(Boston, MA) The New England Foundation for the Arts is launching a 2017 Creative Economy Employment Research Initiative for the New England region, including a creative economy employment study and artist survey for the six New England states. The work and report will be completed in spring 2017, and an RFP is now available. The initiative is made possible with an award from the Barr Foundation of $300,000 and with the support of the six New England states and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Building upon NEFA’s economic impact studies going back to 1978, this report will be the third in a series of employment-specific studies and will demonstrate which creative occupations and industries are showing growth and how the creative sector relates to other significant sectors in the New England region. This project has three primary objectives:

  • To quantify the employment of New England’s creative sector, including arts/culture nonprofits, creative businesses, and creative workers, to understand what they are, where they are, and how their concentration and characteristics compare to both national trends and prior NEFA reporting.
  • To improve inclusion of artists in creative sector employment reporting.
  • To identify local clusters of creative economy activity where possible.

This is an opportunity to update the widely-cited creative economy research definition from NEFA’s 2007 report, The Creative Economy: A New Definition. Other NEFA studies have focused specifically on arts and cultural nonprofit economic impact. In addition to studies, NEFA’s creative economy work includes convenings such as the biennial Creative Communities Exchange and the New England Creative Economy Network, a directory of creative economy community initiatives on NEFA’s website, and CreativeGround.org, an online directory of artists, cultural nonprofits, and creative businesses, which is now in its third year of operation. These pieces support NEFA’s goal to quantify and spotlight New England’s creative sector, strengthening its identity and building capacity and support.

“The creative economy is a powerful engine for growth and community vitality. Understanding trends and gathering data about the creative work force, with a special focus on artists, is critical for New England. Having this data will create a platform for strategic investment in the cultural sector, and will help quantify attributes of thriving communities with creative hubs,” said NEFA executive director Cathy Edwards. “We are grateful to the Barr Foundation and the six New England state arts agencies for their partnership in this work.”

“This research effort will deepen the understanding of the contributions, challenges and characteristics of New England's creative sector, particularly this expanded regional effort to count artists. In partnering with state arts agencies, we anticipate that the research process and discussions will build a more connected community, and inform sound decision-making at the local, state and regional levels,” said E. San San Wong, Senior Program Officer, Arts & Creativity, at the Barr Foundation.

Researchers or consultants interested in submitting proposals for the project should review the full RFP, available at www.nefa.org. Submissions are due by March 31, 2016.

About NEFA
NEFA builds connections among artists, arts organizations, and funders, powering the arts to energize communities in New England, the nation, and the world. NEFA is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) that operates in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the New England state arts agencies, with additional funding from foundations, corporations, individuals and other government agencies.

NEFA’s work is accomplished through grantmaking, services, and initiatives which strengthen and advance the national arts infrastructure. For more information, please visit www.nefa.org or call 617.951.0010.

CONTACT: Ann Wicks | 617.951.0010 x534