CAA News Today

The Center for Curatorial Leadership is conducting a research project that seeks basic information on the educational and career choices made by art historians working in the United States who enter the museum and academic professions.

While sometimes regarded as “the two art histories,” museum and academic careers share a common starting point in college and graduate studies. In order to understand how the Center for Curatorial Leadership might mentor young art historians and form bonds between disciplines more effectively, it has assembled a brief survey. Comments and any suggestions are welcome as well.

The survey should take approximately ten minutes to complete. Deadline: Monday, April 19, 2010.

Despite the humanities playing a core role in higher education with strong student interest, four-year colleges and universities are increasingly relying on a part-time, untenured workforce to meet the demand. These facts, common knowledge to many professors, have been confirmed in the recently released results of the Humanities Departmental Survey, conducted by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a consortium of disciplinary associations, including CAA.

The survey includes data collected from departments of art history, English, foreign languages, history, the history of science, linguistics, and religion at approximately 1,400 colleges and universities. It is the first comprehensive survey to provide general cross-disciplinary data on humanities departments. The results are available on the academy’s Humanities Resource Center Online.

According to the Humanities Departmental Survey:

  • Across the humanities, but especially in English and combined English and foreign-language departments, professors at four-year colleges and universities are evolving into a part-time workforce. During the 2006–7 academic year, only 38 percent of faculty members in these departments were tenured. English departments had the greatest proportion of non-tenure-track faculty (49 percent)
  • When minors are included, undergraduate participation in humanities programs is about 82 percent greater than counting majors alone would suggest. For the 2006–7 academic year, 122,100 students completed bachelor’s degrees and 100,310 completed minor degrees in the three largest humanities disciplines: English, foreign languages, and history
  • Reflecting the demands of a global economy, student interest in foreign language is strong: during the 2006–7 academic year, foreign-language departments awarded 28,710 baccalaureate degrees and had the largest number of students completing minors (51,670). Yet investment in a stable professoriate to teach and study foreign languages and literatures appears to be declining, with a significant reduction in recruitment of full-time faculty members (39 percent fewer recruitments for full-time positions in 2008–9 than hires for 2007–8) and fewer total graduate students than faculty members, the only surveyed discipline for which this was the case
  • Turnover rates among humanities faculty were low—only 2.5 percent of humanities faculty left the profession through departure, retirement, or death during the two academic years preceding the survey. Combined with recently instituted hiring freezes on many campuses, career opportunities for the next generation of scholars (there were approximately 84,000 graduate students in the surveyed fields during the 2006–7 academic year) are limited
  • Approximately 87 percent of humanities departments reported that their subject was part of the core distribution requirements at their institution

The survey results provide a snapshot of US humanities departments at the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century. The survey covers a broad range of topics, including numbers of departments and faculty members, faculty distributions by discipline, courses taught, tenure activity, undergraduate majors and minors, and graduate students. The data provide new information about each of the disciplines; they also allow comparisons across disciplines. These data are especially important because the US Department of Education has indefinitely suspended the only nationally representative survey providing information about humanities faculty, the National Study of Postsecondary Faculty.

Several national learned societies collaborated with the American Academy of Arts and Sciences to develop, field, and interpret data gathered by the Humanities Departmental Survey: the American Academy of Religion; the American Historical Association; the College Art Association; the History of Science Society; the Linguistic Society of America; and the Modern Language Association. The American Council of Learned Societies and the American Political Science Association also provided important assistance. The survey was administered by the Statistical Research Center of the American Institute of Physics, which also performed the basic data analysis.

Even though the humanities disciplines represent an essential core of the liberal-arts curriculum, they have long been data deprived. The empirical data now available in the survey, along with the rich collection of information already found in the Humanities Indicators, begin to fill that gap and to establish baselines that will allow stakeholders to track trends in the future. The academy hopes that the Humanities Departmental Survey can be expanded to include additional disciplines and updated regularly, producing trend data that could be incorporated into the Humanities Indicators.

