The BFAMFAPhD Project

The BFAMFAPhD project describes its concerns as the “impact of debt, rent, and precarity on the lives of creative people,” and hope that this project will “make media and connect viewers to existing organizing work.” They made a short video that explains its findings:

  The essential question to their study is: Who goes to art school, and who makes a living as an artist? Citing the 2010 census of New York City, they found some surprising statistics:

  • New York City’s population is 33% White, nonhispanic, but 74% of people in the city with arts degrees are White, nonhispanic, and 74% of people who make a living as artists are  White, nonhispanic.
  • New York City’s population is 23% Black, nonhispanic, but only 6% of people in the city with arts degrees are Black, nonhispanic, and only 7% of people who make a living as artists are Black, nonhispanic.
  • New York City’s population is 29% Hispanic, but only 8% of people in the city with arts degrees are Hispanic, and only 10% of people who make a living as artists are Hispanic.
  • New York City’s population is 13% Asian, nonhispanic, but only 10% of people in the city with arts degrees are Asian, nonhispanic, and 8% of people who make a living as artists are Asian, nonhispanic.
  • Of the people who identified their primary occupation as artist in the 2010-2012 American Community Survey in New York City, 55% were male, even though only 42% of people with art degrees are men.
  • As the National Endowment for the Arts’ report Artists in the Workforce reminded us in 2011: “Women artists earn $0.81 cents for every dollar earned by men artists. This gap is similar to that in the overall labor force (where women earn $0.80 cents for every dollar earned by men); professional women earn even less — $0.74 for every dollar earned by professional men.”

The project not only collects data, but tries to foster a community for artists within this demographic to speak out and create a human space for artists to collaborate. Data Sprint, by Alex Mallis, captures the voices of this demographic:

You can explore the BFAMFAPhD project HERE.

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