One in three UK artists say they can’t afford to stay in the art industry


One in three UK artists doubt they will be able to continue to work professionally in five years’ time, according to a new survey.

The true impact of the cost of living crisis on the UK’s artists has been revealed by a new survey from the London-based charity Acme, who claim to be largest provider of affordable artist studios in the UK.

“To be a practicing artist in the UK is to live daily with problems of survival,” said David Panton, the founder of Acme said in a statement shared with The Art Newspaper.

The survey, titled The Acme Artist Tenant Survey, highlights the widespread implications that the cost of living crisis, coupled with increasing pressures on the UK’s cultural sector, have wrought on the UK’s working artists.

The survey also found that 40% of the artists surveyed said they can not afford to contribute to a pension scheme or save any money.

Notably, the surveyed artists’ professional practice represented just 33% of their overall income, with many having to rely on additional ways to bring in money. Just 12% of surveyed artists said that their practice represented their sole means of income.

“The financial, practical and intellectual challenges artists face mean that they must constantly find solutions—and, increasingly, justification—for a way of life which may seem to run counter to the rest of society,” Panton said.

Acme, which has provided studio space for artists like Grayson Perry and Hew Locke over its 50-year existence, will release the full Artist Tenant Survey report on 13 July.

Acme spoke to 226 of the 850 artist tenants who rent studio space from the charity. The Acme Artist Tenant Survey was conducted between November 2021 and April 2022.


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