OVAC Annual Artist Survey 2014 – State of Artists

March 21, 2014

OVAC Artist Survey

Each year, the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition surveys artists who have participated in our programs in some way over the previous three years. This annual survey gives us a snapshot of where Oklahoma artists are in their careers and practice, and tells us how OVAC has helped them reach their goals. The survey is in its third year and you can read results from previous surveys here, including in-depth responses to common questions.

OVAC board and staff developed clear outcomes we are seeking with our programs and services that drive these survey questions.  OVAC seeks for artists to have vital, fulfilling careers and artistic practices in Oklahoma, which drives us to offer resources, encourage connections to other artists, and emphasize recognition of artists. Also, OVAC seeks enriched and vibrant Oklahoma communities and culture because of and through the arts. For this outcome, OVAC offers more opportunities and increased access to Oklahoma art and artists.

This post summarizes the current state of artists in Oklahoma. We received over 200 responses.
Environment for Artists in Oklahoma
of respondents say they believe the general environment for art in Oklahoma has improved because of OVAC.

*Because of OVAC, 85% say they are better able to practice their art in Oklahoma.

Comparison: These percentages are identical to last year’s responses, which increased slightly from 2012.

“The existence of OVAC is essential to raising the quality of life in Oklahoma, improving the creative image of Oklahoma, and attracting new business to Oklahoma. Oklahomans must continue to support and expand OVAC to make OK an attractive place to live and do business.”
Network for Artists
*Because of their participation in OVAC programs, 73% say they know more people to call on about making art, and 79% say they know more people to talk with about the business of art.

Comparison: These percentages increased from 66% and 71% respectively in last year’s survey.

“I have become acquainted with many venues, resources and people I would have had trouble finding without OVAC. It organizes an otherwise chaotic field for me.”

“OVAC has provided a supportive environment where I have felt that I belong to something larger, and am not alone.”
Business Tools
of respondents have attended an Artist Survival Kit workshop (down from 60% of last year’s respondents). The numbers below give us some insight into artist’s readiness for opportunities, as well as areas where artists could use additional resources or help as potential workshop topics.

84% have a studio or workspace (2013: 82%)
76% have an artist statement (2013: 84%)
75% have a portfolio (2013: 79%)
74% have an artist resume (2013: 81%)
64% have a website (2013: 64% – no change!)
40% have an action plan (2013: 40% – no change!)

“I found the [Artist Survival Kit] program the best practical training of anything I’ve done as an artist. It’s a well thought-through program that covers foundational things an artist needs to know. The cost was so affordable and all the speakers knowledgeable. The atmosphere for each workshop was friendly, not intimidating and always helpful. I liked going to different galleries for meetings and seeing what other cities had to offer.”

“I think the real question in my mind is would I be able to be an artist in Oklahoma without OVAC? Probably not. OVAC has filled in every gap (and the gaps were wide and deep) that grad school didn’t prepare me for in terms of being a professional artist: artist statements, resume, proposal writing, photographing artwork, mentorship, curatorial guidance… that list goes on. And the opportunities to develop as an artist that OVAC has provided have only made me a substantially better artist than I was when I started eight years ago. Thank you. Thank you times infinity.”