Launched in 2009, Humanities Indicators include data covering humanities education from primary school through the graduate level; the humanities workforce; humanities funding and research; and the humanities in civic life. Modeled after the National Science Board’s Science and Engineering Indicators, the Humanities Indicators serve as a resource to help scholars, policymakers, and the public assess the current state of the humanities. The academy continues to update and expand the Humanities Indicators.

The academy looks forward to working with the National Endowment for the Humanities to advance this critical work. The Teagle Foundation provided support for the Humanities Departmental Survey project, and grants from the William and Flora Hewlett, Andrew W. Mellon, and Rockefeller Foundations have advanced the academy’s overall humanities data initiative.

Those who wish to receive announcements of new data and research on the humanities can subscribe to an email alert system at the Humanities Resource Center Online.


The American Academy of Arts and Sciences has posted PDFs of two response papers, from David Laurence and Robert Townsend, on its website for download.

For journalistic analyses of the project, please read Scott Jaschik’s “State of Humanities Departments” at Inside Higher Ed and Jennifer Howard’s “Humanities Remain Popular Among Students Even as Tenure-Track Jobs Diminish” at the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Joan Shigekawa, senior deputy chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), convened a roundtable discussion yesterday with national arts service organizations, regional arts organizations, and NEA staff to discuss the NEA’s 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, the nation’s largest and most representative study of adults’ arts participation habits.

Representatives from forty organizations participated, including Linda Downs, CAA executive director, as well as leaders from the Association of Art Museum Directors, Dance/USA, the Future of Music Coalition, the National Association of Latino Art and Culture, the National Center for Creativity in Aging, the National Network for Folk Arts in Education, and the New England Foundation for the Arts.

The convening began with a greeting from NEA chairman Rocco Landesman, followed by a summary presentation of the survey’s findings from Sunil Iyengar, NEA director of research. Representatives from three organizations offered formal responses—Helen De Michiel from the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture, Carlton Turner from Alternate ROOTS, and Jesse Rosen from the League of American Orchestras—following which Shigekawa led a frank, freewheeling conversation about how these findings should inform the arts community’s work going forward, as well as how the survey should be expanded and refined in the future.

“It is important that the National Endowment for the Arts have regular conversation with the arts community about how the public participates in the arts, and what we can do to connect more Americans with more art, more often,” said Shigekawa. “Our research shows a strong connection between arts participation and civic participation, but art only works when the public participates. Today was a chance for the NEA staff to hear and learn from the service organizations that work with our country’s arts organizations, and we look forward to many more such opportunities.”

The 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, which was conducted in partnership with the US Census Bureau, asked more than 18,000 people 18 years of age and older about their frequency of arts engagement. CAA reported on the findings of the survey, which has been conducted five times since 1982, in June. Here are a few more statistics about American participation in the arts:

  • Generation Y reports taking fewer arts classes and lessons. When people ages 18 to 24 were asked if they had taken an art class or lesson at some point in their lives, they reported lower rates of participation than previous generations for all art forms compared in this study (by 6 to 23 percentage points, depending on the art form, from 1982 to 2008)
  • Arts participation correlates with higher civic participation. People who participate in the arts are two to three times as likely to engage in positive civic and individual activities—such as volunteering, attending sporting events, and participating in outdoor activities—than nonarts participants
  • New England and Pacific region residents had some of the highest rates of attendance (42 percent of adults in each region) for the arts activities traditionally measured in the survey. In addition, the Plains states of Kansas and Nebraska have some of the highest participation rates for personal performance or creation of art nationwide. Twenty percent of adults in Kansas said they played a musical instrument. In Nebraska, that rate was nearly 18 percent. (Nationwide, 13 percent—or 29 million Americans—reported playing a musical instrument.)

A related research note on arts participation measured in regions and states will be released soon. The NEA will release additional topic-specific reports on the roles of age, race and ethnicity, arts learning, media use, and arts creation and performance. The survey, geographic research note, questionnaire, raw data, and user’s guide are available on the NEA website.

A recent study on artists and their materials has been published by the International Art Materials Trade Association (known as NAMTA) and American Artist magazine, in conjunction with Hart Business Research. Based on a spring 2009 survey of artists, students, and the retailers and suppliers of art materials, “Artists & Art Materials USA 2009” is the first report published in over a decade that analyzes industry size and trends, business practices, and artist needs.

