Friday, April 17, 2009
Do you like this story?
Scott Grow presented the results of the Indianapolis Art Survey at the Harrison Center Thursday evening. He displayed the figures from each question to let the attendees draw their own conclusions. Scott occasionally read samples of additional comments that were submitted. Some were humorous, but most of the time it was easy to spot trends. Even though a little over 40% of the respondents were artists, Scott discovered when that group was removed, the ratios of figures were barely effected.
Two questions sparked the most discussion. The amount of money people had spent buying art and the top figure most would consider for an art purchase hit a ceiling of about $500. Scott pointed out that there are many who easily spend $300 for a few hours of entertainment at a Colts game, but where is the mindset that an investment in original artwork lasts a lifetime?
Mark Rushman, owner of Rushman Gallery, explained how a small to medium gallery costs $250,000 per year to operate. Without sales to corporations, it would be impossible to stay in business when people who are earning $75,000 - $100,000 per year believe that collecting art can be done for the same amount as a couple of trips to the grocery store.
The average income of a professional artist in the U.S. is around $14,000 per year, and that figure is skewed by the minority who make the big bucks - kind of like the perception of professional athletes with the multi-millionaires getting the attention while those in the minor leagues barely scrape by. So it appears that our local arts community needs to better communicate the value of art. Even among artists there can be confusion about how to appropriately price work. It certainly is confusing to patrons and not understood by casual fans.
There are many more facets to the survey Scott has labored for so long. He plans on posting the results soon, and I'd like to encourage everyone to check them out and explore what they mean to you.