The Catholic University of America

Arty Facts: Facts on Art and Artist

Art & Communication is Part of the Mission of the Catholic Church

The rapid development of technology in the area of the media is surely one of the signs of progress in today’s society. In view of these innovations in continuous evolution, the words found in the Decree of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Inter Mirifica, promulgated by my venerable predecessor, the servant of God Paul VI, December 4, 1963, appear even more pertinent: “Man’s genius has with God’s help produced marvelous technical inventions from creation, especially in our times. The Church, our mother, is particularly interested in those which directly touch man’s spirit and which have opened up new avenues of easy communication of all kinds of news, of ideas and orientations.” More than forty years after the publication of that document, it appears appropriate to reflect on the “challenges” which the communications media constitute for the Church, which Paul VI said “would feel guilty before the Lord if she did not utilize these powerful means.” In fact, the Church is not only called upon to use mass media to spread the Gospel but, today more than ever, to integrate the message of salvation into the “new culture” that these powerful means of communication create and amplify. It tells us that the use of the techniques and the technologies of contemporary communications is an integral part of its mission in the third millennium.

Blessed Pope John-Paul I1

Church communities have always used modern media for fostering communication, engagement with society, and, increasingly, for encouraging dialogue at a wider level. Yet the recent, explosive growth and greater social impact of these media make them all the more important.… God’s loving care for all people in Christ must be expressed in the digital world not simply as an artifact from the past, or a learned theory, but as something concrete, present and engaging. …The development of the new technologies and the larger digital world represents a great resource for humanity as a whole and for every individual, and it can act as a stimulus to encounter and dialogue. But this development likewise represents a great opportunity for believers. No door can or should be closed to those who, in the name of the risen Christ, are committed to drawing near to others.

Pope Benedict XVI2

Education & Entrepreneurship

According to recent reports published by the NEA and the Department of Labor, the aggregate income of artists totals over $70 billion annually; and compared to other workers, American artists are better educated, and more entrepreneurial than their peers.3

Better Paid in a growing sector!

They are also significantly better paid than their cohorts when their professional expertise includes mastery of new technology, one of the most rapidly growing sectors of the economy today. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of designers, which constitute the single largest group of professional artists, has increased during the last decade by over 43%; and in the next four years, jobs for artists and designers are predicted to increase by another 42%. The median salaries of most creative professionals who employ new technology in their work are currently above the national average, often significantly. In 2011, for example, Independent Artists made an average mean wage of over $73,000; Art Directors earned $95,500 (up from $80,630 just three years ago); Creative Directors earned $90,000; and Commercial Designers earned $63,570.

Similarly, the 2011 median salary earned by over 28,000 Multimedia Artists and Animators in the US was over $68,000; of this group, workers in the Film and Video sector made an annual mean wage of $83,250.5

 


 

 

Footnotes:

1. Ioannes Paulis II, Apostolic Letter, The Rapid Development of the Holy Father John Paul II to those Responsible for Communications (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, January 24, 2005); on the internet at http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_letters/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_20050124_il-rapido-sviluppo_en.html (accessed June 11, 2012).

2. Benedictus XVI, MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE BENEDICT XVI FOR THE 44th WORLD COMMUNICATIONS DAY,”The Priest and Pastoral Ministry in a Digital World: New Media at the Service of the Word” (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, January 24,2010), on the internet at http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/messages/communications/documents/hf_ben-xvi_mes_20100124_44th-world-communications-day_en.html (accessed May 30, 2012).

3. National Endowment for the Arts, Artists in the Workforce, 1990-2005, Research Report #48, Washington, DC, 2008, on the internet at ArtistsInWorkforce (NEA).pdf (accessed June 10, 2012), iii-iv. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Arts and Design Occupations, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/home.htm(accessed June 10, 2012).

4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, “Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2011 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates United States, 27-0000, Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports and Media Occupations”, on the internet at http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm#27-0000 (accessed June 11, 2012).

5. As might be expected, US Department of Labor data shows that most mean annual wages in the arts correlate to the level of authority and expertise required by the artist’s employment. Thus in 2011, for example, Producers and Directors made on average $68,440, Film and Video Editors earned $45,500, and Photographers (independent and commercial, analog and digital alike) earned on average $36,580.