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How Do Artists Make Money?

How Do Artists Make Money?

Valerie Atkisson | ArtBistro

Public Commissions

Artists are commissioned for public art usually in connection with a new building or construction project. Many states have a law that specifies that 1% of the total building cost go to art for the building. Usually state and city art groups have the latest information of what program is currently accepting applications.

There are also private funds for public art like The Public Art Fund and Percent for Art. When artists get a public work commission, they typically get 20% of the total cost of the project as an artist’s fee.

READ: How to Win Public Commissions.


There are many grants for artists. They are very competitive to get, but as one mentor of mine advised me, “Don’t give up until you have applied ten times.” Grants vary in how much money they award. Some grants are privately funded and some are publicly funded. Some are given for a specific project that you propose and some are given outright for the work that you do.

Read: Our guide on how to successfully apply for a grant.

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