Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Artists and the Economic Recession Survey

You can read The Artists and the Economic Recession Survey: Selected Findings online.

The Study was commissioned by Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC), in collaboration with Helicon Collaborative and Princeton Survey Research Associates International.

LINC's website (see right) is
The survey sought to understand artists’ financial circumstances more than a year into the recession, their strategies for adaptation, and their needs and concerns at this time.
Some key facts about the survey and how representative it is of visual artists:
  • 5,380 artists nationwide completed the survey between July 20 and August 17, 2009.
  • Half the artists identified their primary art form as visual art
  • 49% spent substantial time on at least two different art forms.
  • 69% have been practicing their art form for more than 10 years.
For many artists, the recession has reduced the financial support for their art work and their incomes in general, but for many it also brought a freedom to concentrate on their art in new ways.
Selected Findings - Postive Attitudes and Opportunities
Here's some highlights of its conclusions
  • More than one job - Two-thirds of artists hold at least one job in addition to making art.
Designers and architects (54%) are most likely to earn their living solely through their artistic practice
Selected findings - Income
  • Artists’ incomes are relatively low (two-thirds made less than $40,000 in 2008), and half (51%) reported a decrease in their art-related income from 2008 to 2009.
Artists who spend more than 40 hours a week on their art work and depend on it for a higher percentage of their income are most likely to have experienced a decline in their art-related income.
Selected findings - Income
  • Forty percent of artists do not have adequate health insurance and more than 50% are worried about losing what they do have.
Many of artists’ top worries are those concerning the rest of the population as well, such as
health care, debt, income and retirement plans.

Artists’ chief worry is
  • loss of income (77%), followed by
  • fewer sales (70% worried or very worried),
  • difficulty finding funding for future projects (67%),
  • rising amounts of debt (61%),
  • fewer exhibition/presentation opportunities (59%),
  • fewer grants (59%) and
  • low morale for themselves and others they know (59%).
  • Other major concerns are loss of health insurance and derailed retirement plans.
  • Despite the challenges, artists are optimistic about the future—89% think artists have a special role in helping strengthen communities in these times, and 75% believe this is an inspiring time to be an artist.
  • Some opportunities have emerged as a result of the recession—40% report they have been able to spend more time on their art work, and one-third have seized the opportunity to experiment and collaborate more.
  • What artists need help with - While direct financial support would be most helpful to artists, technical assistance, networking opportunities, and supplies are also high on the list.
While practically all artists use the Internet often for at least one arts-related activity, those with high usage patterns (23%) have some significant distinguishing characteristics. These artists are more likely to be younger (less than 44 years of age), more involved in community activities offline, and more optimistic about the future than artists who use the Internet less frequently

This is a link to the New York Times article A Survey Shows Pain of Recession for Artists which comments further on this survey

Below are links to my information sites which aim to support artists in art business matters and the art economy generally.


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