Five Facts About Professional Artists in the US

TheGneech brought this Washington Post article to my attention, which discusses the results of an NEA study on working artists. The article’s worth reading, but I’ll summarize the points I find interesting:

1. Artists make up only 1.4% of the workforce. That means only 2 million people are reporting income in the arts in the entire US. Just for context: New York City has a population of 8 million, and the country 319 million.

2. Of those 2 million people, 39% are designers. That means over a third of the people making money at art are doing so in specifically commercial jobs: people who draw packaging art and marketing materials and do graphic design, etc. By contrast, only 10% are managing as fine artists, and writers are even less successful (!) at 9%.

There are some other interesting statistics there, but as a snapshot, I think it says a great deal about your chances of financial success as an artist, and emphasizes (yet again) the importance of understanding business and marketing if you want to pay your bills.

Just something I’m mulling as I prepare for Monday’s Kickstarter launch. Maybe a not-bad topic for a Three Jaguars story.

  1. Pleased to be of service. :)

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