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The Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI) was founded in 2001 as a California 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation. Its mission is to promote knowledge sharing, networking, and financial independence for individuals in the arts by providing business training, grants, and incubating innovative projects that create new program knowledge, tools and practices for artists in the field, and conditions that contribute to realizing financial self-determination.
In 2000, a major study was commissioned by 38 funders nationally, resulting in a 2003 benchmark report produced by the Urban Institute in Washington, DC titled Investing in Creativity: A Study of the Support Structure for U.S. Artists. The Urban Institute study showed, and CCI’s field experience has affirmed, that artists have significant needs in multiple domains, including training and professional development, material supports, access to markets, public validation, information, and participation in larger communities and networks. In 2016, capping a two-year national research effort in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts, CCI released an updated report on U.S. artists, Creativity Connects: Trends and Conditions Affecting U.S. Artists, to understand artists’ support systems in a technology-enabled era and to recognize how the very definition of “artist” has been expanding. In response to the report’s findings, CCI has changed in two significant ways:
Over the years, CCI has been a key infrastructure organization in a number of ways and, with these shifts, CCI continues to play an important role in society by:
CCI operates with a vision that by linking the natural creativity and tolerance for risk of artists and creatives of all types to the latest professional practices and tools, new financial resources, and to one another, CCI helps artists and arts workers realize greater financial self-determination, which unfetters their productivity and social impact. In addition, by acting as a cross-sector incubator with an informed point of view, CCI advances efforts to improve conditions for artists and all those who share artists’ conditions of low wages, high debt, and too-few assets.
Knowledge is power. Financial independence begets creative self-determination. Partnerships lead to solutions. This is the Center for Cultural Innovation.