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Artist INC 10th Anniversary

By Margaret A. Keough

A large gathering of Artist INC artists pose for a group photo

From September 13–15, 2019, Artist INC hosted the Artist as Entrepreneur Summit (“Peer Palooza”), gathering fifty-four facilitators and community administrators from ten communities across the six-state region. This ten-year celebration allowed us to recognize where we’ve been and look ahead, together, at where we’re going. In addition to promoting program fellowship and networks, the Summit allowed Artist INC to unveil its new curriculum (updated to make continuity and quality easier for all facilitators to uphold) and train program stakeholders for the updates.

Attendees also participated in a specialized equity-in-the-arts training and heard presentations. Artist INC founder Diane Scott shared ten years of data and what it means to the program. Keynote speaker Lucas Spivey spoke about his Culture Hustlers program, a fellow entrepreneurial training for artists. Culture Hustlers also brought its mobile podcast studio and recorded several Artist INC facilitators for their popular podcast series.

Data Highlights

By the end of the first decade of programming in 2019, the Artist INC seminar had been completed by a total of 1,054 artists in ten communities across the M-AAA six-state region

From the ten years of Kansas City data, we learned the following about the program:

Participants gain knowledge of basic planning, marketing, financial, legal, and technological issues related to arts entrepreneurship.
Following Artist INC, 93% of artists can understand arts business concepts and how to apply them.

Participants increase their awareness of and access to quality tools and resources.
Before Artist INC, four in 10 artists had applied for an arts grant. Five years post-seminar, this increases to more than seven in 10 artists who had applied. With more applications comes more grants. Twice as many artists have received an arts grant five-years post-seminar versus pre-seminar.
Artists increasingly access professional resources. Prior to Artist INC, only a quarter of artists had used an accountant for their arts business. By five years post-seminar, more than half of the artists had used an accountant.

Participants establish long-term peer networks.
Artists increase their quantity of relationships with other local artists in their discipline by 20% one year post-seminar and by 93% five years post-seminar.
Artists increase their quantity of relationships with other local artists outside their discipline by 29% one year post-seminar and by 36% five years post-seminar.
Artists also increasingly access those networks for support, seeking advice and information from other local artists 28% more frequently one year post-seminar.

Participants increase their ability to have financially sustainable artistic careers. Artists “exponentialize” the impacts of the program.
After completing the program, 96.2% of Artist INC fellows have shared the program information with artists who have not yet participated.
This leads to longitudinal changes in the overall community of artists. In 2009 only 26.1% of Artist INC fellows entered the program with written goals. By 2019 60.0% of entering fellows had written goals. In the 2009 session, only 56.5% of entering artists considered themselves an “entrepreneur.” By 2019, 80% of entering artists considered themselves to be “entrepreneurs.”

Participants increasingly identify their community as a supportive environment in which to pursue their art.
There was an 18% increase in the ratings of incoming Artist INC fellows’ perception of Kansas City as a supportive environment in which to pursue their art between the 2009 and 2019 cohorts.