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01 May 2014

Finnish report finds artists income falling


A recently published Arts Promotion Centre Finland study looks at Finnish artists income over a ten year period and finds that earnings from artistic work are on the decline in most fields of the arts. It also notes that the income level of top earning artists has fallen since 2000.

Grants are the most importance source of income for nearly one in ten Finnish artists. The role and importance of the State in awarding grants is on the decline, whereas private foundations and funds are becoming more important. The amount of State support has not increased in step with the growing size of the artist community.

Artistic work is the most important source of income for approximately 40 percent of Finnish artists. Income from artistic work is significant especially for those active in theatre and music, as well as for architects. In these fields of the arts, income from artistic work increased faster than in other fields since 2000 and peaked in 2010. For authors and visual artists, grants are as important a source of income as artistic work. Altogether, grants were the most important source of income for almost one in ten artists in 2010. These statistics are revealed in research carried out by Kaija Rensujeff, Special Planning Officer at the Arts Promotion Centre Finland, in which she studied the status of artists in different fields of the arts in 2010. The results are compared to those compiled in the “Status of the Artist in Finland” study from 2000.
“The amount of State support has not increased in step with the growing size of the artist community. The status of free artists – especially visual artists – will not improve without increasing support for artistic work. One of the roles of civilised nations is to nurture the working conditions of artists. This responsible cannot be passed off to the private sector,” comments Minna Sirnö, Director of the Arts Promotion Centre Finland.

The number of professional artists in Finland increased by around 20 percent between 2000 and 2010 to approximately 22,000. The proportion of women in the Finnish artist community has also grown to over half of all artists in 2010. The average age of artists has increased, and their education level is higher than ever before. The proportion of artists living in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area has also continued to grow.

Read more about the report findings

Rensujeff, Kaija (2013): The Status of the Artist in Finland 2010 – The Structure of the Artist Community, Work and Income Formation. Arts Promotion Centre Finland, Helsinki. The research report is in Finnish but an English summary is available.