Key areas of growth and opportunity
Australians value the arts and are becoming more engaged with them. There are a growing number of people studying creative arts and many go on to use their skills in non-arts industries. However, the number of practising professional artists has plateaued and arts incomes continue to lag behind other workers.
For the arts industry we see philanthropic support growing steadily - particularly for the Major Performing arts organisations. However, the big picture shows that Australia still imports many more cultural goods and services than it exports. And its cultural exports to Asia are surprisingly low despite some growth in key markets such as China.
Australians value the arts
The arts are constantly evolving, and the statistics show many positive trends.
Our participation research shows that overwhelmingly, Australians value the arts and recognise individual and community benefits from the arts. 89 percent of us agree that the arts should be an important part of the education of every Australian and a further 72 percent of us agree that there are plenty of opportunities to get involved with the arts.
Attitudes towards the arts are increasingly positive, with perceptions of elitism and high cost decreasing between 2009 and 2013.
Arts participation continues to grow
Almost all Australians (94 percent) attend at least one art form or read literature, and there has been an increase in those participating creatively to 48 percent in 2013, from 41 percent in 2009.
92 percent of Australians believe Indigenous arts are an important part of Australia's culture with interest in Indigenous arts growing along with attendance to Indigenous arts events and exhibitions.
More broadly, attendance at cultural venues and events is growing over time, with 86 percent of Australians attending at least one cultural venue or event in 2009/10 which is estimated to be around 55 million attendances.
Youth are especially engaged with the arts
Australia Council research shows there is strong support for the arts as an important part of the education of every Australian, and children's engagement with the arts continues to increase. 35 percent of children participate in at least one cultural activity outside of school.
Many industries benefit from the creativity of artists
Increasing number of students are graduating from creative arts courses. Most graduates use their artistic training in other industries, including careers in the creative industries such as advertising and graphic design.
Throsby and Zednik's research found that just over 1 in 3 artists had used their artistic skills in some other industry outside the arts.
Artists continue to face challenging conditions
There have been important changes in the profile of artists' careers. The number of professional artists is levelling out, after periods of strong growth in the 1980s and 1990s. Throsby and Zednik's research suggest persistently difficult conditions for professional artists.
Artists earn lower incomes than the rest of the workforce, despite relatively high levels of educational attainment, and analysis of the 2011 Census shows artists have not shared in the rising trend in real incomes that have been experienced across the workforce at large. In 2011, the median annual full-time income of arts workers was $6,000 lower than the general workforce, and the rate of growth in arts incomes between 1996 and 2011 was almost half that experienced by the average Australian worker.
Philanthropic support for the arts has grown strongly
Arts organisations have increased their revenue from sponsorships and donations over time. On average, private sector support now account for 10 percent of the revenue of arts organisations.
Philanthropic donations have overtaken corporate sponsorships to become the primary source of private sector income.
Philanthropic income received by Major Performing Arts organisations from 2009 to 2013 has doubled.
There are opportunities to build markets here and overseas
Australia continues to import significantly more cultural goods and services than it exports overseas, particularly in terms of music royalites, books and magazines. This means that within Australia there is a higher demand for international artists and artworks than for those locally.
The overall value of cultural exports has been declining since 2005-06, particularly for the UK and USA. Despite the geographic proximity, our exports to Asia remain relatively low, but have increased slightly for China, Japan and Papua New Guinea.