Public art grows on back of housing boom

New survey shows uneven regional picture


Public art in England has grown in value from around to around £70m in 2015. That’s an increase since 2013 of more than £22m and the sector now has more 1,200 people working in a full-time, a part-time or a freelance capacity. This is a significant increase from around 900 people in 2013.

These are the headline figures for a new survey by Ixia, the public art consultancy.

The survey shows that the economic recovery, particularly in the construction sector has led to more projects, more work for artists and consultants and an increase in the value of the public art sector in England.

However it also suggests that the benefits have been uneven , with evidence of a sharp regional divide.  Around 57% of public art projects happen in London, the South East and the South West, which are home to 41% of the population.

In this, its fourth public art survey, ixia says that the main driver for public art continued to be the planning system which demands that developers spend a proportion of their development finance on public art.  

The survey shows that 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.

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