CultureGrrl looks at the fine print in the National Endowment for the Arts’ recent study of artists’ jobs in the face of the recession. As you might guess, it’s not a pretty picture. But the blogger compares the figures with an earlier, bigger NEA report, Artists in the Workforce: 1990-2005. Here we learn, not just about jobs, but about incomes, which is a very different metric.
“Here are some fun facts from that report:
—There are (or were in 2005) about 2 million artists (i.e., people for whom art is the primary occupation).
—Some 35% of those were self-employed (compared to only 10% of the total workforce). But in the subcategory of “fine artists, art directors and animators,” a much larger portion, 55.6%, was self-employed.
—Median income of artists from 2003-2005 was $34,800. But you have to read the fine print: Income is the total that the artist received from ALL sources, not just art.
—Median income of full-time artists was $45,200, compared to the higher median income for full-time (general) professionals of $52,500.
—Some 45% of all artists did not work full time all year. Their median income was $20,000.
What all this means is that, art-stars notwithstanding, choosing a career in the creative arts, more often than not, involves financial sacrifice.