Making Art Work- Can we afford not to?

Written by: Source
In November 2017 Professor David Throsby, the eminent arts economist, released a further instalment of his report, Making Art Work: An Economic Study of Professional Artists in Australia that seeks to map the income of the arts community across time.
This is his sixth instalment of the study into the situation of Australia’s creative artists over a thirty year period.
His key findings are that professional artists’ incomes are 21% below the Australian workplace average; and that the artists’ income from creative sources has dropped by around 20% since 2009.
Another finding is that 77% of artists have to take on other jobs to supplement their income.
Half of the artists apply their creative skills in other industries, an increase of 36% above 2009. There has also been an increase in cross overs between art forms with more than 50% of artists working across more than one art form. There has also been a large increase in the use of digital technology, a finding that many artists are excited to embrace new innovations. Allied with this increase in technology use, there has also been an increase in copyright and moral rights infringements where increased global audiences have been exploiting ‘free’ content available online.

What does this mean for artists?

The 2017 report’s concerns about artists’ decreasing incomes is roughly consistent with our earlier findings that showed visual artists’ incomes dropped by around 40% between 2008 and 2015.
Lowensteins’ study concentrated only on visual artists because we used this evidence in our submission to government with reference to the ‘Art and Superannuation’ lobby.
In this 2017 report Throsby’s research highlights the increasing challenges for creators to maintain a viable career in the arts.
We need to ensure that society increases the value that it places on art and the creative economy that contributes so much to the Australian community.
Making Art Work also demonstrates the double-edged sword of new technology, where the use of it by artists can strengthen their practice but the abuse of it can lead to copyright and moral rights infringements and other economic challenges.
Read the full report at