The Pandemic’s Impact on Artists and Creative Workers in Illinois: Exploring Lived Experiences in the Urbana Champaign Area explores the documented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives and livelihoods of creative workers nationally and in Illinois. More specifically, the brief dives into the local community of artists in the Champaign Urbana area and how they coped with access to financing and support, major income changes, and personal wellbeing.
This project aims to generate a mapping of creative and cultural assets in and around Peoria to help propel evidence-based opportunities to strengthen community vitality. Undertaken with the support of University of Illinois Extension and participation of over 50 stakeholders of Peoria’s cultural ecosystem, the project aims to be inclusive in process and in perspective.
In Illinois, the average worker working at minimum wage ($12 per hour) would have to work 64 hours per week to afford a modest 1-bedroom rental home. To afford a 2-bedroom home while working full time, a worker would need to make $22.80 per hour – an annual salary of $47,434. For many workers across the state, income has not kept up with the cost of rent. The impact of job and wage instability during the COVID-19 pandemic further illustrated the precarious nature of the connection between work and housing in Illinois.
Members of Illinois’ artist labor force—an estimated 89,280 workers—reside throughout the state, yet the sheer size and concentration of this labor force residing in the City of Chicago warrants a closer look. This brief extends the examination of the Illinois artist labor force provided in “The Artist Labor Force: a statistical look at Illinois in the context of the U.S.” (June 2022) by providing statistics on the artist labor force residing in the City of Chicago in a comparative perspective with ten other U.S. cities.
This issue brief provides insights on the size, density, composition, and earnings of the artist labor force. The research team used new data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, which covers demographic information for communities throughout the United States, from 2016 to 2020. The report looks at the artist labor force in Illinois within the context of the U.S.
The purpose of this issue brief is to expand the current understanding of the status of individual artists and creative workers. Specifically, we focus on insights that can be garnered from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, the primary data source on employment and unemployment in the United States, and its Annual Social and Economic Supplement to offer an initial look at the following topics on the national level:
• unemployment and receipt of unemployment benefits,
• self-employment, and
• multiple job-holdings and mixed earners.
On September 30, 2021, the college hosted a panel discussion to facilitate a much-needed dialogue about the state of creative communities and the ever-evolving role of art and artists as they plan for recovery from COVID-19 and systemic racism. It featured Jamie Bennett, Interim President & CEO, United States Artists; Dr. Cynthia Oliver, Professor of Dance and Associate Vice Chancellor for Research in the Humanities, Arts, and Related Fields; and Dr. Jennifer Novak-Leonard, Associate Research Professor and Research Director of Arts Impact Initiative; with Kevin Hamilton, Professor and Dean, as moderator. Watch the recording of the panel.
The Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) gathers, analyzes, and reports on survey data from graduates of arts and design schools and colleges to understand the professional success, educational satisfaction, and personal fulfillment of arts alumni. The UIUC College of Fine and Applied Arts is a sponsoring institution of SNAAP.