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Spending on visual arts and craft has grown 26% since 2004. With 11 million attendances annually, exhibitions draw bigger crowds than the footy (10 million). More than 1.65 million Australians attend Indigenous visual art exhibitions and events each year. These are just some of the facts drawn together in the Australia Council’s new digital resource, Art Facts: Visual Arts.

Art Facts: Visual Arts outlines the story of the visual arts and craft sector in numbers. As an interactive website, it brings together facts, figures and research from across Australia to inspire people to discover and share facts about visual arts and crafts, sparking quality debate about this important area of Australian culture.

Art Facts provides the arts sector with a one stop shop’ for data that has until now only been available in separate reports, including the latest statistical data from the Australia Council, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and industry research reports. The visual arts are the second sector to go under the Art Facts spotlight, following Art Facts: Music, which was released in 2012.

While there are a range of reports, facts and figures out there on the arts, Art Facts provides the crucial step of consolidating them in one place, allowing people to examine and compare the figures in new ways.’ says Australia Council Chair Mr Rupert Myer AM. The Art Facts research program is a rich resource for deepening our understanding of the arts, sector by sector.’

This edition on the visual arts includes analysis of the latest available statistics about visual arts creation, industry, global trade, participation and support.

One thing that’s clear is the deep engagement Australians have with visual arts and crafts,’ says Mr Myer. The visual arts and craft are some of the most popular cultural activities in Australia and, in terms of creativity, there are more Australians creating visual arts and crafts than any other type of art.’

Australian household spending on the visual arts is also on the rise with people now spending more on paintings, carvings and sculptures, art and craft materials, and art gallery and museum admission tickets,’ says Mr Myer.

Many visual artists prefer to practice in regional areas. Like many other types of artists visual artists tend to earn low incomes. Significantly many visual artists also contribute their skills to areas outside of the visual arts.

Visual artists are also valued in other industries, with 20% applying their artistic skills in the creative industries, such as advertising, design and architecture; and another 20% contributing them to non cultural sectors,’ says Ms Libby Christie, Acting Chief Executive of the Australia Council.

With facts about music already available, the Art Facts website will grow to include key facts about all artforms, with other artforms being added throughout 2013. Art Facts will become a permanent resource for development of more rigorous understanding of Australian arts through data and analysis.

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