Unfettering Artists' Productivity and Impact



Welcome to the Sol Center for Liberated Work (formerly Rustle Lab), where we collaborate with friends across diverse communities to radically reimagine work and social protections for all. We are in the early days of building our path, which will, over time, be informed, influenced and surely improved by others. 

Still, a few things are already clear. 

First, we are committed to making sure all means ALL, by building social protections that cover all workers, regardless of their employment status. Your job should not determine your safety net. Full stop.

Second, we are committed to building a multi-racial, multi-sectoral effort that centers and solves for those historically harmed by and excluded from existing systems of support, beginning with BIPOC, disabled, and immigrant workers from across sectors. This requires us to find and work with established, long-time movement organizations, nonprofits, and those new collectives and institutions that seek to build and enact alternative systems.

Finally, we are committed to advancing solutions that shift power to workers and their communities, trusting that folks experiencing challenges actually know how to solve them, given the resources and authority to do so. We know that people of color, in particular, depend on the economic capacity of their communities in order to be relevant, representative, and sustainable, and to enact and express their meaningful cultural identities.

This trio of commitments are the compass by which we hope to ensure that this work is fully aligned to the needs of the people that CCI serves, and supports its greater mission of helping preserve their ability as individuals and communities to create and reap the benefits of social and economic thriving. 

We are beginning by doing deep, engaged listening with those in our core constituency of arts workers, as well as folks from other sectors–domestic workers, app workers, and farm workers, for example–who share the precarious working conditions we aim to overcome.

We will share what we learn along the way, amplify the hard-work of others in this space, build power alongside these groups, and help direct resources and support behind good ideas to deliver social and economic protections for all.

As a program of CCI, The Sol Center for Liberated Work builds on CCI’s strong track record of issuing critical research in the arts sectors, reports such as Arts Workers in California (2021) and Creativity Connects (2016). We also build upon and learn from CCI’s AmbitioUS initiative, a strategic, time-limited investment and incubation program aimed at increasing economic self-determination for BIPOC cultural communities and its artists. 

Though CCI is rooted in the arts and the needs of art workers, we see a greater, urgent, opportunity to extend our concern, and our engagement, beyond that root in ways that will ultimately enhance and elevate the economic livelihoods of all workers. In this, we hope to bring the voice of creative workers–a group that popularized the notion of ‘gig work–to the table, in support of larger efforts to build power and protections for independent workers.


  • In October 2022, we co-hosted a convening, alongside the Freelancers Union and Center for American Progress, on Paid Medical and Family Leave for the Self-Employed. Supporting paper to be published in 2023. 
  • In December 2022, we submitted comments to the Department of Labor’s proposed rule on Independent Contractor Classification, arguing that all workers, regardless of employment status, deserve minimum wage and hour protections
  • In December 2022, we co-hosted a gathering with the Urban Institute, convening worker leaders and organizers who represent nontraditional workers to collectively reimagine a social safety net that works for all.
  • In January 2023, we joined the NFT and Intellectual Property Roundtable, hosted by the US Copyright Office and Patent and Trademark Office, to share opportunities to expand artist ownership rights and protections on the block chain.


Each project spearheaded by Sol Center will have an arc of activities and partnerships stretching far beyond conventional research and advocacy work:

  • Commissioning and producing new empirically based knowledge that allows the public to understand how proposed solutions might work in real world conditions.
  • Identifying, working with, and supporting vision- and values-aligned allies, research centers, policymakers, and movement organizers in systemic change.
  • Participating in non-arts venues where “the arts” often has not been invited to a seat at the table with others working on shared social, economic, legal, and labor issues.
  • Funding with grant support or investments promising entities that offer solutions such as new infrastructure, service providers, and technologies that would allow art and culture workers with mechanisms they need to access capital and assets as well as increased collective power.

As the depth of our research grows, we plan to create a separate 501(c)4 entity that will utilize our research to more aggressively advocate for local and national issues that hold promise of systemic change. 

Previous CCI-commissioned & supported research is available here.


Interested in getting involved or staying up-to-date with this line of work? 



Rustle Lab Press Release 


Rustle Lab went from being a dream to a reality with foundational support from: