Strategic National Arts Alumni Project Survey

SNAAP Shot 2012
SNAAP Shot 2012

I just took the SNAAP (Strategic National Arts Alumni Project) 2013 Survey, which is interesting as I’ve recently had a conversation about The Julliard Effect and thought it might be very interesting to see a broader overview of how folks who have had arts training fare later in life.  The SNAAP survey gives such a picture, though not for individual institutions (maybe there’s a link where that is broken down, but I haven’t searched for it).  Here’s the email blurb I got.

The number of new arts graduates in the United States has been increasing exponentially, with more than 1.5 million arts degrees awarded in the past fifteen years. In an economy and a society that are increasingly dependent on creative activity, we know very little about how well arts graduates are matched for the challenges and opportunities they face. You can help change that.

It’s time to share your experience and see how it compares.

DePauw University is partnering with the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP), a first of its kind research initiative to study the lives and careers of arts graduates, whether they stayed in the arts or pursued a different direction. SNAAP is a project of the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research and the Vanderbilt University Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy.

The screenshot is for the survey I just took which asked questions relative to the 2012 year is from the hosting institution’s (Indiana University) webpage here.  I found it curious that the median income of those with a Bachelors in Architecture was actually higher than the median income of those with a Masters in Architecture.

Those conversations centered on the idea that it would be interesting how the alumni of particular institutions fare in their arts related field since the Julliard Effect seemed to be a rather dismal eye opener for those with aspirations for a career in the arts.  I recall making some comments about manager compensation being tied to Orchestra revenue at Drew McManus’ Adaptistration blog in the past (I’ll post the link when I find it) but would wonder how educators at institutes of higher learning would feel if their salaries were tied to the percentage of successful students in their particular fields would feel about something like that.

I’ve also wondered how many of these music conservatory’s focus on entrepreneurial training (such as the one I mentioned my alma mater is taking) is a reflection of a need to show the relevance of musical training.  Eric Edberg’s recent post is an optimistic take on higher music education simply because of the possible skills it can teach for any field but that’s not quite what I’m wondering here.  There’s still the question of whether any sort of higher education would simply be enough for success post-education, and if so, then why bother so much with any arts training.

Similar questions could be asked of support and service related fields for the arts.  Given some of the negative (and often shady) image of management consulting (see also the old Rolling Stone exposé on 2012 Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney) perhaps one way to settle the issue is to study the institutions that have used consultants to see how useful they have actually been relative to a control group.  We already know that “experts” in their fields tend to be the worst at making predictions about the field because of Philip Tetlock’s studies which show that Hedgehogs and their one big picture of everything tend to make more incorrect predictions than the more cautious and nuanced Foxes that it might save us a lot of trouble if arts organizations knew they could have gotten by just the same without external help.

Anyway, take a look at the 2012 SNAAP Shot — note that some of the hoverover objects overlap others so it might be difficult to tease out some of the results, but the graphs themselves can give you a general overview.  If you are an arts alum of a university, you might also want to take the survey to help them get a more accurate picture.

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