The most groundbreaking finds published in this report include an increased use of mixed media and digital media, the importance of arts education for both children and practicing artists, and the continued use of magazines and books as a primary source of learning. The results of the survey show that artists are purchasing larger amounts of “nontraditional” art materials such as fabrics, glass, and beads, using more digital products, and incorporating scavenged materials. In 2008, the percentage of artists spending for nontraditional art supplies was almost equal to that for paints.

Unsurprisingly, the study found that artists are increasingly using computers either to create digital art or to assist them in producing nondigital art. However, many artists favor printed materials such as art magazines to their website counterparts as a source for education. Eighty-seven percent of survey participants said they read art-related magazines, making these publications the top source for learning, followed closely by books. Early exposure to art is crucial: well over half of the professional artists who participated in the survey responded that art was a major part of their lives by age 12. The report urges for the support of elementary school art teachers in order to expose children to art at a young age.

The 4.4 million active artists in the United States—professionals, students, and hobbyists—are spending over $4 billion per year on art materials and services. While 28 percent of artists buy their supplies online, almost twice as much shopping (54 percent) occurs at brick-and-mortar businesses. Also, while stores are meeting artists’ need for drawing and painting supplies, an increasing number of practitioners are spending more for classes and workshops, an area underserved by retailers and suppliers.

A free download of the eight-page executive summary is available from NAMTA.

The creators of the Artists and the Economic Recession Survey invite artists to share their experiences with the conditions they face in the current economic climate. The online survey, which is live through September 4, 2009, is conducted by Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC), a ten-year national initiative to improve conditions for artists, and supervised by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. Completing the survey takes about fifteen minutes, and all responses are anonymous.

LINC has been working with organizations around the country to distribute the survey in order to reach the widest range of artist voices possible, especially those who may not be part of formal organizational networks like CAA. Reaching as many artists as possible improves the quality of this important research and better equips everyone who advocates for artists and the arts.

In addition to completing it yourself, the organizers request that you forward the survey, which is offered in English and Spanish, to your friends and colleagues. LINC has created a simple widget that you can post on your website, newsletter, Facebook page, or blog to let others know about the survey. Each week the image will update automatically to reflect a new statistic from responses to the survey. You won’t have to worry about making changes on your end: the image will remain the same and the text at the top will be updated automatically.

Your participation is completely voluntary. If you have any questions about this survey, please contact

Filed under: Research, Surveys

2009 Member Survey Results

posted by July 16, 2009

As part of information-gathering pursuant to the preparation of CAA’s 2010–2015 Strategic Plan, a 2009 member survey was developed, coordinated, and carried out by a team under the leadership of Elizabeth Knapp, vice president in the Research Division of the marketing firm Leo Burnett Worldwide, to determine member preferences, awareness of CAA publications and programs, and motivations for joining and renewing membership.

In total, 1,451 CAA members responded to the online survey, a response rate of 11 percent (which is within an acceptable range for statistical analysis). The final sample was then weighted to accurately reflect the total CAA membership based on membership type. The results are an enlightening view into CAA members’ views and opinions, revealing important strengths but also giving direction to how the organization can use the next strategic plan to improve its programs and services.

Demographically speaking, CAA members are more likely to be female (70 percent), within the age range of 35–49 (34 percent), Caucasian (87 percent), and in academic settings (73 percent), and to have ten years or more of professional experience (48 percent).

The top three reasons individuals gave for joining CAA and renewing their memberships were for job postings (69 percent), networking (54 percent), and debate in the visual arts (50 percent).

CAA is perceived as most relevant to art historians (78 percent agree). From artist members, enthusiasm for ARTspace at the Annual Conference was one of the higher-ranking areas of interest (61 percent). CAA is viewed as a well-known organization among peers (75 percent agree) and a well-run organization (51 percent agree). Members who responded to the question about CAA’s roles believe the most important are advocacy for artists, art historians, and university art museums (24 percent), a conference provider (21 percent), and a leader of creative and intellectual discourse (17 percent). The most common contact points between members and CAA are through publications and emails. The Art Bulletin has the strongest reputation among members (64 percent). The most used features of the CAA website are membership renewal (76 percent), conference registration (70 percent), and CAA News (60 percent). At least half the members also visit the CAA website regularly. A near majority of members (45 percent) have interest in social networking through CAA.

