ixia’s Public Art Survey 2015: Summary

More projects, more work for artists and consultants and an increase in the value of the public art sector in England, which continues to be driven by private sector money aligned to public sector policy via the planning system. However, there is evidence of a sharp regional divide with around 57% of public art projects happening in London, the South East and the South West, which are home to 41% of the population.

At the end of 2015, ixia undertook its fourth public art survey. As before, it has to be stressed that a dominant characteristic of the public art sector is that it is non-institutional and fragmented: encompassing a variety of disciplines; involving a diverse range of public and private sector organisations; embracing a wide range of work/employment contexts; and subject to varying degrees of economic lag, which makes quantitative analysis challenging.

The key findings of the survey are:

During 2015, between 1,200 and 1,300 people were working in the sector in a full-time, a part-time or a freelance capacity. This is a significant increase from around 900 people in 2013, and is similar to the amount we estimated for 2011.

We estimate that the overall value of the sector increased from around £58m in 2013 to around £70m in 2015.

The main driver for public art continued to be private sector money aligned to public sector policy, especially the planning system. The recovery in the housing and development sectors and the inclusion of cultural well-being and public art within national planning policies and guidance appear to have generated more funding and opportunities for public art at a local level.

Overall, the age profile of the workforce continued to increase. Since 2011, those in the 25 to 44 age group have decreased from 45% to 34%, whilst those in the 45 to 64 age group have increased from 49% to 56%.

The survey continued to show a predominantly female workforce: 65% female and 35% male (the overall average from 2011 to 2015 was 63% female and 37% male), with the female age profile being distinctly younger than the male age profile.

Per head of population, there was a large disparity between the spread of new public art projects. For London, the South West and the South East the average was 28 new projects per million people and for the rest of England the average was 15 new projects per million people. The South West was the highest with 39 new projects per million people, whereas the East was the lowest with 10 new projects per million people, although these were of higher monetary value.

Click here to download the full summary and key findings.