As the crisis took hold, 60% were expecting their income to be more than halved, and over one-third were predicting to lose more than 76%.
A Covid-19 impact survey examining artists’ fears immediately before the coronavirus lockdown shows that 82% had already had upcoming work cancelled and 59% had taken the decision to cancel their own work.
4,070 respondents, mainly among the 25,000-strong membership of a-n, the Artists Information Company, responded to its survey, which was open for five days between 19th March and 24th March, the first day of the full lockdown.
During this period, Government guidance to social distance and self-isolate was already in place and concerns about artists’ livelihoods were severe.
The most significant and immediate impact was income reduction – reported by 96%. The majority indicated the main mechanisms through which they earn a living, including exhibitions, selling work and employment which supplements their artistic practice, had been affected, and 65% were losing funding. At that stage, 60% were expecting their income to be down over 50% in 2020, and over one-third were predicting the fall to be more than 76%.
Other outcomes were also expected, with 69% citing an immediate impact on their studio space. Loss of networking opportunities was mentioned by 92%.
Julie Lomax, a-n’s CEO, commented that the research provides a “stark reminder of precarity in the arts”. She said: “Artists have long been asked to navigate and shape-shift through a complex set of structures, relationships and arrangements that are both global and local, often for little to no pay. What starts in the studio as a mostly solo creative practice is reliant on a thriving visual arts sector, audiences, relationships and connections. When these break down so does the ability to sustain creative practice.”