Bay Area Artists Raise $1.3 Million in Tough Economy

(SAN FRANCISCO) – Wednesday, May 26, 2010 – Bay Area artists raised more than $1.3 million since 2004 through the Fund For Artists Matching Commissions program. The resources and incentivizing power of the Matching Commissions bolstered local artists’ fundraising success. In addition, the announcement of Matching Commissions results coincides with the release of a study on the arts scene and arts donors and a survey of how Bay Area artists are faring in the economic downturn. The study chronicles how artists and small- to mid-size arts groups found creative ways to engage new donors in supporting new work, and uncovers donors’ motivations to give.

It’s Not About You…It’s About Them, A Research Report: What Motivates Bay Area Donors to Give to the Arts and Artists and the accompanying Field Reports from the Fund For Artists Matching Commissions Program: Unlocking the Potential of Individual Donors, released today by The San Francisco Foundation and East Bay Community Foundation, reveal that despite the challenging economic environment, individual donors and local foundations jointly funded 181 Bay Area artists to support the creation of 116 new works. The study tells the stories of six artists and small to mid-size arts groups who leveraged the matching funds to generate resources for their artistic projects. The Fund For Artists Matching Commissions is a collaborative project between East Bay Community Foundation and The San Francisco Foundation that supports the development of new works by Bay Area artists and helps small- to mid-sized arts groups strengthen funding by attracting individual donors through a matching challenge grant.

The study offers practical tools and tips to individual artists and small arts groups for raising funds for new artistic work. It identifies five underlying values and motivations associated with individual donor giving to artistic projects:

  • Localism – a concern for one’s community and for artists living in the community
  • Progressivism – an interest in being “on the leading edge of art and ideas”
  • Humanism – a concern for social justice and equal opportunity
  • Distinction – an interest in “great works that have stood the test of time” and artists with national or international reputations
  • Bonding – an interest in civic affairs and community improvement; an appetite for expanding social networks and making new friends

The study surveyed 1,900 individual donors involved with the Matching Commissions program and 8,500 donors to 17 mid- and large-sized cultural organizations in the Bay Area. Based on in-depth interviews with more than 70 donors, results show that making one or more of the following four connection points with prospective donors can increase the likelihood of giving:

  • A personal relationship with the artist or someone in the arts
  • A passion for the art form or the art medium
  • An emotional or intellectual interest in the subject matter or issue
  • An involvement with the culture or community involved in the project

John Killacky, arts and culture program officer at The San Francisco Foundation, said, “With the profound impact of the economic recession on our region, the need for arts and cultural activities is critical to uplift the spirit of our communities, boost our economy, and bring people together. The success of the matching gifts program shines the light on our region’s individual donors who have stepped up to ensure that local creativity thrives.”

Diane Sanchez, program officer at East Bay Community Foundation, said, “We thank the new and constant donors who are supporting the Bay Area’s individual artists and small- and-medium- sized arts organizations. The data released today confirm our belief that our community values this region’s cultural vitality.”

This data builds on Leveraging Investments in Creativity’s (LINC) report, The Artists and the Economic Recession Survey: A Report Comparing Main Survey Artists and Artists Who Live or Work in the Bay Area, revealing the affects the recession has had on artists in the Bay Area and nationwide. It reports a drop in sales of art work (52% Bay Area and 48% national), grant amounts (43% Bay Area and 37% national), and teaching opportunities (34% Bay Area and 30% national). Bay Area artists are extremely concerned about being able to fundraise for future projects (42% Bay Area and 34% national). The survey also showed that most artists earn income primarily from non-arts related work (66% Bay Area and 64% national).

About It’s Not About You…It’s About Them, A Research Report: What Motivates Bay Area Donors to Give to the Arts and Artists and Field Reports from the Fund For Artists Matching Commissions Program: Unlocking the Potential of Individual Donors
This research was conducted by Helicon Collaborative in partnership with WolfBrown, and was made possible by support from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, LINC, East Bay Community Foundation, Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund, and The San Francisco Foundation. Access the reports online at www.sff.org/ffamc.

About Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC) and The Artists and the Economic Recession Survey: A Report Comparing Main Survey Artists and Artists Who Live or Work in the Bay Area
LINC is a ten-year, nationwide initiative to improve the conditions for artists working in all disciplines. This survey was conducted in partnership with the Helicon Collaborative and Princeton Survey Research Associates International. The San Francisco Foundation and East Bay Community Foundation supported LINC in disseminating the survey to Bay Area artists and have also worked extensively with LINC since 2004 when the Bay Area was identified as one of LINC’s Creative Communities.

 

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