How much would you pay for a contemporary art exhibition, play or performance? How many pieces of contemporary art did you buy in your life? If you answer honestly these questions in your mind, you’ll find shocking how much art we are ready to consume and how little we are ready to pay for. According to The Urban Institute,“96% of American value the arts in their communities. 27% of Americans value artists.” So, if you are not a constant art supporter, you’ll probably be interested in where do the money go and where do they come from.

Last month the United States Artists (USA) celebrated its 10th anniversary. Each year, the organization awards $50,000 fellowships to the country’s most accomplished and innovative artists working in the fields of Architecture & Design, Crafts, Dance, Literature, Media, Music, Theater & Performance, Traditional Arts and Visual Arts.This money is completely unrestricted, allowing artists to spend money on whatever they want. Today our goal is to give you a better idea how much do contemporary artists get for their works, why the fellowship is sometimes life-saving, and how can you help, not spending a dollar. 

The Cost Of Art

According to TEFAF, the global art market in 2015 achieved most of the money in the USA. It is 43%, which is about 28.3 billion. However, 2015 failed seven percent year-on-year from its previous high of $68.2 billion in 2014. This was the first year that saw a decline since 2011 and comes as the sectors of the fine art market that were at the forefront of the rapid expansion began to cool off. The US forges ahead despite the global decline. However, taking into account the dispersal between more and less famous artists, even its these numbers seem rather small, don’t they? I mean, Jeff Koons’ Balloon Dog went for $58.4 million in 2014!

The Cost Of Living

Unfortunately, the well-paid artists are not numerous. To have a better idea have a look at the list of 10 most expensive of them, made by The Art News and compare it to your personal experience: the artist you know or the amount of money you’ve paid for the last exhibition. Do we have an idea how much the tools and studio rent coast? Recently The Artspace came up with an interview of The United States Artists fellows of different years. The question was: on what the artists spend their money? Lots of answers surprised us and aroused controversial feelings. Apparently, for most of them, work pays for itself. I get paid to perform and that’s how I survive, – comments Raphael Xavier, Dancer. However, surviving is not enough, isn’t it?

A Hunger Artist

Fellowship sometimes might be literally life-saving. it’s hard to make money from what I do, – tells Raven Chacon, Sound Artist. Since an artist doesn’t have a full-time job (which is obviously often) a quite big sum of money one gets will help to pay taxes and medical care. It also could be a good investment into future projects. I went out and bought ten cowhides (that I use to paint on.) Sometimes I can buy one or two, but never ten, – says Winfred Rembert, Painter, the 2016 United States Artists price winner.

Fellows of The United States Artists are selected through a rigorous, highly competitive process involving hundreds of experts, scholars, administrators and artists. Considering how difficult it is to win the price, let us say it’s not only a financial help but also a great popularity booster, which is sometimes even more important for a career.

A Different Payment Method

While the numbers of the global art market are declining, it’s important to diffuse the information. The United States Artists Award is just one of those that should be known by everyone. Even If you can not financially support the artists, there is a different payment method: talk about it, write, share. Pay your attention. So thanks to you one more artist will get the money he/she has been always working for.

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