Museum Camp

A project of the
Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History

Skin in the Game: Fostering Engagement in the Tannery Artist Community

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Team Members

Jason Tseng and Ericka Chemka a.k.a. Team Jericca

What was your hypothesis?

The Tannery provides a stable, secure, and safe environment for artists through three areas of support: financial/economic, social/community, and artistic/creative. With increased stability, artists are able to increase their creative output or innovation.

What indicator did you measure?

% of income spent on housing
% of income derrived from artistic practice
% of income spent on entertainment/leisure
Spending habits/profiles (spender vs saver)
Artistic output before and after moving to the Tannery
Willingess/Interest in social bonding within the Tannery community
Feelings of the Tannery Arts Center by population (Tannery Artists, Artists in Santa Cruz, General Public)
Rates of Risk taking/breaking conventions

How did you measure it?

We conducted an online survey that was distributed to the residents of the Tannery Arts Center. We also conducted interviews on site with Studio artists and Artist residents. We also met with the Santa Cruz Arts Council staff. And finally we conducted a social experiment where we asked attendees of the First Friday event at the center to describe in one word how the Tannery Arts Center makes them feel.

What did you learn?

We learned that our assumption that the Tannery provides increased financial stability was not necesarrily true. Survey respondents reported spending more of their income on housing than they did before they moved to the Tannery. This lead to us believe that the Tannery offers other invencitves to moving their, such as community support and an enhanced artistic environment. We learned that artists in the Tannery have increased their artistic output, which has lead to increased reliance on income from art, which may be less than they were able to acquire in non-arts related labor, which could account for the reduction in disposible income. But in spite of reduced financial resources, artists reported higher sense of general stability and willingness to take risk.

Any surprises?

The financial bit was the largest surprise. Also we were surprised that the community was not as developed as we though it would have been. For Survey Results go here: https://dashboard.intrinsicimpact.org/groupings/196/reports/860 username: e_chemko@hotmail.com password: Chicha12