Statistics to Start the Conversation
The state of California is the lowest contributor to public arts funding in the nation. California also has two of the richest cities in the US (San Jose and San Francisco), making it one of the richest states in the union.
San Francisco leads metropolitan areas in the proportion of artists in the work force, followed by Santa Fe (which ranks first in writers and fine artists), Los Angeles, New York and Stamford-Norwalk in suburban Connecticut.
To sum up: California has the most artists, it’s one of the richest states and has the least state arts funding.
The 2003-2004 budget of the California Arts Council was slashed by 95% (from $18.3 million to $1.1 million) and the council was forced to suspend most of its grant programs to arts organizations.
“During my first year as Director (of the California Arts Council), we were able to grant just under a million dollars. This past year (2008), I’m proud to tell you, the CAC expended over $3 million in programs, grants, convenings and assistance. This is largely due to the sale of Arts License Plates, which brought in $2.8 million last year.”
Artists in SF are well-educated, stable and engaged in their communities, yet they are spending less time on their art each year, with fewer of them earning income from it and almost half earning under $3,000.
In 2002, when the U.S. job market conditions worsened; unemployment for artists was twice as high as for all professional workers. Note: This doesn’t bode well for artists in the current economic climate.
In the early 80s an unnamed non-profit art space in SF was paying $500 artists fees. With the rate of inflation that $500 today would be more like $1500. Almost 30 years later, most non-profit art spaces in the Bay Area are still paying $500 or less. On top of this, each year these same art spaces are bleeding the artist community with their auctions.
It’s a legal obligation of the 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization to make the tax forms: Form 1024 and Form 990-T public. Note: You can go to http://www.guidestar.org/ to find specifics
If every artist in America’s work force banded together, their ranks would be double the size of the United States Army. More Americans identify their primary occupation as artist than as lawyer, doctor, police officer or farm worker. Shouldn’t Artists have a voice as much as these and any other profession?
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