My old friend, Cheryl Russell, has posted some information about artists and their incomes on her blog, DemoMemo
. Cheryl is a well-known demographer and author of the recent book, Bet You Didn't Know
, who researches all sorts of trends in American life. When we were exchanging holiday greetings by email last week, I asked her if she had any statistics about the number of artists with advanced degrees in art who earn a living by selling their work as their only source of income.
She came up with some interesting facts, although the specific data I asked about were not available. The figures she has are from the National Endowment for the Arts survey, last published in 2005. For some reason, the NEA includes in their category of "Fine Artists" the occupations of animator and art director. This skews the median income a bit, no doubt--it is listed at $45,200 for full-year, full time workers.
Cherie has a link with specific information about women artists in her blog post. In the NEA's category of Fine Artists, 47.4% are female, and earn a median income that is $15,200 less than men in this group, even though female fine artists are usually 5 to 6 years older than males in that field, and a higher percentage have attained a bachelor's degree or higher level of education.
In other data she sent me, I noted that Santa Fe, NM has the highest percentage of artists in the work force of all US cities (1.12%) and that, of the top 10 states ranked by number of artists per 10,000 people, New Mexico is #1 at 18.1. Ah, I thought
the competition was a little intense out there!