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File photo of art installation in Dublin Alamy
Arts

Basic income scheme makes artists happier and work harder, report finds

Arts Minister Catherine Martin said the scheme makes a “strong statement” about how Ireland values its artists.

ARTISTS GIVEN A basic income spend more time on their craft and are happier.

That is according to a new report by the Department of Arts, following a trial of a scheme that gave 2,000 Irish creatives a basic income while they pursued their art.

It was found that they invested €550 a month more on their creative practice, which covered costs such as marketing, work travel, and materials.

Their life satisfaction also increased, with artists on the scheme reporting less anxiety and depression than the control group.

Recipients of a basic income, which is a weekly €325, spent eight hours more per week on their art and worked marginally fewer hours in other industries.

This meant they were more likely to have created new works.

The €35 million scheme per year is being run by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.

Participants of the scheme were less likely than the control group to cite “low pay” or “lack of jobs or clients” as reasons for the inability to work in the arts, and were more likely to be able to afford basic necessities.

No impacts were found on the prevalence of unpaid work in the arts, the price of commissions, the likelihood to apply for arts funding or the prevalence of artistic residencies.

Arts Minister Catherine Martin said the scheme makes a “strong statement” about how Ireland values its artists.

“The instinct for artistic and creative expression is fundamental for all of us. Support for the arts and professional arts practice has been a key priority for me as Minister.”

The three-year pilot scheme began in 2022.

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