Today I was reading an article by Scott Timberg on salon.com, No sympathy for the creative class, and I was reminded of this Craigslist ad that a friend recently showed me.
"They’re pampered, privileged, indulged – part of the 'cultural elite,'" writes Timberg. "They spend all their time smoking pot and sipping absinthe. To use a term that’s acquired currency lately, they’re entitled. (...) This what we hear about artists, architects, musicians, writers and others like them. And it’s part of the reason the struggles of the creative class in the 21st century – a period in which an economic crash, social shifts and technological change have put everyone from graphic artists to jazz musicians to book publishers out of work – has gone largely untold. Or been shrugged off.
Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen write anthems about the travails of the working man (...) Taxpayers bail out the auto industry and Wall Street and the banks. There’s a sense that manufacturing, or the agrarian economy, is what this country is really about. But culture was, for a while, what America did best: We produce and export creativity around the world. So why aren’t we lamenting the plight of its practitioners? Bureau of Labor Statistics confirm that creative industries have been some of the hardest hit during the Bush years and the Great Recession. But when someone employed in the world of culture loses a job, he or she feels easier to sneer at than a steel worker or auto worker. (...) The musicians, actors and other artists we hear about tend to be fabulously successful. But the daily reality for the vast majority of the working artists in this country has little to do with Angelina Jolie or her perfectly toned right leg. “Artists in the Workforce,” a National Endowment for the Arts report released in 2008, before the Great Recession sliced and diced this class, showed the reality of the creative life. While most of the artists surveyed had college degrees, they earned — with a median income, in 2003-’05, of $34,800 — less than the average professional. Dancers made, on average, a mere $15,000. (More than a quarter of the artists in the 11 fields surveyed live in New York and California, two of the nation’s most expensive states, where that money runs out fast. The report has not been updated since 2008.)
'What does it mean in America to be a successful artist?' asks Dana Gioia, the poet who oversaw the study while NEA chairman. 'Essentially, these are working-class people – a lot of them have second jobs. They’re highly trained – dancers, singers, actors – and they don’t make a lot of money. They make tremendous sacrifices for their work. They’re people who should have our respect, the same as a farmer. We don’t want a society without them.'"
Read the rest of the article HERE.