almost half of nyc artists can’t afford art supplies

The NYC government released a study on what it can do to promote inclusivity and diversity in the art world.

by André-Naquian Wheeler
May 19 2017, 7:01pm

Photography Celeste Lindell via Flicker Creative Commons

It's no secret that New York City is expensive. Thanks to everything from MTA fare hikes to ever-rising rents, the city is becoming an increasingly difficult place to live as an artist. This week, a report by the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) painted a particularly clear portrait of the "struggling artist" in New York. In its report "What We Heard," the DCA published statistics about NYC artists, and outlined what the city can do to improve its arts resources and better foster inclusivity and diversity.

40 percent of NYC artists polled by the DCA said they were not able to afford their art supplies. In addition, 90 percent of the respondents said access to low cost housing and studios are important to them. The need for more affordable spaces for artists has been highlighted before: when an affordable housing building for artists opened in East Harlem two years ago, over 53,000 applications were received for 89 units, DNAInfo reported.

In 2010, Patti Smith told Cooper Union students, "New York has closed itself off to the young and struggling. New York City has been taken away from you. So my advice is: Find a new city." An increasing number of emerging artists are picking up and moving further and further away from Manhattan. Hudson, New York, 120 miles from Manhattan, is fast developing into a new hub for young artists.

Speaking to artists who have stayed in the city, i-D found that young adults were overwhelmed and stressed out by day-to-day living costs— on top of paying back their student loans.

There's still time for New Yorkers to have their voices heard by the DCA. The public will be able to give feedback on what issues are most important to them until May 31. The DCA will also be holding "CreateNYC: What We Heard" events across the city to discuss the findings of the study and what actions can be taken.


Text André-Naquian Wheeler

create nyc