Welcome to SotA Survey 2019

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SotA 2019 Results

Welcome to the State of the Arts 2019 survey results!

The State of the Arts Survey is an open-ended census-style survey organized for visual artists by visual artists. It is a completely non-profit project and all survey data is free to use for any artists or artist-run organizations. If you would like to contribute ideas for the 2020 survey please click the link below. We have set up an anonymous 5 minute google form. Any and all ideas for new questions are welcome, the survey needs your input!




Contribute New Question Ideas!


Upcoming Survey Dates:

  • October: Taking suggestions for new question ideas / edits. (see link above)
  • November: Re-tooling the survey with new suggestions.
  • Thanksgiving: The 2020 survey officially opens!
  • New Years Day: The 2020 survey closes!

More Information on the State of the Arts Survey

State of the Arts is an anonymous census-style survey for visual artists intended to help artists gather and have free open access to critical information regarding trends in the arts communities of which they are a part. The goal of the survey is to assist artists in practical decision making and aid them in building a more inclusive, sustainable and vibrant art world by giving them free access to this information.

The 2019 iteration of the survey was organized with the assistance of a small group of graduates from the San Francisco Art Institute and the Yale School of Art. It is comprised of 89 questions including but not limited to those that addressed the following.

  • What cities are artists living in?
  • What kinds of jobs are we working?
  • What subjects are we making work about?
  • What mediums are we using?
  • How are we selling our work?
  • How are we getting shows ?
  • How are we connecting with eachother?
  • In what ways are we struggling ?
  • In what ways are we thriving ?

For this first beta version of the survey we are proud to have had over 100 participants from across the United States that took the survey before December 31st 2019. Participation is still welcome however if you wish to fill out the survey please do so with information from your 2019 studio year.

If you would like to contribute ideas for the 2020 survey please click the link below. We have set up an anonymous 5 minute google form. Any and all ideas for new questions are welcome, the survey needs your input!


Contribute to the 2020 Survey


Take the 2019 Survey


As you explore the results please keep in mind, the intention was for this to be an open-ended survey. Our contributors made the sincerest effort to make sure there was no singular agenda or bias at work in the selection of questions. The presentation for the data is intended to be similarly neutral. It's up to the reader to decide what the data might mean and what conclusions to draw.

Have fun, take everything with a big grain of salt, when in doubt check out the raw data and if you find anything interesting like correlations or unexpected trends please share it on social media using #SotA2019 or #SotASurvey!

This site was built by Tom Betthauser using the D3 data visualizations JavaScript library in conjunction with an object oriented ES6 application structure. This project would not have been possible without the rich ecosystem of D3 resources made freely available by the community of engineers who generously contribute it.

What keywords describe your studio practice in 2019? (word cloud)

Below is a word cloud data visualization representing the words artists used to describe their studio practice during 2019. The size of words correlates directly to the number of survey participants that listed a given word in their response. Artists were asked to fill in any words to describe the subject matter and mediums they used in their studios during 2019.

You will find a number of other word clouds as you review the rest of the data visualizations from the survey. They can be helpful and easy to digest visually but if you are interested in seeing more specific information regarding responses keep in mind that the raw data from the survey is freely available for download, and you are strongly encouraged to explore it as well. There are an infinite number of insights to be gained by cross-referencing responses and exploring the information in different formats.

General Information Section

Below are data visualizations for all the survey questions regarding the basic demographic information of survey participants including but not limited to gender, race, age etc. All responses pertain to 2019 and questions are generally worded as they were in the survey, abbreviated when necessary.

Note that questions regarding cities, neighborhoods, income, employment etc. can be found seperately in their own dedicated sections later in the survey.

Exhibitions / Opportunities Section

Below are data visualizations for all the survey questions regarding the exhibitions and programs that survey participants took part in including but not limited to solo / group shows, residencies, grants etc. All responses pertain to 2019 and questions are generally worded as they were in the survey, abbreviated when necessary.

As is the case for all sections please don't hesitate to check out the downloadable raw data if more information on SotA is desired regarding any visualization or question. Note that questions regarding jobs, education programs, gallery attendance etc. can be found seperately in their own dedicated sections later in the survey.