The CAA Annual Conference is perceived as important for networking (68 percent) and career development (62 percent), an opportunity for intellectual exchange about the visual arts (58 percent), and relevant to professional development (53 percent). At the conference, members mostly likely attend sessions (76 percent), the Book and Trade Fair (65 percent), and, as noted above, ARTspace (61 percent). The most popular conference topics are criticism and theory (33 percent) and contemporary art history (31 percent).

The most popular publication topics for the future are curriculum development for teaching studio and art-history courses; legal and copyright issues in publishing; career-development strategies; and standards and guidelines in the visual arts in academia. Members agree that digital publications are valuable because they can be searched online (76 percent), are environmentally friendly (71 percent), can expand readership and distribution (59 percent), and can include dynamic content (56 percent). Members are undecided on the future of digital publications, but 49 percent of respondents do not favor online, non–peer reviewed publications.

CAA continues to advocate on issues of importance to members and to the visual arts. Among these, members feel that full-time vs. adjunct status is most important (50 percent), followed by intellectual-property issues (38 percent) and salary equity (39 percent).

In efforts to increase its visibility and recognition for the programs and services it provides, CAA is eager to know how members react to or view its name. While some members felt that the name “College Art Association” or “CAA” is not descriptive of what the organization does, or that it does not fit the mission, 65 percent believe that the name is understood in the field of visual arts. Name recognition and identity will be assessed as part of CAA’s communications activities in the strategic plan.

Other directions gathered from this survey that will be addressed in the strategic plan are to: 1) increase programming and publications for artists; 2) attract more young professionals; 3) increase the diversity of members; 4) increase career-development sessions at the conference; 5) increase interactive communications; 6) develop practical peer-reviewed publications; and 7) continue working on advocacy issues, particularly related to adjunct faculty.

CAA thanks its members for participating in this recent survey. Comments and responses have been extremely helpful and are being used to guide changes and improvements in the organization’s services.

American audiences for the arts are getting older and their numbers are declining, according to new research released yesterday by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Arts Participation 2008: Highlights from a National Survey, which can be ordered or downloaded from the NEA website, features top findings from the 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, the nation’s largest and most representative periodic study of adult participation in arts events and activities, conducted by the NEA in partnership with the US Census Bureau.

Five times since 1982, the survey has asked US adults eighteen and older about their patterns of arts participation over a twelve-month period. The 2008 survey reveals dwindling audiences for many art forms, but it also captures new data on internet use and other forms of arts participation. Although the 2008 recession likely affected survey responses, long-term trend analysis indicates that other factors also may have contributed to lower arts participation rates.

There are persistent patterns of decline in participation for most art forms. Although nearly 35 percent of US adults—an estimated 78 million—attended an art museum or an arts performance in the 2008 survey period, the figure is a decline from 40 percent reported in 1982, 1992, and 2002.

Attendance at the most popular types of arts events—such as art museums and craft or visual-arts festivals—saw notable declines. The US rate of attendance for art museums fell slightly from a high of 26 percent in 1992–2002 to 23 percent in 2008, comparable to the 1982 level.

Further, fewer adults are creating and performing art. Weaving and sewing remain popular as crafts, but the percentage of adults who do those activities has declined by 12 points. Only the number of adults doing photography has increased—from 12 percent in 1992 to 15 percent in 2008.

Historically the most dependable arts participants, forty-five to fifty-four-year-olds, showed the steepest declines in attendance for most art events, compared with other age groups. Educated Americans—the most likely to attend or participate in the arts—are doing so less than before, and less-educated adults have significantly reduced their already low levels of attendance.

