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Artist survey reflects continued need for support for individual creatives in Indiana

Friday, July 10, 2020
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In partnership with the Arts Council of Indianapolis and more than 25 partners across the state, the Indiana Arts Commission (IAC) surveyed over 1,400 creatives about the impact of COVID-19 on their finances, life, and artistic career. This survey serves to inform artist-serving organizations on what the state of the creative entrepreneur is and what kinds of resources they are seeking.

According to the survey, more than three quarters of creatives have been significantly impacted by COVID-19, with half of them considering themselves unemployed. More than half of respondents have less than three months of savings on hand, and are in critical need of support for their living expenses. As a whole, this group of individuals seeks support in the form of securing paid opportunities.

Key takeaways from the survey include:

1.    Creatives have been significantly impacted by COVID-19.   

o    79% of Indiana creatives have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.  

o    53% of creatives are reporting a significant loss of income because of cancellations.  

o    Living expenses are a critical need.

o    Creatives are looking for support through contracts, projects commissions, gigs and other paid opportunities, as well as guidance on best practices for re-opening and re-engaging the audience and general public.  

2.    Those who say they don’t need support right now may see hardship soon.   

o    Roughly 55% of respondents had less than three months of savings on hand by the end of May.  

o    The weekly $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation is very important, and will end on July 25.  

3.    Unemployment is a challenge. About half of respondents see themselves as unemployed. 

o    16% of them have not applied for unemployment.  

o    33% have applied and are waiting for benefits.   

o    51% have started receiving benefits.   

4.    Creatives want to be part of the solution by:  

o    Connecting communities and giving opportunities for human expression,  

o    Offering a source of positivity and joy, and  

o    Solving problems.  

As a result of this survey, artists and artist-supporting organizations have been meeting to unpack and respond to these issues via Zoom. So far, two working groups have formed to address these identified gaps:  

  • Reopening guidelines for independent creatives  
  • Entrepreneurship training for creatives during COVID and beyond  

Those interested in learning more about the survey or joining a meeting/working group can contact Anna Tragesser, IAC Artist and Community Services Manager, at atragesser@iac.in.gov

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