Statistics to Start the Conversation

The state of California is the lowest contributor to public arts funding in the nation. California also has two of the richest cities in the US (San Jose and San Francisco), making it one of the richest states in the union.

San Francisco leads metropolitan areas in the proportion of artists in the work force, followed by Santa Fe (which ranks first in writers and fine artists), Los Angeles, New York and Stamford-Norwalk in suburban Connecticut.

To sum up: California has the most artists, it’s one of the richest states and has the least state arts funding.
The 2003-2004 budget of the California Arts Council was slashed by 95% (from $18.3 million to $1.1 million) and the council was forced to suspend most of its grant programs to arts organizations.

“During my first year as Director (of the California Arts Council), we were able to grant just under a million dollars. This past year (2008), I’m proud to tell you, the CAC expended over $3 million in programs, grants, convenings and assistance. This is largely due to the sale of Arts License Plates, which brought in $2.8 million last year.”
Artists in SF are well-educated, stable and engaged in their communities, yet they are spending less time on their art each year, with fewer of them earning income from it and almost half earning under $3,000.

In 2002, when the U.S. job market conditions worsened; unemployment for artists was twice as high as for all professional workers.  Note: This doesn’t bode well for artists in the current economic climate.
In the early 80s an unnamed non-profit art space in SF was paying $500 artists fees. With the rate of inflation that $500 today would be more like $1500. Almost 30 years later, most non-profit art spaces in the Bay Area are still paying $500 or less. On top of this, each year these same art spaces are bleeding the artist community with their auctions.

It’s a legal obligation of the 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization to make the tax forms: Form 1024 and Form 990-T public.  Note: You can go to to find specifics
If every artist in America’s work force banded together, their ranks would be double the size of the United States Army. More Americans identify their primary occupation as artist than as lawyer, doctor, police officer or farm worker. Shouldn’t Artists have a voice as much as these and any other profession?

References for Statistics:

The aftermath: Healing

In this election year, there has been a lot of energy focused on the “other side” of whatever your political views are.  There’s blame for things that did or didn’t get passed, people who did or didn’t get elected, and things that could have been.  Today I have had a couple of glimpses into the idea that many people know, deep down, that all of that is not productive.

From Ze Frank (internet creativicist and proprietor of The Show):

From 52 to 48 with love


“i would love to have a place for obama supporters, mccain supporters and supporters of third parties (over 1%) to reach out in a gesture of reconciliation…
simple messages from individuals.

perhaps it is naive. the differences are real, i know. but we have to repair the damage done from this election cycle somehow…

the fringes (all of them) have been allowed to dominate our conversations for too long. to create a cycle of hate, ill-will and revenge.”

From No on Prop 8:

“In working to defeat Prop 8, a profound coalition banded together to fight for equality. Faith leaders, labor, teachers,civil rights leaders and communities of color, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, public officials, local school boards and city councils, parents, corporate law firms and bar associations, businesses, and people from all walks of life joined together to stand up against discrimination. We must build on this coalition in order to achieve equal rights for all Californians.

We achieve nothing if we isolate the people who did not stand with us in this fight. We only further divide our state if we attempt to blame people of faith, African American voters, rural communities and others for this loss. We know people of all faiths, races and backgrounds stand with us in our fight to end discrimination, and will continue to do so. Now more than ever it is critical that we work together and respect our differences that make us a diverse and unique society. Only with that understanding will we achieve justice and equality for all.”

Visualization of US discretionary spending

Death and Taxes:2009 is a representational poster of the federal discretionary budget; the amount of money that is spent at the discretion of your elected representatives in Congress. Basically, your federal income taxes. The data is from the President’s budget request for 2009. It will be debated, amended, and approved by Congress by October 1st to begin the fiscal year.

The poster provides a uniquely revealing look at our national priorities, that fluctuate yearly, according to the wishes of the President, the power of Congress, and the will of the people. If you pay taxes, then you have paid for a small part of everything in the poster.

Open it in fullscreen and you’ll have the rest of the day eaten up.


Funny- maybe I’m not looking hard enough, but somehow I can’t find the word art.

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Lego Hello World
I wish all my printers were made of legos.

LIFE photo archive hosted by Google
Images from Life Magazine going back to 1860′s, hosted by Google

Coming Face To Face With The President
Well crafted story about an under-heard point of view.

In California, Pot Is Now an Art Patron
A new funding source for the arts – reaping big rewards and funding many projects.  It’s pot.

Notes on Portraiture in the Facebook Age

Celebrity Book Club: A List to End All Lists
Because, well, it’s sortof awesome.

Are "Artists' Statements" Really Necessary?
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This to That
You tell it what you’ve got and it’ll tell you what to glue them together with.

Work of art: Online store for buyers, sellers
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How to make a Daft Punk helmet in 17 months