Is any city effective in retaining and employing its arts students, thus cultivating its future creative workforce? To inform this question, this brief examines the extent to which arts alumni remain in Chicago, whether attending school in Chicago helped keep them in the area, and where they live now. Additionally, we look at first work experiences, current employment, and the extent to which arts alumni feel their arts-training relates to both.
This study measures the creative industries and workers of Chicago and eight peer cities. It is meant to provide an objective benchmark for Chicago as it undertakes the goals articulated in the Chicago Cultural Plan 2012 of attracting and retaining creative professionals and measuring the size and strength of the cultural sector.
As arts funders and advocates struggle to make connections between arts programs, businesses and the civic agenda, we still suffer for lack of a clearer vision of what a creative community looks like. In his remarks, Alan Brown will offer a potential model for building “creative capital” in cities and communities across the U.S.