How many artists live in Fairfax? What challenges do they face? New survey seeks answers

You may not think about it when you hear a local band, watch a play or buy something at a weekend crafts fair, but it can be tough to make a living as an independent artist.

The nonprofit ArtsFairfax has launched a first-of-its-kind survey to identify the needs and obstacles for artists who live or work in Fairfax County, the City of Fairfax and the City of Falls Church in Virginia.

The anonymous Fairfax Regional Artist Survey takes about three minutes to complete.

Artists select the type of art they practice, ranging from dance, theater, comedy, arts education, photography, cultural or heritage activities, and lighting design.

The survey also asks participants about the challenges they face in practicing their art in the Fairfax area. The choices include “space rentals too expensive,” and “lack of interested public,” as well as “better for career goals to focus on other markets.”

They can also say what they need most to continue and grow their work in the Fairfax County area, ranging from marketing support, transportation assistance and professional training to development and grant opportunities.

According to the nonprofit, the survey data will directly inform future ArtsFairfax services, programs and advocacy efforts for individual artists. The group has traditionally served arts groups and organizations.

After completing the survey, artists will have the chance to promote and publicize their work in a new Artist Directory, and connect with fellow artists and professional networks, though an online community — both hosted by ArtsFairfax.

The survey will be open through Dec. 31, 2024.

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Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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