According to the survey on the effects of coronavirus on the earnings of visual artists, the challenging financial situation of visual artists hasn’t eased in the beginning of 2021. A cause for concern due to the prolonged situation is exhibition- and other work opportunities within the field.
According to the survey on the effects of coronavirus on the earnings of visual artists, the challenging financial situation of visual artists hasn’t eased in the beginning of 2021. 76 percent of the artists who replied have experienced loss of earnings due to coronavirus and the restrictions January–March 2021. The was answered by 163 professional visual artists.
During a time span of three months, the artists who participated in the survey reported a total revenue loss of approximately 450 000 euros. When taking the total number of visual artists (3 300) in regard, the full loss within the field was as high as 9 million euros. The individual amount varied between 0–40 000 euros. The losses are significant especially due to the already low-income rate within the visual arts industry.
In the year 2020 and the beginning of 2021, the loss of profit was targeted especially at sales of artworks (65%), different levels of teaching work (64%) as well as other work or sources of income within the field of art (39%). The income loss regarding commissions was reported by 27% of the participants.
Within the open answers it's visible that visual artists fall into different forms of support. In the best cases there have been artists working supported by grants and aids, however living solely on grants has been proven to be challenging.
Distributing the grants should take into account different forms of income
Evaluating the loss of earnings was considered difficult due to the highly fluctuating yearly income rates. For many it was challenging to anticipate the impact that cancelled exhibitions and work opportunities have on sales of artworks and other income. For visual artists, narrowing work opportunities can often have delayed consequences on income and can therefore affect artists’ careers long-term.
The most common corona-aids were applied from Arts Promotion Centre Finland (64% of the participants). Visual artists have been the second largest group to apply for and receive this aid, after the music industry. 9% of the participants had applied for grants from foundations and municipalities (aids for entrepreneurs). Around one third (32%) hadn’t applied for any aids at all.
In the years of 2020–2021, the participants had been granted around 280 000 euros worth of corona-related support and grants. However, not everyone had reported the total sum. The most common amount per artist was 3 000 euros. In proportion with the full paid aids, the corona-aid for artists sums up to around 5,7 million euros. Nonetheless, even when taking in regard the aid, the total loss of profit from the years 2020-2021 is still estimated around 25,3 million euros.