Social Justice


by Paul Bonin-Rodriguez, March 19, 2016

This Annotated Bibliography is an experiment and a working document. It outlines a number of arts policy studies and resources that help explain how contemporary arts practices are structured and operating at this moment, as well as the economic, social, and cultural histories undergirding them. This document also offers provocations for how to approaches so that their findings are made relevant for artists and organizers.The projected audience for this document is the visual artist emerging into practice or already making, showing, and distributing work – the same audience that Common Field seeks to support. By sharing it with the Council, I seek to provide a platform shaping the organization in response to their findings.


US Artists
Investing in Creativity: A Study of the Support Structure for US Artists.

Jackson, Maria Rosario, Florence Kabwasa-Green, Daniel Swenson, Joaquin Herranz, Kadjya Ferryman, Caron Atlas, Eric Wallner, and Carole E. Rosenstein. Washington, DC: Urban Institute, 2003.
To read this landmark study of artists and get its full impact, filter it through the lens of your experience as an artist or an artist you know. What are your experiences/understandings of validation, markets and demands, communities and networks, information, training and professional development, material supports, and information and how do your experiences resonate with the artists documented therein? Please note that this document is currently being updated by the NEA, in collaboration with the Center for Cultural Innovation in Los Angeles, CA. Focus groups have been held throughout Spring, 2016. The report will be released in Fall.

“The Death of the Artist and the Birth of the Entrepreneur.”
Deresiewicz, William. The Atlantic. December, 2014.

“The Artist Endures.”
Robinson, Meyer. The Atlantic. December, 2014.
Considered something of a shot across the bow, Deresiewicz’s article outlines an economic and social history for US artists and argues that contemporary art markets have rendered artists more businesspersons than creative agents. In his concise response, Meyer acknowledges the complexity of contemporary arts making and marketing, but counters that creativity remains at the forefront. In their disagreement, these two authors compellingly bullet-point the creative and organizational labors anticipated of artists in many support programs and residencies.

“Support for Individual Artists.”
Grantmakers in the Arts Individual Artist Support Committee.
For more than 20 years, Grantmakers in the Arts, a professional association for arts philanthropies, has been working to build the infrastructure for individual artist support. This link is constantly being updated with new information, including new funding programs and studies about artists.

US Market Sectors
Crossover: How Artists Build Careers across Commercial, Nonprofit and Community Work.
Markusen, Ann, Sam Gilmore, Amanda Johnson, Titus Levi, and Andrea Martinez. Minneapolis: Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota Press, 2006.
At this point, it’s really critical that artists recognize how, when they, and why they are crossing over into different market sectors (nonprofit, commercial, community, and government). Read this landmark study as a strategy; use the artist narratives to relate to artistic practice.

US Artists Professional Development Books
The Artist’s Guide: How to Make a Living Doing What You Love.

Battenfield, Jackie. New York, Da Capo Press, 2009.
Battenfield is a coach for the Creative Capital Foundation’s Professional Development Program. She is also a visual artist. The core narrative of this highly readable book is a clear and concise testimony about thinking outside the box and charting one’s own course.

Making your Life as an Artist: a Guide to Building a Balanced, Sustainable Artist Life. Don’t Starve. Make Art.
Simonet, Andrew. Philadelphia: Artists U, 2014.
A dance artist and writer, Simonet is also a trainer for Creative Capital’s PDP, as well as the founder of Artists U, a smart, and community approach to professional development that has been franchised across the US. The book is concise, fun, and spot-on with respect to building a work-life balance.

US Arts Spaces
Artists Centers: Evolution and Impact on Careers, Neighborhoods, and Economies. ​
Markusen, Ann and Amanda Johnson, Minneapolis: Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota Press, 2006.
A study of the Minneapolis artist centers, or membership spaces, this study theorizes spaces as clusters of resources. For artists who have been trained in higher education, where studio space and tools are plenty, this study offers a lens for theorizing how artists can identify and seek similar entities not only for producing work, but also showing it.