Where did you have shows? (word cloud)

Below is a word cloud data visualization representing the places artists showed their work in 2019. The size of words correlates directly to the number of survey participants that listed a given venue type in their response.

In many cases artists wrote in their own custom venue types such as "public spaces" which are up to the reader to interpret.

Again, please don't hesitate to check out the downloadable raw data if more information on SotA is desired regarding any visualization or question.

Studio Visits / Sales Section

Below are data visualizations for all the survey questions regarding studio visits and artwork sales that survey participants had. This includes but is not limited to how artists got studio visits, how much artworks were sold for, who baught them etc. All responses pertain to 2019 and questions are generally worded as they were in the survey, abbreviated when necessary.

Note that questions regarding exhibitions, primary employment, non-art-related income etc. can be found seperately in their own dedicated survey sections.

Who did you sell work to? (word cloud)

Below is a word cloud data visualization representing the types of people artists sold their work to in 2019. The size of words correlates directly to the number of survey participants that listed a given type of collector in their response.

In some cases artists wrote in their own custom collector types such as "strangers" which are up to the reader to interpret.

As always, don't hesitate to check out the downloadable raw data if more information on SotA is desired regarding any visualization or question.

How did you make art-related sales? (word cloud)

Below is a word cloud representing the ways artists sold work in 2019. The size of words correlates directly to the number of survey participants that listed a given sale types in their response.

In some cases artists wrote in their own custom collector types such as "events" which are up to the reader to interpret.

Remember to check out the downloadable raw data if more information on SotA is desired about this question.

What types of work did you sell? (word cloud)

Below is a word cloud representing the types of work artists sold in 2019. The size of words correlates directly to the number of survey participants that listed a given type of sold work in their response.

In some cases artists wrote in their own custom types of sold work such as "designs" which are up to the reader to interpret.

Remember to check out the downloadable raw data if more information on SotA is desired about this question.

Who did you have studio visits with? (word cloud)

Below is a word cloud representing who visited artist's studios in 2019. The size of words correlates directly to the number of survey participants that listed a given type of studio visitor Remember to check out the downloadable raw data if more information on SotA is desired about this question. in their response. In some cases artists wrote in their own custom types of sold work such as "community members" which are up to the reader to interpret.

Remember that all word clouds are dynamically generated so clouds look slightly different each time you load the page. Occaisionally words may overlap or be cutoff, if this is the case just reload the page to reset the rendering. This does not effect the data.

How did your studio visits come about? (word cloud)

Below is a word cloud representing sources for studio visits in 2019. The size of words correlates directly to the number of survey participants that listed a given type of studio visit source in their response. In some cases artists wrote in their own custom responses such as "cold contacting others" which are up to the reader to interpret.

Remember that all word clouds are dynamically generated so clouds look slightly different each time you load the page. Occaisionally words may overlap or be cutoff, if this is the case you may reload the page to reset the rendering. This does not effect the data.

Websites / Social Media Section

Below are data visualizations for all the survey questions regarding artist's social media use and studio websites. This includes but is not limited to what platforms artists used, how often they used them, what benefits they offered etc. All responses pertain to 2019 and questions are generally worded as they were in the survey, abbreviated when necessary.

Keep in mind that there is an unavoidable bias towards instagram in this section and all of the 2019 survey questions since in this beta version of the survey promotion occured primarily via instagram. Future iterations of the survey will not have this issue.



What aspects of your primary social media platform did you find to be posititve? (word cloud)

Below is a word cloud representing what artists listed as positive about social media in 2019. The size of words correlates directly to the number of survey participants that listed a given negative aspect of social media in their response. In some cases artists wrote in their own custom responses such as "online gallery space" which are up to the reader to interpret.

Remember that all word clouds are dynamically generated so clouds look slightly different each time you load the page. Occaisionally words may overlap or be cutoff, if this is the case you may reload the page to reset the rendering. This does not effect the data.

