Artists invited to share candid feedback about affordability and space challenges

Press release from ArtsAVL:

ArtsAVL invites artists and arts organizations in the Asheville Metro area (Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, and Madison Counties) to share their candid feedback about local creative spaces and space-related issues impacting creative growth and development. Vital findings from the survey, along with additional data on cost of living and space accessibility, will be collected and shared via a report and a Town Hall on May 10, with the goal of identifying and supporting sustainable solutions. The survey deadline is March 11.

As the cost of living continues to rise in Asheville and Buncombe County, the affordable housing crisis in the area is worsening. A 2023 report by the National Alliance to End Homelessness found that Asheville is more expensive than 98% of other North Carolina cities, and rents have risen 41.7% since 2020, making it the most expensive place to rent in the state. In fact, a recent Asheville Citizen Times article showed that fair market rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Asheville has risen 78% since 2019. Meanwhile, the hourly wage has not risen to meet the living wage, reported by Just Economics as $22.10/hour in Buncombe County.

ArtsAVL recognizes the serious impact these costs have had on the creative economy. Many artists have already been priced out of the City of Asheville and Buncombe County, and they face mounting costs throughout the Asheville Metro area – threatening the region’s identity as a nucleus of the arts.

ArtsAVL’s assessment of the local creative landscape will provide crucial information for understanding the current reality and possible paths forward for the creative community. The full report will include the survey results, a cost of living assessment for the Asheville Metro area, a creative economy assessment (including demographics and median earnings for creative workings) for the area, case studies highlighting potential solutions for affordable live and/or work space, and possible partnership opportunities.

Questions are tailored to either individual arts professionals or arts businesses. Individual arts professionals will be asked to provide demographic information (including race, age, and gender) and arts income. Arts businesses will provide information including annual operating budget, number of employees, and percent of budget used for space rental. The survey also asks about creative focus areas, affiliate and professional memberships, monthly expenses, accessibility needs, and current workspace usage and locations.

Respondents are also asked to share details about their ideal workspaces – including preferred price, size, and location – as well as about the impact space challenges have had on their artistic practice.

Survey results will be anonymized, but respondent contact information will be gathered in case additional outreach is needed. Businesses will also have the opportunity to share their names as contributors to the final report.

All creatives in the Asheville Metro area are encouraged to take the survey. Stay tuned to for project updates and Town Hall registration details.

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