, and build healthy neighborhoods.”
Baltimore has a long history of residents organizing to improve conditions in their communities. It also has an impressive, if less well known, history of local artists using their work to take on the social problems of the day.
Do you have any examples of ways in which the arts have been used to challenge the status quo, reduce disparities, or advocate for positive change? Please share your stories in the comments section or via email.
Greetings! I’m Kalima Young, the project coordinator for the Baltimore Art + Justice Project. I’m a Baltimore native, a researcher, an activist, a lecturer and a filmmaker. I love discovering this city’s community assets and resources. I enjoy bringing people together to work toward strengthening Baltimore, and I’m excited about my role in melding transformative art with ongoing community work toward solidarity and equality.
I’ve spent the last six months meeting a wide variety of artists and designers who work across the spectrum of social justice issues. I’ve assembled an advisory group of artists, funders, researchers, activists and advocates to help guide me through the life of this project. As a result of my outreach, I have discovered the following:
1) Baltimore has as much beauty, energy and innovation as it has poverty, public health crises and crime.
2) COMMUNITY is a word that is overused and misused by people who do not:
a. clearly understand what it is, and/or
b. really believe in it.
3) Everyone disagrees about what makes an artist a ‘Community Artist’.
4) There is an awful lot of talking about the challenges in Baltimore but we all find it hard to figure out concrete solutions.
5) There are many amazing artistic endeavors happening across this city but people have trouble leaving their own neighborhoods and “communities” to see them all.
Can we harness the energy of this vibrant, quirky, eclectic artist/designer landscape to empower this city?
Can we acknowledge racial and class barriers in Baltimore’s arts world so we can start creating real solutions?
Can we more deeply engage advocates in their understanding of art as a tool for justice?
Let’s answer these questions together.