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EAGxVirtual Unconference (Saturday, June 20th 2020)

The Importance of the Arts in Effective Altruism and Social Change

While art is a powerful agent to create social change by incentivizing civic engagement, political movements typically miss critical opportunities to collaborate with artists. The presentation will begin by analyzing the theory why art creates impact. As a practice-led researcher, I will analyze both my art and the art of other artists aimed at fabricating social change. I will explain why certain interventions are more effective than others, and how we can leverage these ideas to create social change.

The lack of funding for arts research creates a lack of empirical evidence for the effectiveness of art. While the few studies have indicated that the arts is an effective agent for social change, less than 3% of funding in the arts are used for arts research within the US. Therefore, I will discuss the empirical evidence behind art for social change and why arts research needs more funding.

Despite multi-million dollar donations within the art world, these funds are disproportionately concentrated among few artists, curators, and collectors. Meanwhile, the average artist will live below the poverty line at some point in their career and arts programs focusing on impoverish communities struggle to raise enough funds. Therefore, the distribution of funds within the arts is critical in supporting socially conscious artists in changing their communities.

The final section will discuss what effective altruists can do to shift the distribution of wealth and increase available funds within the arts. As the effective altruist movement becomes mainstream, conversations around supporting socially conscious artists and arts research can create an environment that is conducive to help communities create social change.