Cultural Diversity
“What Does Culture Look Like When #BlackLivesMatter.”
Justin Laing. GIA Reader 26.3(2015).
Laing’s historical perspective looks at the government’s role in passing off civic issues to the philanthropic sector during the civil rights era. His point is that the government has sought the image of arm’s length relations at the expense of truth.

“The 5th Element.”
Uno, Roberta. American Theater 21.4 (2004), 27-30, 85-8.
Uno coins the term “future aesthetics” and argues that youth-catalyzed hip-hop culture is changing the way we structure artistic practice.

“Future Aesthetics 2.0.”
Uno, Roberta. Grantmakers in the Arts Reader 25.2 (2014)
Writing 10 years later, Uno demonstrates how hip-hop artists are working across all market sectors and to what ends. Read both Uno articles for a consideration of the long range plan for Common Field.

Cultural Equity
“Who Should Pay for the Arts in America?" ​ state-of-public-funding-for-the-arts-in-america/424056/
Horwitz, Andy. The Atlantic. January 31, 2016.
Most critical in this article is his use of Sidford’s data from her 2011 study, Fusing Arts, Culture, and Social Change (below). Sidford updates her earlier data to point out that the rich (elite arts institutions with budgets of more than $10 Million) are essentially getting richer, while small to mid-size organizations – including service organizations – are competing for less than 10% of all philanthropic dollars.

“A Model for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.” ​
National Association for Latino Arts and Culture (NALAC). 27 October 2015.
This recent article, which can be found on the website, offers an excellent definition and rationale for cultural equity.

Fusing Arts, Culture, and Social Change.
​Sidford, Holly. Washington D.C.: National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, 2011.
Sidford’s update on this report will be released in late 2016. The report offers a significant snapshot of structural racism as it relates to philanthropy. In the forthcoming report, Sidford will also point out that the number of working artists in the US has increased 30% in the last decade alone.


Culture War of the 1990s
Visionaries and Outcasts: The NEA, Congress, and the Place of the Visual Artist in America. ​
Brenson, Michael. New York: New Press, 2001.
Out-of-print, but accessible on Amazon, this book-length essay details how artists took an organizing role in the successes of the NEA, even though their participation was imagined on limited (even infantilizing) terms. Use this study to ask how artists make policy through their advocacy work.

"The Children of John Adams: A Historical View of the Fight over Arts Funding."
Hyde, Lewis. In Art Matters: How the Culture Wars Changed America, edited by Brian Wallis, Marianne Weems and Philip Yenawine, 253-74. New
York: New York University Press, 1999.

Poet and historian, Lewis Hyde traces US’s ambivalent support for arts from the founding fathers to the end of the twentieth century. Most notable in this essay is his analysis of how Ronald Reagan and Jacob Javits working together in California in the 1970s began what would become the Tea Party movement by separating the notion of taxes from public good in the public’s imagination.

“The Culture Wars: a Reassessment.”
Tepper, Steven. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Center for Arts and Culture Policy Studies, 2000.
Contrary to the popular notion that the culture wars of the 1990s were a national referendum on public arts funding, Tepper points out that art protests were generally regional in nature and reflective of demographic shifts. Tepper’s writing here ties in to Uno’s writing on the US’s changing demographics in the Equity section.

Economics and Social Concerns
“The Privatization of Culture.”
Yúdice, George, Social Text 59 (1999): 17-34.
Writing in 1999, Latin American Scholar Yúdice outlines what would become our arts economy, even describing what we know of as placemaking as a response to economic and social shifts. Very prescient.

“The Measure of Meetings: Forums, Deliberations, and Cultural Policy.”

Tepper, Steven J., and Stephanie Hinton. Working Paper 27. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies, 2003.
Tepper and Hinton survey association meetings to assess which strategies are most effective for shaping convenings of artists and organizers. Worth Following The NEA’s “Creativity Connects” research and development effort, which proposes to outline what artists contribute to society and ask what they still require in return. See for a good story about it.

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