Issue Brief: Chicago’s artist labor force: a comparative perspective

Press Release

Press Contact: Mariana Seda
Phone: 217-300-8077


Urbana, Illinois–The Arts Impact Initiative, a research program through the College of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, released a new report on the status of the artist labor force in Illinois.

This brief extends the examination of the Illinois artist labor force provided in “The Artist Labor Force: a statistical look at Illinois in the context of the U.S.” (June 2022), by providing statistics on the artist labor force residing in the City of Chicago in a comparative perspective with ten other U.S. cities

The issue brief is part of a series of briefs investigating the artist labor force from various angles. Each report dives into a specific focus area surrounding the lives, livelihoods, and impact of creative workers to better understand the roles of art and artists in community development and social well-being.

Jennifer Novak-Leonard, Research Director of the Arts Impact Initiative and author of the report says: “We too often lack a sufficient evidence base to inform and guide policies that affect artists. This series of issue briefs provides policymakers and other stakeholders with timely information to shape investments in Illinois’ creative workforce and in making it more equitable.”

The Arts Impact Initiative works with local, regional, and national partners to collect the research data and develop the briefs. Arts Alliance Illinois, a partner of the initiative, serves as an advocacy agency for creative industries and workers in Illinois.

About the Arts Impact Initiative: The Arts Impact Initiative is a pilot program that builds on the historic record of research, creation, and service across the College of Fine and Applied Arts’ academic and engagement units dedicated to the study of the visual and performing arts, design, architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning. Working with regional and national partners like Arts Alliance Illinois and the Strategic National Arts Alumni Program (SNAAP), the program focuses on translating data and research about art and artists into actionable strategies for enhancing how people work and live locally, regionally, and nationally.

View and/or download the full issue brief.

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