In a positive trend, the internet and mass media are reaching substantial audiences for the arts. Consider these findings:

  • About 70 percent of US adults went online for any purpose in 2008 survey, and of those adults, nearly 40 percent used the web to view, listen to, download, or post artworks or performances
  • Thirty percent of internet-using adults download, watch, or listen to music, theater, or dance performances online at least once a week. More than 20 percent of them view paintings, sculpture, or photography at least once a week
  • More Americans view or listen to broadcasts and recordings of arts events than attend them live (live theater being the sole exception). Classical and Latin or salsa music were the most popular music categories (with 40 and 33.5 million viewers/listeners, respectively), and 33.7 million adults reported listening to, or viewing programs or recordings about books and writers. The same number (33.7 million) enjoyed broadcasts or recordings about the visual arts.

The entire survey questionnaire, the raw data, and a user’s guide are available both on the NEA website and from Princeton University’s Cultural Policy and the Arts National Data Archive (CPANDA). More detailed study results will be available later this year.

The International Art Materials Trade Association (NAMTA) and American Artist magazine have begun a new industry study and are asking all artists and users of art supplies in the United States to contribute by completing an online survey.

About the Survey

The consumer survey is the first phase of a larger study, entitled “Artists & Art Materials USA 2009,” which will also consist of surveys of art-supply retailers and art-materials suppliers. In the study’s second phase, Hart Business Research will analyze this survey data plus government statistics and company financial reports to build a comprehensive picture of artists’ evolving activities. The report will be announced in fall 2009, accompanied by an executive summary that will be made available to all survey participants.

As the first large-scale survey of industry size and trends, business best practices, and artists’ needs and preferences in more than a decade, “Artists & Art Materials USA 2009” is independently researched and written by Hart Business Research and cosponsored by NAMTA, an organization of more than 550 professional art-materials businesses, and American Artist, a primary resource for artists since 1937.

How to Participate

The consumer survey is open to artists working in all areas, including oil and acrylic paintings; watercolors; pastels; pencil, ink, or marker drawings; mixed media or collage; murals or wall art; handmade books, cards, or scrapbooks; functional art; three-dimensional art; conceptual or installation art; communication art or graphic design; digital art; quilting arts; fiber arts; and more.

Survey participants are eligible to win one of five $100 gift certificates to an art-materials store. Participants must register to receive the executive summary and to enter the sweepstakes by clicking on the link on the thank-you page after submitting their completed survey. The sweepstakes and executive summary sign-up is separate from the survey to keep the survey anonymous. All survey responses are anonymous and confidential to Hart Business Research and will only be reported as part of totals or averages.

NAMTA is also donating $1 for every completed survey (for the first 2,000 completed) to visual-arts scholarships through the NAMTA Foundation for the Visual Arts.

The Samuel H. Kress Foundation is assembling a contact database for all current and former Kress fellows in art history, art conservation, historic preservation, and related fields. The main purpose of this database is purely administrative, and the foundation’s intention is to keep all supplied contact information confidential.

Having said that, the Kress also understands that it would be helpful to the community of its fellows to communicate with each other for a variety of professional purposes, ranging from developing mentoring relationships to identifying colleagues with similar professional interests to simply comparing notes on fellowship experiences.

The foundation is therefore considering reserving a section of its new website for a password-restricted directory of current and former Kress fellows, to which only those fellows would have access.

The Kress invites all former and current fellows to complete a brief survey registering their willingness to supply contact information for a confidential directory, their interest in extending access for such a directory to other Kress fellows, and the value they would derive from having access to such a directory. The survey should take no more than five minutes to complete.

Questions? Please send an email to

Filed under: Grants and Fellowships, Surveys — Tags:

Salary Data on Art-History Majors

posted by December 12, 2008

From the Art History Newsletter:

In the Wall Street Journal, we read that according to “a year-long survey of 1.2 million people with only a bachelor’s degree by PayScale Inc.,” art-history majors have a median starting salary of $35,800. Ten years after graduation, their median salary is $64,900. In that respect, they beat majors in anthropology, biology, criminal justice, drama, education, English, forestry, graphic design, health care administration, hospitality, interior design, music, nutrition, psychology, religion, sociology, and Spanish. That said, philosophy majors are earning a median $81,200 ten years out.

Filed under: Education, Surveys, Workforce