The Retention of Chicago's Arts Students in Comparative Perspective

May, 2014


  • 58 percent of Chicago arts-school alumni took up residence in the city within 5 years of the date of their last attendance. Of the regions compared in this report, only New York City has a greater portion of its arts-school alumni taking up residence in the city within 5 years, at 66 percent.
  • 51 percent of Chicago arts-school alumni were out-of-state applicants who came to Chicago and were still living in the city within five years of their last date of attendance. This is the second highest portion of out-of-state applicants taking up residence in the city of their alma mater. New York City's rate was highest at 54 percent.
  • Of arts-school alumni who searched for work, 38 percent of those attending school in Chicago obtained work prior to leaving their institution; 85 percent obtained work within a year. Alumni from other regions had similar experiences.
  • 50 percent of Chicago's alumni reported that their first job or work experience was "closely related" to their arts-school training. However, alumni from institutions in Los Angeles County, Cleveland/Columbus and New York City reported higher rates of their first work experience being closely related to their arts training.

Supported in part by Arts Alliance Illinois and The Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust. Thanks to the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project.

Press coverage

SNAAP DataBrief: Spotlight on: Retention of Arts Alumni in Metro Areas

Download the Report