What aspects of your primary social media platform did you find to be negative? (word cloud)

Below is a word cloud representing what artists listed as negative about social media in 2019. The size of words correlates directly to the number of survey participants that listed a given type of studio visit source in their response. In some cases artists wrote in their own custom responses such as "favoring likes" which are up to the reader to interpret.

Remember that all word clouds are dynamically generated so clouds look slightly different each time you load the page. Occaisionally words may overlap or be cutoff, if this is the case you may reload the page to reset the rendering. This does not effect the data.


What print and online resources did you use in relation to your studio? (word cloud)

Below is a word cloud representing what media resources artists used for their studio practice in 2019. The size of words correlates directly to the number of survey participants that listed a given type of media resource in their response. In some cases artists wrote in their own custom responses such as "artist pages" which are up to the reader to interpret.

Keep in mind that there is an unavoidable bias towards instagram in this and all of the 2019 survey questions since in this beta version of the survey promotion occured primarily via instagram. Future iterations of the survey will not have this issue.

Studio Space / Habits Section

Below are data visualizations for all the survey questions regarding artist's studio space. This includes but is not limited to studio work schedules, kinds of studio space, costs etc. All responses pertain to 2019 and questions are generally worded as they were in the survey, abbreviated when necessary.

Note that questions regarding studio visits, sales, mediums etc. can be found seperately in their own dedicated survey sections.



Jobs / Employment Section

Below are data visualizations for all the survey questions regarding what kinds of jobs artists had. As always, don't hesitate to check out the downloadable raw data if more information on SotA is desired regarding any visualization or question. This includes but is not limited to annual income, job duties, part-time / full-time status etc. All responses pertain to 2019 and questions are generally worded as they were in the survey, abbreviated when necessary.

Note that questions regarding art instructors, studio income etc. can be found seperately in their own dedicated survey sections.

What kinds jobs did you have in 2019? (word cloud)

Below is a word cloud representing what kinds of jobs artists had in 2019. The size of words correlates directly to the number of survey participants that listed a given type of job in their response. In some cases artists wrote in their own custom responses such as "coaching" which are up to the reader to interpret.

Remember that all word clouds are dynamically generated so clouds look slightly different each time you load the page. Occaisionally words may overlap or be cutoff, if this is the case you may reload the page to reset the rendering. This does not effect the data.

As always, don't hesitate to check out the downloadable raw data if more information on SotA is desired regarding any visualization or question.

Schools / Art Programs Section

Below are data visualizations for all the survey questions regarding what schools artists went to or are attending. This includes but is not limited to degrees attained, student loan status etc. All responses pertain to 2019 and questions are generally worded as they were in the survey, abbreviated when necessary.

Note that questions regarding art instructors, cities, neighborhoods etc. can be found seperately in their own dedicated survey sections.

List any past degrees you've completed including the college or university. (word cloud)

Below is a word cloud representing what what schools artists have graduated from and what degrees they attained. The size of words correlates directly to the number of survey participants that listed a given school or degree in their response.

Remember that all word clouds are dynamically generated so clouds look slightly different each time you load the page. Occaisionally words may overlap or be cutoff, if this is the case you may reload the page to reset the rendering. This does not effect the data.

As always, don't hesitate to check out the downloadable raw data if more information on SotA is desired regarding any visualization or question.

If you are currently a student what school do you attend? (word cloud)

Below is a word cloud representing what what schools artists are attending if they are currently students. The size of words correlates directly to the number of survey participants that listed a given school in their response.

Remember that all word clouds are dynamically generated so clouds look slightly different each time you load the page. Occaisionally words may overlap or be cutoff, if this is the case you may reload the page to reset the rendering. This does not effect the data.

Cities / Neighborhoods Section

Below are data visualizations for all the survey questions regarding what cities and neighborhoods artists lived in including but not limited to how much artists paid in rent and what artists valued about where they lived.

Remember that all word clouds are dynamically generated so clouds look slightly different each time you load the page. Occaisionally words may overlap or be cutoff, if this is the case you may reload the page to reset the rendering. This does not effect the data.

