Saturday, April 18, 2009

And the survey says...

I have been winding down a bit these past couple days but I am back now. For those of you who were unable to attend our public presentation of the results for the Indianapolis Art Survey, you will now have a limited time to check them out online and if you wish, download the results. We collected a lot of information, responses from 60 questions, so I felt it was simply too much information to post here in full. Over the next week or two I may in fact post a few stats for open discussion but I welcome everyone to use the comment section here or in one of our earlier posts to further discuss these results, ideas and/or possible solutions.

A couple notable stats:

What is the average price you typically spend on a single work of art?
the highest percentage response - 21.4%  $101 - $250

What is the most you have ever spent on a single work of art, at this time?
the highest percentage response - 21.3%  $251 - $500

What is the most you would ever spend on a single work of art?
the highest percentage response - 21.8%  $501 - $1000

One discussion has already begun centering on some of the results about the amount of money people in Indy tend to be willing to spend. I made a comment at the presentation putting the spending into context with the cost of attending a sporting event. This was an obviously bad analogy .as we have discussed here before. For the record I do not really feel these two are parallel but rather a notable example of the shift in thinking and willingness to spend money. It has been brought up in the comment section that perhaps a better analogy is to that of purchasing furniture and design objects. I agree that this is a very much a better parallel but again, according to the survey, only 26.2% of the respondents said they purchase high end design objects and like. Not exactly a hopeful number.

The ever so insightful and prolific blogger, Urbanophile has posted a very well thought response to this very discussion on his blog. I recommend you read his thoughts on the subject and let us work together to make the change we want to see.

So with out further ado, here is the link to the Indianapolis Art Survey Results.

Thanks again to everyone who participated in the survey, helped spread the word and/or attended the presentation. You participation is very much appreciated. 

UPDATE: (To accompany some of the commentary going on, here is the stated zip code map from the presentation.)

Indianapolis Zip Code Map (the lighter the color, the lesser number of responses)

11 Responses to “And the survey says...”

Richard McCoy said...
April 18, 2009 at 11:11 PM

There are a lot of questions that this survey raises, but I think who is buying art and how much are they paying for it is among the least interesting.

I'm interested in finding out things that I couldn't deduce from attending a few openings, knowing a few Indy-based artists, or visiting a friend's house that owns Indy-based art.

The first bit of information I was interested in was the zip code data. It would be cool to see that data crunched a bit ... at least piled. You have a chance to precisely identify the relative location of the people who took this survey.

The second was that the Harrison was the top gallery last year, and that Ruschmann and Big Car were second -- true it's odd that Stutz was in this group.

Third was that a lot of folks thing that what is missing in the "local art scene" is buyers/collectors and interest/participation. Those are two things that are outcomes of "Quality Art" (and more importantly Quality Ideas), not the other way around.

With this in mind, all the data on the purchase of art just isn't that interesting to me...

Scott said...
April 19, 2009 at 2:41 AM

Hi Rich,
I find these other areas fascinating as well and I fully agree with your third observation. We must first deliver more quality art and exhibitions before we can build upon buyers and collectors or more specifically conisuriship.

As for the interest in how much people are buying and spending, I wouldn't expect you to be that interested in such. I assume that it would really only be of interest to artists and galleries who have an interest in selling works.

I do have all the zip code information collected. I can offer the following stats here. The largest number of responses (49) came from the zip code 46202. We had responses from 88 different zip codes. I was able to put together a color coded zip code map of Indianapolis showing the hot spots of responses. This is information I shared at the presentation. If you would like send me an email and I can send you both a copy of the map I put together as well as an excel form with all the zip code info.

Richard McCoy said...
April 19, 2009 at 9:28 AM

Interesting, Scott. Maybe you could link the map on the blog?

My point about my lack of interest in the commodity of art is that this historically has been a very poor gauge of the quality of art projects or ideas.

While it's important for artists to make money, in the long run, applying a spotlight on that aspect will not be productive.

James Wille Faust said...
April 19, 2009 at 12:26 PM

The stat on average price spent on a single work of art in Indianapolis is saddening.

Many citizens and patrons of Indianapolis need to
help the artist who live and create in Indianapolis and other cities as will.

Scott said...
April 19, 2009 at 6:01 PM

I went ahead and posted the map to this post so that people can see it. I hope it is clear enough at this scale.


A topic of discussion that I have been taking part in over the past couple years, off and on, is that of the sense of entitlement that some artists feel they deserve. This can be detected in some of the written responses in the survey.

