Looking Back, Looking Forward: Arts-Based Careers and Creative Work

Elizabeth L. Lingo, Steven J. Tepper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

141 Scopus citations


The last two decades of research and policy discussion have illuminated important changes in both the opportunities and challenges facing artists and artistic workers as they pursue their careers and advance their artistry. The authors argue that artists need to be masters of navigating across historically disparate domains, for example, specialization and generalist skills, autonomy and social engagement, the economy's periphery and the core, precarious employment and self-directed entrepreneurialism, and large metro centers and regional art markets. In addition, artists both work beyond existing markets and create entirely new opportunities for themselves and others. As catalysts of change and innovation, artistic workers face special challenges managing ambiguity, developing and sustaining a creative identity, and forming community in the context of an individually based enterprise economy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-363
Number of pages27
JournalWork and Occupations
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • artistic labor markets
  • artists
  • creative workers
  • cultural industries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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