What city / neighborhood did you live in during 2019? (word cloud)

What neighborhood and city did you live in at the end of 2016? (word cloud / for comparison)

What are the most important benefits of your current city or neighborhood? (word cloud)

Galleries / Museums Section

Below are data visualizations for all the survey questions regarding galleries and museums in artist's respective regions including but not limited to how often artists visited galleries and museums as well as how many galleries closed and opened.

Note that questions regarding what galleries artists showed with, how artist made sales etc. can be found seperately in their own dedicated survey sections.

Art Instructors Section

Below are data visualizations for all the survey questions specifically for art instructors including but not limited to what schools artists taught at, what their job duties covered etc.

Note that questions regarding what schools artists attended, artist's incomes etc. can be found seperately in their own dedicated survey sections.

What schools did you at teach this past year? (word cloud)

What additional job duties did you perform? (word cloud)

Below is a word cloud representing what job duties aside from teaching art instructors were asked to perform. The size of words correlates directly to the number of survey participants that listed a given job duty in their response.

Closing Thoughts Section

Below are data visualizations for all the survey questions covering but not limited to how artist felt about the survey and the art world in general in 2019.

Note that this is the last section of the survey. Remember that the raw data is available for more detailed information about any section from the survey. If you'd like to contribute ideas on new questions or existing questions for the 2020 survey you can do so by taking the 2019 survey you can do so with link below.



Contribute to the 2020 Survey


Positive Mention Cloud

Are there any individuals, institutions, galleries etc. that you would like to anonymously cite for outstanding service to artists or arts communities this past year?

Below is a word cloud representing individuals and institutions that artists thought deserved special positive mention this year for their behavior, services etc. The size of names correlates directly to the number of survey participants that listed a given institution or individual in their response.

Keep in mind that what specifically warranted positive mention was not covered in this question and is not found in the raw data. This may change in future iterations of the survey.

Negative Mention Cloud

Are there any individuals, institutions, galleries etc. that you would like to anonymously cite for negative or harmful behavior towards artists or arts communities this past year?

Below is a word cloud representing what individuals and institutions that artists thought deserved special negative mention this year for behavior that was harmful, abusive etc. The size of names correlates directly to the number of survey participants that listed a given institution or individual in their response.

Keep in mind that what specifically warranted negative mention was not covered in this question and is not found in the raw data. This may change in future iterations of the survey.

Final Thoughts Cloud

Are there any final thoughts you have regarding the survey or the art world this past year?

Below is a word cloud representing any final thoughts regarding the survey or the art world as a whole this past year. The size of words correlates directly to the number of times it appeared in a participant's responses.

Because this question invited longer responses from participants responses were broken up into individual words rather than full phrases or sentences. This means it is up to the reader to gauge the context and meaning behind the appearance of certain words. Remember that the full responses can be explored in the raw data if more detail is desired.

Welcome to the conclusions section!

What does it all mean? Who can say, the presentation of all this information is specifically intended to not lean towards any particular conclusions so your personal conclusions are as valid as anyone else's.

Thanks for checkin it out!

Site not Working?

If you do not see any data visualizations (graphs, charts etc) appearing in the different survey sections your browser or device may be having a problem loading the D3 data visualization library. This is an external tool for translating data in wide use on millions of modern websites, but it is complex and has problems redering on a very small minority of machines.

If this is the case you can attempt to load the site on another browser or device. Or alternatively you can view the printable PDF version of the survey available to view or download using the link below. This provides a singular version of the survey with all the same visualizations and raw data included on the website. Users are encouraged to download, print and share it with other artists freely.





SotA Survey 2019 PDF

Promotional Merch Section

Below are items made to help promote the survey. Items are priced at the minimal production cost and are not sold for a profit as the survey is developed and maintained through volunteer hours and does not require a traditional budget. Shirts are currently produced through a third party service that allows for minimal pricing and direct shipping.

The shirts feature a word cloud data visualization from the cities section, specifically a representation of the cities and neighborhoods where participating artists resided in 2019. The sizes of names correspond to the number of participating artists that listed a given city or neighborhood in their response.

Black SotA Shirt (white text) / $15





Order Black SotA Shirt / $15