by Larissa Lozano
Based on statistical analysis and survey data, Gregory Wolniak, associate professor at the McBee Institute of Higher Education, and Amy Whitaker, assistant professor of visual art representation at NYU Steinhardt, found “presence of systemic bias” in art professions. They write, “When compared to alumni who identify as White, all other racial/ethnic groups showed some degree of disadvantage."
Beyond documenting the existence of bias, Wolniak and Whitaker’s co-authored study for the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) titled “Socioeconomic & Racial/Ethnic Exclusion in the Arts” seeks to identify and explore the relationships between factors contributing to the lack of diversity among art professionals. To better understand the observed "attrition affect" and "privilege effect," they explored the deeply intersectionality of multiple factors such as economic status, education and professional experience, ethnicity/race, gender, and social class.
Their paper not only highlight racial disparities among art professionals but also offers a solution for currently underrepresented art students to be successful in art-related careers: entrepreneurial thinking.
“The training of artists as entrepreneurs not only allows more people to participate in sustainable careers in the arts but can serve as a means of democratizing access to creative educational experiences across the curriculum,” Wolniak and Whitaker advise.
Access the full article on the SNAAP website.