Author: National Endowment for the Arts’ Office of Research & Analysis
Publication Year: 2021
Media Type: Report
This report is the result of a two-year research initiative exploring the multifaceted creative practices of artists who engage with digital technologies. The research examines the creative infrastructure supporting tech-focused artistic practices and provides insight into the existing challenges and opportunities faced by artists and organizations working at the intersection of arts and technology. Tech as Art is part of an Arts & Technology Field Scan conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Ford Foundation and the Knight Foundation
This report, Tech as Art: Supporting Artists Who Use Technology as a Creative Medium, presents findings from a field scan commissioned in 2019 by the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Ford Foundation and the Knight Foundation. The purpose of the scan was to more fully understand how artists are incorporating digital technologies in their creative work and to learn more about the current and prospective sources of support for these artistic practices. Funders reading the report then can make smarter decisions on how to enhance support for this field. The research is grounded in literature reviews, interviews, and group discussions with artists and practitioners across the United States.
The report shares detailed findings; identifies challenges; and ends with recommendations for different stakeholder groups, including funders, arts practitioners, policymakers, and educators.
There are five main findings:
- Code, computation, data, and tool-building are fundamental to technology-centered (“tech- centered”) artistic practice.
- Because the field is so diverse and dynamic, it has eluded easy labels. As a result, more traditional arts organizations and funders often have trouble finding entry points to engage with it.
- Tech-centered artists have managed successfully to establish peer organizations, regional hubs, exhibition spaces, festivals, information networks, and academic departments across the United States.
- Career pathways for tech-centered artists are highly varied, though as a group these workers encounter many of the same obstacles as artists in general.
- Tech-centered artists are admirably poised to grapple with larger societal and sectoral challenges—whether engaging with audiences during the COVID-19 pandemic or responding to calls for greater equity and inclusion in the arts and technology fields. They can be invaluable partners for policymakers, educators, and practitioners in arts and non-arts sectors alike.
Categories: Technology and Innovation