The Los Angeles Artist Census has been open since early February, and while there’s still plenty of time to take the U.S. Census, the period to participate in this local arts-centric version closes this Tuesday, March 31. Devised by Tatiana Vahan and a team of artists and researchers, the goal of this non-governmental project is the same as the federal version — to collect demographic and economic data to better inform policy-makers, foundations, and institutions on the needs of our communities. But in this case, that community is L.A. County’s art-makers.
It takes about 15 minutes and is completely anonymous, asking questions about employment, healthcare, housing/cost of living/availability of studio space, and education debt as well as contextual questions about art exhibition and sales opportunities generally. As the survey’s statement reads, “With local artists participating in all phases of the research process, we can provide data that is often overlooked or misinterpreted by the institutions that ordinarily conduct this type of research.” A report, complete with data tables and visualization tools will be published online in the fall 2020.
Though it was launched weeks before the pandemic changed everything, they’ve added a few extra questions addressing how COVID-19 has affected the specific situation pertaining to the arts. Additionally, they are asking respondents to answer “as they would have before the pandemic hit,” the better to generate the intended baseline, and thus be in a better position to assess the effects of the outbreak on the arts community on the other side. “Once things have become more under control with this virus (We will get there!), the data will serve as a record of how local artists lived, before the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an invaluable resource for understanding the effects this public health emergency will have had on artists in our community,” reads their recent statement.
Again, the survey is anonymous, takes only about 15 minutes to answer, and closes this Tuesday, March 31. Please take the time to respond, and make your voices heard at his crucial time, when we will need the arts more than ever.