NATIVE ARTS AS AN ECONOMIC ENGINE

The market study Establishing a Creative Economy: Art as an Economic Engine in Native Communities reveals facts, insights and possibilities that have been overlooked and untapped for far too long. Based on market research conducted in Washington, Oregon, Montana and South Dakota, this report makes the case of Native arts as a strong and available economic force in Indian Country. 

The creative production of art and artistic expression are, today, among the most promising ways to expand the market economy in rural and urban Native communities. 

“We, and our partners at Artspace, have seen firsthand the positive impact of Native arts in Indian Country. This report supports the argument that Native art can be used as a robust and sustainable economic driver if artists have access to culturally appropriate financial and business training and affordable capital and markets, and can become part of a professional network.”
— Lori Pourier, President First Peoples Fund
 

In 2011, First Peoples Fund and Artspace partnered with the Northwest Area FoundationColorado State University and Leveraging Investments in Creativity on the American Indian Creative Economy Market Study Project. This survey examined household economics, infrastructure needs and social networks of Native artists to help:

  • Define the role of Native artists within reservation economies.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of support programs currently available for Native artists.
  • Identify challenges faced by Native artists and opportunities to better support them.
 

ART IS DEEPLY ROOTED IN NATIVE COMMUNITIES

  • An estimated 30 percent of all Native peoples are practicing or potential artists and most live below the poverty line.

  • 51 percent of Native households on Pine Ridge Reservation depend on home-based enterprises for cash income.

  • 79 percent of those home-based enterprises on Pine Ridge Reservation consist of some form of traditional arts.

DIRECT SUPPORT FOR NATIVE ARTIST EFFECTIVELY INCREASES THEIR ECONOMIC SUCCESS

  • 61 percent of emerging artists report household incomes of less than $10,000.

  • 7.5 percent of First Peoples Fund artists report household incomes of less than $10,000.