NSW is the State with the highest proportion of Australia’s arts practitioners and cultural workforce.
The most recent detailed studies of Australia’s artists were by the Australia Council and were published in 2010 – What’s your other job?, A Census analysis of arts employment in Australia (Stuart Cunningham & Peter Higgs) and Do you really expect to be paid?, An economic study of professional artists in Australia (David Throsby and Anita Zednik).
NSW has around 37,000 people employed in cultural occupations, representing 37.9% of the national arts workforce (Cunningham and Higgs 2010).
Of these, about 15,000 may be classified as individual artists who are self employed or work for organisations (dance and theatre companies and orchestras, for example).
While this group of people are involved in over 120 types of jobs, these generally fall into the larger categories of writers, visual artists, craft practitioners, actors and directors, dancers and choreographers, musicians and singers, composers, songwriters and arrangers and community cultural development workers (Throsby and Zednik, 2010).
NSW artists are, on average, highly educated and hold tertiary qualifications. Many undertake other work apart from their creative activities in order to make a living.