New Survey Launched to Uncover Needs of New England Creatives, Artists

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Results to inform comprehensive study on region’s creative economy

The New England Foundation for the Arts is launching a survey, Creatives Count, to better understand the employment and professional needs of New England’s creative workers, especially artists. This survey, which closes on November 18, 2016, will contribute to a comprehensive creative economy employment study to be published on NEFA’s website in spring 2017.

In partnership with the state arts agencies of the six New England states with support from the Barr Foundation, NEFA seeks input from creative workers (including visual artists, dancers, musicians, designers, craftspeople, architects, digital media creators, culture bearers, makers, and more), working full time or not, on various aspects of their work life, including the type of work, how much time is spent on those activities, and how much of this work makes up their income. The survey includes questions on demographics, education, training, and income, employment status and sector, specifics on creative pursuits, as well as opportunity to cite top resources and needs for advancing a creative career. Find the survey at

Artists and creative workers of all kinds are encouraged to take the survey, which will also be made available in Chinese and Spanish in addition to English, before it closes on November 18, and encourage those in their networks to do the same. Creative workers who complete the survey will have the option to have a profile created and populated with relevant detail on NEFA’s regional creative economy directory, Additionally, everyone who completes a survey will automatically be entered into a drawing to win one of 12 gift cards.

“We need to know more about the work life of New England’s creative workers, including those who are already part of our CreativeGround directory, in order to connect them to resources and influence policy-making at the local, state and regional level,” said NEFA research manager Dee Schneidman. “By participating in the survey, creative workers will be a part of important research that will shine a light on their economic contributions and highlight community assets and potential areas of investment.”

About the 2017 Creative Economy Employment Study and NEFA’s creative economy work
Building upon NEFA’s economic impact studies going back to 1978, the 2017 creative economy employment study will be the third in a series of employment-specific studies, and will demonstrate which creative occupations and industries are showing growth and how the creative sector relates to other significant sectors in the New England region. This project has three primary objectives:
1. To quantify the employment of New England’s creative sector, including arts/culture nonprofits, creative businesses, and creative workers, to understand what they are, where they are, and how their concentration and characteristics compare to both national trends and prior NEFA reporting.
2. To improve inclusion of creative workers in creative sector employment reporting.
3. To identify local clusters of creative economy activity where possible.

Advocates, service providers, and other stakeholders will use the resulting report to generate more visibility and better support for the larger community of creative workers throughout New England. This is also an opportunity to update the widely-cited creative economy research definition from NEFA’s 2007 report, "The Creative Economy: A New Definition." Other NEFA studies have focused specifically on arts and cultural nonprofit economic impact. In addition to studies, NEFA’s creative economy work includes the biennial Creative Communities Exchange (CCX), the New England Creative Economy Network, a directory of creative economy community initiatives on NEFA’s website, and, an online directory of creative workers, cultural nonprofits, and creative businesses, which is now in its third year of operation. These elements enable NEFA to quantify and spotlight New England’s creative sector, strengthening its identity and building capacity and support.

About NEFA
The New England Foundation for the Arts invests in the arts to enrich communities in New England and beyond. NEFA accomplishes this by granting funds to artists and cultural organizations; connecting them to each other and their audiences; and analyzing their economic contributions. NEFA serves as a regional partner for the National Endowment for the Arts, New England’s state arts agencies, and private foundations. Learn more at

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Ann Wicks
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NEFA creative worker survey