- Space Toolbox
It is important for any community, if it is seeking to create spaces where creative innovation can occur, for it to understand clearly what its assets are. In other words, if you are hoping to create spaces where artist and creative industries can flourish, you need to understand who those people are locally and what their needs are.
Starting Conversations Locally
For our experience, it is important that you begin conversations with artists, folks from the creative industries (designers, architects, etc.) and from other potential partners in your space project(s). Think outside the box! Who might be a good partner to have in a building who will make it more interesting for the community and help benefit the overall project? Are there local non-profits that work with the environment or with kids (YMCA) which might bring some excitement to the project.
To build creative communities, the first thing to do is start talking to an array of the above folks about what their needs are and what they might like to accomplish together. These conversations have to start before you get to the building phase, how can you build a building when you don't know what the use will be?
Some of your first steps would be to:
- Start locally - listen and talk to artists, developers, and property owners
- Decide your goals - who are you trying to serve/achieve?
- Understand the needs of the specific artists if you wish to attract
What do artists need (surveying the artist community)?
Why is it important to survey your local and regional artist community? Because it is a great way to begin to get an understanding of the ‘market’ of the artists in your local community. Artists have specific needs, such as access to galleries in which to sell their work, or access to certain supplies, which can change whether or not they have the ability to live in certain areas. It’s important to understand those needs and how those needs change throughout an artists life. Younger artists need cheap rental workspace, while older, more established artists might need a permanent live/work space.
As a planner of artist space, a city or redevelopment authority should begin to address the artist community by surveying to understand what the physical needs are of the community and what its financial constraints are ( i.e. affordability). In doing so, a municipality is also taking a necessary step of beginning to coalesce the artist community by beginning to understand their needs more clearly and by hearing their voice.
In order to draw artists to a city it is key to understand why they would want to move there. Artists have basic needs. A creative person’s biggest needs are recognition, community and the ability to make a living.
How space can help:
- Space can help an artist be creative
- Space can help build a community
- Space can offer proximity to galleries, clients, audiences, jobs
- Space can build a nest-egg for retirement
- Space can offer stability of expenditure and peace of mind
ArtistLink recommends that you send out surveys in both electronic and hard copy form. Hard copies can be mailed, and left at galleries, artist studios and other artist hang-outs (coffee shops, etc). There are numerous online tolls which you can use to create online surveys, one is http://www.surveymonkey.com.
Using ‘closed ended' questions is probably the easiest way to collect data. Asking open ended questions might lead to having to collect many disparate kinds of data.
|RI artistlive work survey.pdf||6.1 MB|
|1. Worcester Survey.pdf||614.45 KB|
|Portsmith Artist survey.pdf||1.89 MB|