It’s been almost a year since the coronavirus put the U.S. arts and culture sector in lockdown. At Americans for the Arts, we spent the last year surveying artists and arts organizations across the country. The results are clear: artists in the United States are hurting, and those who are intentionally marginalized have been hit harder, likely because of inequities that have long existed prior to the pandemic.

While weekly updates are available on our website, this series does a deeper dive into the data that we’ve collected from April 2020 through now. Data collection for the second Artists and Creative Workers survey is ongoing. Please consider sharing with your networks.

Before we jump into the data, two quick notes:

  1. Participants were given the following options to choose from for gender: malefemalenon-binary, and I prefer to self-identify. The analysis below only includes male and female because there were not enough non-binary responses to draw firm conclusions once segmented by race. That said, based on our limited sample size, non-binary respondents reported the most severe financial impacts overall.
  2. This post uses BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) to categorize the respondents when the sample size was too small to segment by specific race. Respondents were asked if they personally identified as BIPOC.
Loss of Income

The majority of respondents (95 percent) reported a loss of income due to the pandemic.


The most common way of supplementing lost income was searching for other employment (83 percent). However, 63 percent of respondents reported being fully unemployed due to COVID-19.


The second most common method of supplementing income was dipping into savings (79 percent). Non-BIPOC respondents were more likely to use this method (82 percent), with non-BIPOC men the most likely (84 percent).

Retirement Funds and Crowdfunding

Out of the remaining options to supplement income, the bottom two choices were dipping into a retirement fund (20 percent) and crowdfunding/fundraising (20 percent).

Read the full article about the unequal financial strain of COVID by Isaac Fitzsimons at Americans for the Arts.