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New information from Norwegian artist survey

“Increased public spending has probably resulted in an increase in the number of artists rather than an improved economic situation among the existing artists” says project leader Knut Løyland. An influx of professional artists in times where the conditions are good, is completely in line with the findings of several Norwegian and International studies. The findings are based on a survey that was sent out to members of the Norwegian artist organisations and the recipients of Government scholarships/grants.

The other key findings of the survey are:

  • The estimated number of artists in Norway in 2014 is 23 750. This implies an annual growth of 2.3% since 2006.
  • In the last 20 years the proportion of women increased in most groups of artists – 52% of the artists in the data in this study are women.
  • The average time spent on artistic work has dropped by 16% in the period 2006 to 2013. The decline in artistic working compensated to the greatest extent by an increase in artistic related labour (32%), but also with an increase of non-artistic work (14%).
  • Most artists have relatively low incomes from artistic work. However, it is widely spread and skewed distribution of income both within and between artist groups.
  • Permanently employed artists have much higher incomes than the self-employed and freelance artists. Permanent employees had on average in 2013 an artistic income of NOK 339 000 (£28.000) and a total income of NOK 546 000 (£45 000). Among the self-employed, the average income gained from their artistic practice was NOK 143 000 (£11 800) and the total income NOK 366,000 (£27 700).
  • The artistic income of self-employed artists has declined by 11.6% since 2006 – for permanently employed artists the income has remained unchanged.
  • Interior architects are at the top of the income hierarchy, while visual artists are at the bottom.
  • Female artists have consistently lower incomes than male artists.
  • The level and trend in total income is about the same for artists’ general population, but lower compared with other professions with similar education.

For more information about the survey, please contact: Bård Kleppe or Mari Torvik Heian at The Telemark Research Institute.

Article originally published in May 2015.

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