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Art doesn't pay well

Jennifer Geens
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Mar 21/05) - A new report says aboriginal artists in the territories earn less money than artists anywhere else in Canada.

The report was prepared by Hills Strategies Research for the Canada Council of the Arts, Canadian Heritage and the Ontario Arts Council, using statistics from the 2001 census.

Aboriginal artists in the NWT, Yukon and Nunavut earn an average yearly income of $13,000, about $4,000 less than the average income for all artists - aboriginal and non-aboriginal - in the territories.

This trend is also reflected nationally. Aboriginal artists in all provinces and territories earned less on average than other artists.

Artists' average national income was $23,489.

Income information from the census reflects all sources of income and is not restricted to art sales.

In the 2001 census, 665 people in the NWT, Yukon and Nunavut said they spent more time doing art than anything else during a one week period in May.

More than half of them also identified themselves as aboriginal, the largest percentage in Canada.

The report also found that most aboriginal artists create visual art - such as paintings, sculptures or crafts.

Aboriginals are under-represented in the performing arts and make up only about one per cent of Canadian musicians and writers.

Average earnings of aboriginal artists in Canada, 2001: