Oh, SNAAP!: Project to Study Art School Grads’ Career Paths

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A project launched yesterday at Indiana University will track the lives and careers of arts graduates in America to help schools strengthen their arts programs. Sponsored by the Surdna Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP), will take the form of a “visually-engaging” online survey system that will collect and disseminate data about the artistic lives and careers of students who have trained at arts high schools, arts colleges, and conservatories, and arts schools and departments within colleges and universities. As survey participants answer questions (5, 10, 15, and 20 years after graduation), the site will create a flow-chart mapping factors that helped or hindered their career progress.

Vanderbilt University professor Steven J. Tepper, who will help to administer the annual arts alumni survey, called SNAAP “a milestone for cultural policy research, because it will go beyond profiles of individual artists and provide a comprehensive look at the creative workforce in America and the critical role of training institutions in preparing artists and creative workers.” According to George Kuh, Indiana University professor and SNAAP project director, the survey will be field-tested over the next two years with as many as 100 institutions before its first national administration in 2010.