ABOUT CREATIVES COUNT & THE REPORT
A STUDY OF THE ST. LOUIS REGION’S CREATIVES
Creatives Count is a research study of the St. Louis region’s creatives led by the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis (RAC). WolfBrown, an arts research and consulting firm, conducted the research for the study. Creatives Count was informed by the first iteration of the study, Artists Count (2013), as well as RAC’s strategic vision for St. Louis as a place where every resident has the freedom, resources, and opportunities to enjoy a full creative life. RAC will use findings from Creatives Count to plan its artist grants, programs and services until the next study is produced in 2028.
The study conducted survey and qualitative research to learn about the creative practices; goals; employment, income, and award funding; resources and barriers; and community engagement of the region’s creatives. RAC intentionally engaged the creative community in the study, especially creatives of color who have been underrepresented in RAC’s past research.
Over 1,500 creatives in the St. Louis region completed the survey from June to August of 2023. The survey was open to those 18 or older who were creatively involved in the production or presentation of creative cultural products, including music, fine or folk arts, creative writing, fashion, film/ media, social practice, makers, and other creative works, whether for financial gain or personal satisfaction. Additionally, respondents had to be 18 years or older and live in St. Louis City or County or do their creative work or present creative work to the public in St. Louis City or in St. Louis County. The survey was shared with the public both virtually, by email, social media, RAC’s website, and in-person at over 20 events around the region.
In addition to the survey, RAC invited four creatives working in different artistic fields to be part of the qualitative research: Cami Thomas (Film), Brandin Vaughn (Fashion), Mvstermind (Music), and Sheila Suderwalla (Community Arts). These subject-matter experts provided feedback on the study’s approach and findings, recruited their peers to participate in focus groups, promoted survey participation, and more. In total, over 30 regional creatives shared their stories and experiences in a series of online and in-person focus groups.
The Creatives Count report provides an in-depth look at the study’s methodology, who took the survey, survey findings, and implications of key themes. The report also includes some supporting qualitative research and a discussion of the racial inequities reflected in survey findings. The executive summary overviews seven key findings from the study.
CREATIVES COUNT VIDEOS
Two Creatives Count videos were created by Dynamite Candle Studios. The key findings video animates the seven key findings included in the report. Another video documents key themes from qualitative research. In it regional creatives share their experiences and perspectives about funding, opportunities and resources, their creative communities, and more.
DASHBOARDS: EXPLORE SURVEY FINDINGS IN-DEPTH
Explore survey findings in-depth with dashboards that provide analysis and visualizations of all questions included in the Creatives Count survey. Each of the six dashboards covers different topics: creative practice, employment and income, financial stability, resources and supports, community engagement, and demographics of survey respondents.
HOW TO USE THIS DATA
The Creatives Count study will be a critical source of information for governments, businesses, nonprofits, and individuals who want to better understand the creative heart of St. Louis. The findings shared across the report, videos, and dashboards can be used for learning, planning, advocacy, reporting, and many other purposes. Creatives in particular can use the data to gain a deeper understanding of their peers and communities.