Americans for the Arts: Op-ed—Strength in Numbers

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By Sofia Perez

[Published by Americans for the Arts blog, December 1, 2015]

How does a hardworking artist become an economically thriving one? In today’s art world, talent alone is rarely enough. Without sufficient financial support, most artists will struggle to get ahead—or even stay afloat—but direct funding for the arts is getting increasingly harder to come by. In 2014, individual artists received less than 5% of the grant dollars awarded by nonprofits or state arts agencies for arts-related work [Sources: The Foundation Center; National Assembly of State Arts Agencies]. What’s more, the vast majority of support that individual artists receive from non-governmental institutions is filtered through fiscal sponsors, a step that not only creates an additional obstacle for artists, but also cuts into the total dollar amount that they receive.

While the fiscal sponsorship approach may work for some, it is counterproductive for many. Art is a business, and artists are the consummate entrepreneurs—taking on huge risk, with often extremely limited resources—but they need more than just money to become financially viable. They need to know…\

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