Artist survey reflects continued need for support for individual creatives in Indiana

(Indianapolis, IN) – In partnership with the Arts Council of Indianapolis and more than 25 partners across the state, the Indiana Arts Commission (IAC) surveyed over 1,400 creatives about the impact of COVID-19 on their finances, life, and artistic career. This survey serves to inform artist-serving organizations on what the state of the creative entrepreneur is and what kinds of resources they are seeking.

According to the survey, more than three quarters of creatives have been significantly impacted by COVID-19, with half of them considering themselves unemployed. More than half of respondents have less than three months of savings on hand, and are in critical need of support for their living expenses. As a whole, this group of individuals seeks support in the form of securing paid opportunities.

Key takeaways from the survey include:

  1. Creatives have been significantly impacted by COVID-19.
    • 79% of Indiana creatives have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.
    • 53% of creatives are reporting a significant loss of income because of cancellations.
    • Living expenses are a critical need.
    • Creatives are looking for support through contracts, projects commissions, gigs and other paid opportunities, as well as guidance on best practices for re-opening and re-engaging the audience and general public.
  2. Those who say they don’t need support right now may see hardship soon.
    • Roughly 55% of respondents had less than three months of savings on hand by the end of May.
    • The weekly $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation is very important, and will end on July 25.
  3. Unemployment is a challenge. About half of respondents see themselves as unemployed.
    • 16% of them have not applied for unemployment.
    • 33% have applied and are waiting for benefits.
    • 51% have started receiving benefits.
  4. Creatives want to be part of the solution by:
    • Connecting communities and giving opportunities for human expression,
    • Offering a source of positivity and joy, and
    • Solving problems.

As a result of this survey, artists and artist-supporting organizations have been meeting to unpack and respond to these issuevia Zoom. So far, two working groups have formed to address these identified gaps:

  • Reopening guidelines for independent creatives
  • Entrepreneurship training for creatives during COVID and beyond

Those interested in learning more about the survey or joining a meeting/working group can contact Anna Tragesser, IAC Artist and Community Services Manager, at


About the Indiana Arts Commission
The Indiana Arts Commission works to positively impact the cultural, economic, and educational climate of Indiana by providing responsible leadership for and public stewardship of artistic resources for all of our state’s citizens and communities.

About the Arts Council of Indianapolis
The Arts Council advocates for the need and importance of broad community funding and
support for a thriving arts scene; connects artists, audiences, businesses, foundations, and
arts and cultural organizations with opportunities to expand central Indiana’s creative vitality;
and innovates by pursuing and promoting programs that catalyze creative growth in central

About Indiana’s Creative Economy
Annually, the arts sector contributes $8.4 billion to Indiana’s economy. Additionally, Indiana’s creative economy supports 160,000 jobs, 51% of which represent self-employed individual creatives.

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