Reviewed August 2016
Virginia Roberts, Director
Rhinelander District Library
Creativz describes itself as a project and invites artists to add their voice to what “artists in the United States need to sustain and strengthen their careers.” The “about” section of the site elaborates on this, suggesting it is “not a summary of research findings, but rather an integral part of the research process itself. The goal is to make the research transparent, include a broad range of people and perspectives in the process and hear from as many artists and artist support providers as possible.” Creativz research is sponsored in partnership with Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Additional support comes from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Surdna Foundation. A report summarizing the findings will be available soon.
Articles by writers of varying backgrounds are posted on the site and include space for comments and interaction. There are also images and ideas curated through social media with #creativz. Clean lines and a single image on the front page greet users. A responsive design means the site loaded well onto computers and a variety of mobile devices. The topics are well laid out, clear, and for a website with a blog vibe—the writing is remarkably even and has the feel of an old school academic journal. It is clear many of the writers have had their work edited. Sarah A. Howes, the author of “Artists, the Original Gig Economy Workers, Have More Rights Than They Think,” states she had her article professionally edited “and it was worth every penny.” The contributors truly want to assist and support their fellow artists and art venues in becoming successful in a world where, it seems, everyone has the possibility of creating works of art.
Topics naturally focus on arts and technology: how to protect one’s art from technological theft, how to sustain one’s art in this or any economy, and how to run one’s business well. Twitter and Facebook take this project a step further by posting articles from National Endowment for the Arts and financial aspects of the housing and student debt crisis as well as links to newly added articles. Creativz is also available on Disqus for a greater publication reach. This website is suitable for academic and professional citation.
This site is not limited to the visual arts. There is an article on crowd funding artistic endeavors that mentions a variety a variety of resources, and includes a “heatmap” of crowd funding across the United States related to the arts: visual, musical, theatrical, and written. Authors contributing to the site, have a variety of experiences and backgrounds. This includes contributors who are not directly involved in the arts and authors who are well-spoken artists and arts advocates who have much to add to the conversation regarding artistic entrepreneurship, artists’ spaces, and the arts economy, as well as legal information.
The comment section of the articles is a flurry of activity; however there is little commentary itself on the Facebook page or response to the Twitter feed. Perhaps this is because the Creativz itself is so new—and needs time to gather a following. Creativz asks for email addresses on its homepage, so email notifications may be available.
Because Creativz is part of the research and not simply a presentation of it, current information on the arts for artists and supporting communities and aspects of technology and real-world applications is an ongoing dialogue with those it hopes to engage. This resource may be particularly useful for creative individuals, entrepreneurs and innovative business people who are interested in the economic realities involved in being or supporting the arts and all creative ventures.