What Artists Say

What Artists Say (downloadable pdf) by the McKnight Foundation. A May 2013 report to gauge the ecology of Minnesota culture and the health of the individual artists within it, featuring some very inspirational quotes.


When we compare artists’ descriptions of “what they need to do their best work” to actual circumstances, it is clear that most of the artists participating in this study produce art under conditions that fall short of their own minimum standards. The most persistent symptoms are a shortage of both time and money. By their own admission, many of the artists in this study make art on what could be considered “borrowed time.” They have also made it clear that this time deficit and low levels of compensation are intrinsically linked. As such, the quality of their work, the growth and sustainability of their practice, and in some cases, their physical health, all correlate directly with their earning power. Taking this into account, one might conclude that demand for the arts is not sufficient to support the art makers who fuel the rest of the system — its lifeblood. If this is true, then by conventional measures, the state’s indigenous cultural sector is seriously out of balance. Given this, and the essential provoking, inspiring, creating, and interpreting roles artists play in the state’s cultural ecosystem, we suggest that additional research into the place of artists in 21st-century creative economies needs to be undertaken.

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