2021 Houston-Region Artist Survey

Thank you to all of the artists and participating organizations who helped us complete the 2021 Houston-Region Artist Survey!

You Can Download the Results From Here

The results begin with a summary that provides a bit of context, with the recognition that there are MANY layers of meaning to these particular questions, answers, and respondents. For this reason, it concludes with follow-up questions and a brief list of sources and further readings.

Disclaimer: None of us are professional social scientists. We have, however, provided sources from people who are.


Why did you conduct this survey anyway?

For the past 20 years, Fresh Arts has worked to nurture an ecosystem designed to position artists for success with programs that help artists build knowledge, share resources, and cultivate audiences. In light of the changes in the arts community over the past two decades and especially the past year and a half, we wanted to gather Houston-area artists to assess the evolving needs of their professional creative careers as well as the socio-economic factors that affect their quality of life (such as access to housing, healthcare, etc.). How can the Houston arts sector better support artists in the next 20 years? How do we ensure that our community is one in which artists and culture bearers not just survive, but thrive?

Fresh Arts exists to serve artists. We saw this survey as a chance for artists to tell us what they need so that we, along with partner organizations, can be better advocates for artists and help spark positive change in the Houston-area arts sector.

Why so many demographic questions?

Our programs are designed with the goal of reflecting the diversity of the local community and reaching a balanced cross-section of artists from multiple disciplines, backgrounds, and ethnicities. We want to be inclusive so that all kinds of artists have an opportunity to communicate their needs and access resources. Demographic questions help us determine if we are meeting that goal. Fresh Arts and partner arts organizations are also supported by several grants and foundations that require us to answer these questions about our audience.

How did you come up with these questions?

Fresh Arts developed these questions along with the help of an artist advisory committee whose seven members come from different disciplines in the visual, performing, and literary arts. Committee members were: Julia Barbosa Landois, Liyen Chong, ShaWanna Renee Goffney, Yu-Ru Huang, Reyes Ramirez, Yvonne Smith, and Monica Villarreal. Further suggestions were made by Fresh Arts staff and consultant Erin McClarty. Some of the questions were informed by surveys from one of Fresh Arts’ most successful programs, Artist INC, developed by Mid-America Arts Alliance.

How will Fresh Arts use the data gathered?

Responses were anonymous and all personal information obtained is kept confidential. Respondents were offered the option of providing their email address to be entered into a random drawing for a gift card from a Houston restaurant or coffee shop. The email was used only for the drawing and to send them the overall survey results. Survey results and a summary report were made available to all participants, arts organizations, grant-makers, and the community at large. Fresh Arts will use the data to measure the effectiveness of our programs and services, guide program development to better serve our audience, communicate impact and needs to funders and representatives, and allow us to set and pursue goals around diversity, equity, inclusion, and access.