Survey: Artists struggle in recession, but find creative avenues

Posted on: November 24, 2009

In Monday’s (11/23) New York Times, Randy Kennedy reports, “A major new survey of American artists and how they are weathering the economic downturn has found that slightly more than half experienced a drop in income from 2008 to 2009, a blow to an already struggling group, two thirds of whose members reported that they earned less than $40,000 last year. More than 5,300 practitioners in fields like painting, filmmaking and architecture participated in the online survey, a larger response than expected, providing a detailed look at the state of the country’s artists, a group that the Census Bureau numbers at more than two million. … The survey was conducted in July and August and commissioned by a nonprofit artist-support organization called Leveraging Investments in Creativity, which worked with Princeton Survey Research Associates International and the Helicon Collaborative … The researchers found that in general very few artists’ incomes approach six figures. … The artists surveyed tended to earn either very little of their overall income from their artwork or almost all of it. … Perhaps because artists tend to have an idealistic bent, the survey found, however, that many also reported upsides to the downturn: that it has given them freedom to experiment and to spend more time on their art when avenues for making money are closed.”

Posted November 24, 2009