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CRNY Releases First-Of-Its-Kind Artist Data, Advocacy Grant Opportunities

May 30, 2024

New York, NY — Today, Creatives Rebuild New York (CRNY), an organization dedicated to improving the lives and livelihoods of artists, released data from its “Portrait of New York State Artists” survey in conjunction with grants for up to $15,000 to encourage research and analysis of this data. The survey aims to provide a more accurate representation of the number of artists in New York – shining a light on the economic challenges they face, their overall well-being, and the impact of the pandemic on artists’ livelihoods. 

“Census data provide an insufficient snapshot of who artists are and the kinds of challenges they face,” said Doug Noonan, Faculty Director of the Indiana University Center for Cultural Affairs. “The Portrait of New York State Artists fills in some of these gaps to reflect the breadth and diversity of artists working in New York State, bringing into the fold different types of artists and culture bearers who might be undercounted due to the Census’ strict definition of what counts as work.”

The survey and dataset are freely available for download and online analysis at the National Archive of Data on Arts and Culture (NADAC), a data repository funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. The survey received responses from over 13,000 artists between February and May 2022. In addition to first-of-its-kind geographic and demographic data, the survey found: 

  • Artists are earning significantly less than the average New Yorker. 85% of respondents had a household income of less than $50,000. The median for New York State households is $81,000.
  • Nearly two-thirds of artists don’t have a financial safety net. 62% of respondents have no emergency savings, putting them on the brink of financial catastrophe.
  • Almost half of artists are gig workers. 46% of respondents relied on gig work to earn an income. Gig work often comes without the labor protections of typical full-time jobs like access to health insurance and unemployment insurance.

“With this survey, we aim to paint the most vivid portrait yet of the shared experience of tens of thousands of artists who call New York home,” said Sarah Calderón, Executive Director of CRNY. “The survey provides hard data to back up the stories that artists have shared with our team — inspiring our advocacy work and serving as a backbone to our upcoming policy framework. Solutions come from understanding: by publicly releasing these data and providing funding for others to conduct their own analyses, we hope to catalyze even more ways to support artists in New York and across the nation.”

Nonprofit organizations or fiscally sponsored individuals working on advocacy campaigns are encouraged to apply for the grants to utilize the data. More information on how to apply can be found here.

Photo courtesy of Colectivo Intercultural TRANSgrediendo™