[Excerpt] In 2009, with support from Empire State Development (ESD), the Cornell University ILR School published its first report on the state of the New York arts and entertainment (A&E) workforce, Empire State’s Cultural Capital at Risk? Assessing Challenges to the Workforce and the Educational Infrastructure for New York State’s Arts and Entertainment Industry. The report analyzed a number of key characteristics of the A&E workforce across electronic media, live performing, and visual arts, identifying the most pressing issues for New York A&E workers and the support structures in place to protect their interests. The report concluded by proposing a number of questions to policymakers to be considered in future legislation.
State of the Artist both updates this analysis of the State A&E workforce and analyzes trends in recent years based on comparable data presented in the 2009 report. The current report draws from government surveys, industry reports, and interviews with key stakeholders to assess the condition of the NYS A&E industry and its workforce, identifying key issues faced by workers in each sector of the industry.
In addition to an extensive review of current literature, data from primary and secondary sources was analyzed to assess the state of the industry and major trends by sector. Survey data from the US Census Bureau and Department of Labor, notably from the American Community Survey (ACS), were retrieved to isolate trends in A&E workforce employment patterns, demographics, and income by occupational group. This analysis, including a conference attended by industry leaders and representatives to assess reactions to preliminary findings, served to identify current challenges facing this vital workforce to the state economy.
Often left out of discussions about precarious workers, many working within the A&E industry continue to face high rates of contingent and project-based employment, low average income, and inadequate employment protections—all of which are explored here. State of the Artist concludes with a summary of public policies currently in place as well as those under consideration, providing an updated set of questions for New York policymakers.