$20,000 Artists Fellowships Announced by St. Louis Regional Arts Commission

RAC Takes the Lead in Supporting Individual Artists

ST. LOUIS, March 5, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ --

Regional Arts Commission To Fund Artists Based on Results of the "Artists Count" Survey

More than 3000 Artists Participated in First Survey Conducted in Region

Based on the results of Artists Count, the first comprehensive survey of regional artists and creatives, the Regional Arts Commission (RAC) will begin funding individual artists in 2013. (www.artistscount.com and www.art-stl.com)

The commitment to support artists is inherent in RAC's vision to transform St. Louis into a more vibrant, creative and economically thriving community through elevating the vitality, value and visibility of the arts. 

"This is a sea change for RAC because we only have funded nonprofit organizations and consortiums since we were created in 1985," said Jill McGuire, executive director of RAC.  "This decision is in step with our visionary plan to support an environment in which artists are valued and thriving as part of a robust creative community,"

More than 3000 artists and creatives completed the survey from April through July, making it one of the largest research studies of its kind in the United States.  Promoted widely to diverse audiences through traditional and social media, participants included full-time and part-time painters, writers, dancers, poets, filmmakers, musicians, photographers, graphic designers, actors, singers, composers, architects, performance artists, crafters, arts educators, videographers and others who self-identified as creatives.

The Kresge Foundation funded the survey which was conducted and analyzed by William Cleveland, principal of the Center for the Study of Art and Community along with his research associate Dr. Patricia Shifferd.

According to Cleveland, "RAC's decision to fund artists establishes the organization as a leader among local arts agencies nationally.  They are committed to developing a sustainable, creative community." 


  • Artists are Entrepreneurs – Most professional artists in St. Louis are small business owners who are motivated by their creativity and they spend between 10 and 50% of their time on marketing and communications.
  • Artists are Job Creators – They reported hiring more than 4100 artists and non-artists to help with their businesses.
  • Income of Artists:
    $25,000 and below = 46.4%
    $25,000 to $50,000 = 31.6%
    $50,000 to $75,000 = 12.3%
    $75,000 to $100,000 = 6.4%
    $100,000 and above = 3.3%               
  • Artists Rely on Multiple Sources of Income – Only 29% of artists are able to work full-time at their art.  The rest have multiple sources of income and often work at outside jobs, which are most often in teaching or arts administration.
  • Support Means More than Money – Artists need training, technical support, marketing assistance, business administration help and more.
  • Time is Money for Artists – Finding time to create their art is one of the most challenging aspects for artists.
  • St. Louis is a Leader in Artist Driven Community Development – To build healthier and more vibrant communities, artists are collaborating with people in education, youth work, community development, science, social services, parks and recreation to help build healthier and more productive communities.  RAC is a leader in this area through its Community Arts Training (CAT) Institute                     

The findings of the survey provided RAC with a wider understanding of the creative ecosystems in St. Louis, including what artists need to be successful.  As a result, RAC has created the Investment in Artists Initiative that provides direct support to artists so they can advance their careers and complete creative projects, including:

  • Artists Fellowships: Each year, ten St. Louis artists will each be awarded a $20,000 Fellowship, which is a financial investment in the careers of the selected artists and in the cultural vibrancy of the region

Artists Count Second and Last Add

  • Artists Opportunity Grants: Each year, artists will be awarded from $500 to $3000 to fund special equipment and materials, rental space, arts-related travel, conference fees and other resources.
  • Workshops and Support Services: RAC will develop a series of workshops in partnership with other organizations, such as the Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts, on various topics to develop professional, entrepreneurial and business skills.
  • Public Engagement and Education: RAC will continue to inform and educate the public, civic leaders and funders about the importance of the artist ecosystems and creative economy in St. Louis.

For complete information about these opportunities and to download a copy of the Artists Count summary and full report, visit www.artistscount.com.

About the Regional Arts Commission (www.art-stl.com)

The Regional Arts Commission (<st1:stockticker w:st="on">RAC</st1:stockticker>) is at the forefront of efforts to transform St. Louis into a more vibrant, creative and economically thriving community through elevating the vitality, value and visibility of the arts. Formed in 1985, the commission is the largest annual funder of the arts in the region and has awarded over 5800 grants totaling more than $76 million. Directed by a board of 15 commissioners appointed by the chief executives of St. Louis City and County, <st1:stockticker w:st="on">RAC</st1:stockticker> advocates respect, inclusion and appreciation of the diverse cultures of all individuals.  In 2012 it awarded 186 grants totaling more than $2.9 million to the area's arts organizations, consortiums and cultural programs.  RAC is located at 6128 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, Mo., 63112   (314) 863-5811 www.art-stl.com. RAC produces the most comprehensive cultural calendar in the region, www.artszipper.com, Facebook:  Regional Arts Commission and Twitter: RACStLouis.

About the Center for the Study of Art and Community (www.artandcommunity.com)

The Center for the Study of Art and Community (CSA&C) joins with the arts, business, human services and philanthropic sectors to build new working relationships between the arts and the broader community. The organization specializes in the development and assessment of arts-based community partnerships as well as management support and training for artists and institutional partners. CSA&C works with artists and arts organizations, schools, human service and criminal justice agencies, local and state government and business and philanthropic organizations.

Media Contact: Diane Kline, Regional Arts Commission, 314-863-5811, diane@stlrac.org

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SOURCE Regional Arts Commission

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