There is also this reoccurring theme of the local art scene being too cliquey or controlled by a small handful of individuals. Seriously? This idea of cliques? I don't know... Seems a bit conspiracy theory to me. Most scenes and projects build up out of a group of like minded, interested people attempting to do something. Who are these cliques? Who are the members? Am I a part of some clique?

I personally do not believe in this theory of cliques in the local art community. The community for the most part is quite open to others. But being open does not equate to being all inclusive. Big Car is for the most part a group of like minded volunteers who have ideas on what they would like to do and show in the community, as is Primary Colours. Are these two groups considered cliques? I consider members of each of these organizations to be friends but it is not that we all hang out on a regular basis and plot who to include or exclude. Often times when people are curating exhibitions, particularly when limited in budget, they reach out to the easiest pool of resources they have, usually their friends and artists they are familiar with and have worked with before. This is quite common locally and takes place often. While this may not be the best curatorial practice, I do not think this is done to keep people out but just the easiest path to take for a curator. Cliques, no. A need for better curatorial practices, yes.

My advice for artists who feel they are being left out of exhibiting opportunities, are as follows:

- make the best work you can and enough good pieces for a complete show if offered

- look at the work being exhibited by the gallery or curator you are interested in working with and ask yourself if your work really fits with their aesthetic and conceptual approach or mission, if not look elsewhere.

-Participate. Go out to other exhibits, meet the artists and arts professionals in person, go to networking events, volunteer, etc.

-If you are not able to get the show you want, put on the show yourself. Get a space, either alone or with some friends, promote the show well and invite other curators and arts professionals to the show. Be proactive in your own career.

Anonymous said...
April 20, 2009 at 10:43 AM

I think part of the mirage of the supposed "cliques" is partly a result of insufficient media coverage in the city. Hey! Nuvo/Intake just did a review/image/story on Kyle Ragsdale/Artur Silva/Emma Overman! SNORE. Its always the same usual suspects. I swear, I've seen the same 10 images in the "press" for the past 6 months. For all a visitor to the city knows, we only have 15 artists in the entire city. The Media in the city is constantly missing opportunities for stories on NEW artists, Fresh faces. Instead, they go with the old stand-bys month after month. For example - have we heard a single word about the emerging artist fellows from the Arts Council? They've had 4 emerging artists in 2 years, and I haven't seen a single story about the program or selectees. That's just one example. What's going on at Herron? I wouldn't know - I never see any stories about it. Noone is getting the word out there about anything new. Let's just do another story about Casey Roberts. (Although in fairness, I will say Casey's work and momentum are a really valuable asset to the city.)

Anonymous said...
April 20, 2009 at 7:12 PM

It is interesting that only 15 of the survey responders made from 76% - 100% of their income from their art, and some people are bothered that they keep hearing about the same 15 artists. I guess I fall in all of these categories. I make my entire income off my art, I get enough exposure, and I would enjoy reading about a greater variety of artists.
In studying the numbers, of the 187 visual artist who responded, only 50 made 11% or more of their income from the sale of their work. 137 artists made 10% or less. Making connections that help to generate coverage takes time. I was doing art full time for 5 1/2 years before I ever had a solo show at a gallery in town.
My net income is under that average professional artist mark of $14,000. If you are making your living in some other way and occasionally work to sell art, that is your choice. While I may get more reviews, you get more vacations, dinners out, and a nicer wardrobe. There's no need to envy me. Make more art! Introduce yourself to a journalist! Your possibilities are endless. We all make our own way in this world.

Richard McCoy said...
April 20, 2009 at 11:15 PM

Thanks, Scott, for putting that map up on the post. I think it's helpful and interesting, though I suppose not that surprising.

So, let's put all of this together.

If we take the first Anon comment and Scott's reply together with the data, I'll just say that look at where each one of those folks have or have had their studios: the Harrison Center and Big Car (Murphy Bldg).

"The Media" frankly doesn't have the resources to go and find out about all of the goings on. They are going to go for the cake every time. What's cake in Indy? The Harrison, Big Car, and Ruschman.

But, this is the beauty of Scott's blog: if there's anyone here in Indy that knows of art that needs to be talked about then do it here on this blog.

Make a new clique.

Richard McCoy said...
April 20, 2009 at 11:16 PM

And, as a follow up, I don't mean cake to say that the artwork is "easy," but that the media knows that these spots are popular. This survey backs this up.

casey said...
April 21, 2009 at 1:46 AM This comment has been removed by the author.

casey said...
April 21, 2009 at 1:49 AM

*(Although in fairness, I will say Casey's work and momentum are a really valuable asset to the city.)

that's totally cool, thanks.
can I be in your clique?


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