New Study: Most Artists Who Earn A Living From Their Craft Are White

November 10, 2014  |  

Diversity issues affect almost every field and art is not immune. Artists of color face many more obstacles and are compensated at lower rates that their white counterparts according to a study compiled by data trackers BFAMFAPhD which concluded most artists making a living from their work are white. And the percentage is high: 77.6 percent, reports The Huffington Post. For the study, artists included writers, visual artists, actors, photographers, musicians, singers, producers, directors, and performers.

The study, titled “Artists Report Back,” looked at data for more than 1.4 million working artists (along with a group of 2 million art school graduates) across the United States using the Census Bureau’s 2012 American Community Survey (ACS). The results found that nearly four out of five working artists are white; 7.5 percent of working artists identify as Black; 3.9 percent as Asian; and 8.3 percent Hispanic.

Of course, since the United States is still predominantly white — about 60 percent–most artists are likely to be, too. “But there’s something else at play here that explains the jump from just over half (the percentage of the population that is white) to almost four fifths (the percentage of artists who are white). And that’s money,” reports The Washington Post. It’s not the training either. Art schools are populated with predominately white students, but most grads don’t go on to work in the field.

Few minorities graduate from art school.  White students graduate from art school at 80.8 percent, while 4.4 percent of the graduates are Black; 7.0 percent is Asian; and 5.7 percent is Hispanic. Of art school graduates who earn a living from their work, 83 percent are white.

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