Los Angeles Artist Census

Los Angeles, CA


The Los Angeles Artist Census is a socially-engaged, data research project founded in 2018 by artist Tatiana Vahan. Modeled after the US Census, which collects data on people in the US to determine how federal and state funds are distributed, the Los Angeles Artist Census will identify and map the needs of local visual artists. This will help public and private funders to know where and how to allocate funding for artists and will provide public officials with the data needed to support policies that are aimed at improving local artists needs. It will also provide artists, art institutions, researchers, and the public with a clearer picture of what the 2020 LA art community looks like, for years to come. 

The Census survey was drafted by a diverse group of LA-based artists and contains questions pertaining to employment, healthcare, housing, and debt. Issues that are unique to local artists are also included, such as adjunct teaching, “no fault” evictions, student loan debt, studio affordability, and time management. With artists also overseeing the subsequent research report, we can provide data that is often overlooked or misinterpreted by the institutions that ordinarily conduct this type of research.  

This project is responding to the expanding art scene in Los Angeles and the subsequent need for more unrestricted financial support for individual artists in the city. It aspires to bring attention to the needs of local artists while critiquing and reimagining existing systems of power, particularly through funding, in the art world. This project hopes 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 way to measure and assess what needs and resources exist for their local artists.