Differences Between Artists And Cultural Workers

Table of Contents

What differentiates an artist from a cultural worker in Canada? In this article we will discuss what it means to be an artist and what it means to be a cultural worker. We will explore the differences and similarities of the occupations.

What Are Artists?

To begin with, what classifies an artist? Artists includes: actors, comedians, artisans, craftsperson, authors, writers, conductors, composers, arrangers, dancers, musicians, singers, other performers, painters, sculptors, other visual artists, producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations. However, an artist that is then employed to teach art, whether that be elementary to high-school, or college/university professors, are classified as teachers or professors, and therefore, not included to the count of artists. 

Differences Between Artists And Cultural Workers

What Are Cultural Workers?

Now we know what an artist is. Our next question is what is a cultural worker, and what makes them different from artists? Cultural workers include creative, production, technical and management occupations in the areas of broadcasting, film and video, sound recording, performing arts, publishing, printing, libraries, archives, heritage, architecture and design. 

In other words, cultural workers are not creatives, instead upholding a tradition or culture whereas artists are creatives because they explore new ideas.  

Differences Between Artists And Cultural Workers
Differences Between Artists And Cultural Workers

Responsibilities of Artists Versus Cultural Workers

Artists believe it is their responsibility to create and discover new forms of art. Cultural workers stand firm, protecting and upholding artistic culture. The main quality that separates the two, is one is a creative and the other a non-creative. Of course, that is not to say that cultural workers are not creative at all. The creative’s life purpose is to explore the world of art without chains to bind them to tradition. They explore new ideas, new styles of art, and look into the future with regards to artistic capability. The cultural worker’s purpose is to uphold and maintain the normalcy within certain areas of art which already exist. They protect these ideas in hopes that the future generations will find inspiration. In short, they protect the fundamental ideologies of art. 

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How much do they earn?

Many artists are, in fact, self-employed, and are 3.6 times more likely compared to other workers to be self-employed. The self-employment rates are more than 50% for fine artists and photographers. In the city of Mississauga, the median earnings of artists are $13,000. The median earnings of all Ontario artists are only slightly above than Mississauga’s at $13,900. Top reasons why artists report preferring self-employed are: flexibility of schedule, enjoying being their own boss and the independence. A lot of self-employed artists include: photographers, fine artists, writers and authors, musicians, and other entertainers. 

Across Canada, the total individual income of all 136,600 artists averages at $32,800. Artists in the largest cities such as Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal, have the highest average incomes at $36,000. 

There is no doubt that there is a relationship between a city’s population and the average income of cultural workers. To put into simpler terms, the bigger the city, the higher the average income of a cultural worker. In city with only 50,000 residents or fewer, a cultural worker‘s average incomes in $39,300. In a city with more than 500,000 residents, a cultural workers’ average incomes is $44,000. 

Canadian Cities with the Most Artists 

In Canada, cities with the highest concentration of artists (in no particular order) are: Victoria, Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. Toronto, the largest city in Canada, has the largest number of artists. Toronto has approximately 23,700 artists, twice as many as the other cities previously listed. Although there are only about 1,100 artists in Victoria, this city in British Columbia has the highest concentration of artists at 2.36%, while Toronto is at 1.76%.

Canadian Cities with the Most Cultural Workers

Canadian cities with the most cultural workers are identical to the Canadian cities with the most artists which are (in order): Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto, and Montreal. 

At 8.54%, Vancouver ranks first place at the highest concentration of cultural workers. Vancouver is followed by Victoria at 8.35%, Toronto at 7.2%, and Montreal at 6.91%, according to HillStrategies

Artists and Cultural Workers in Mississauga

In the whole of Ontario, there are approximately 56,900 artists. This i nearly twice as many artists as any other province in Canada. About 2,300 of these said artists reside in the city of Mississauga. In terms of cultural workers, there are approximately 240,300 of them in Ontario, and about 11,800 cultural workers in Mississauga. 

 Among Mississauga artists, women are the majority with around 1,240 female artists, representing 54% of all artists in the city. Of the 2,300 artists in Mississauga, 35% of them have attained a bachelor’s degree or higher. 

Fine arts is the most common major among college-educated visual artists. Other common undergraduate majors among artists include commercial art and graphic design, English language and literature, music, and architecture. 

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What is the NOC? 

The NOC (National Occupational Classification) which is a system to classify jobs and occupations. Jobs are grouped into training, education, experience and responsibilities based on the type of job duties and the work a person does. These are categorized under TEERS.

  • TEER 0 would be management occupations which includes: advertising, marketing and public relations managers, and financial managers. 
  • TEER 1 are occupations that would usually require a university degree such as financial advisors and software engineers. 
  • TEER 2 are occupations that would usually require a college diploma, apprenticeship training of 2 or more years, or supervisory occupations. For example: computer network and web technicians, and medical laboratory technologists. 

If you are curious to find out what your NOC is, on the website you can find your job title, code, and TEER. 

What is the NAICS?

The NAICS which stands for North American Industry Classification System is an industry classification system developed by the statistical agencies of Canada, United States, and Mexico. The system is designed to provide common definitions of the industrial structure of the three countries and a common statistical framework to facilitate the analysis of the three economies. 

One feature of the NAICS is a section for professional, scientific, and technical services. It comprises establishments engaged in activities where human capital is the major input. For instance, there is a sector for arts, entertainment, and recreational interests of patrons. 

The problem with these classification systems, however, is that it generalizes and categorizes an artist or cultural worker to the closest match. The NHS, also known as the “National Household Survey”, has a limitation for counting artists, even though it is one of the best available sources of information on artists in Canada. For instance, the authors and writers category is not the perfect fit for artists because this occupation group includes a broader range of writers than just novelists, poets, and other “artistic” writers while at the same time, excludes the journalists. Another example of an occupational group that is not a perfect fit for artists is that there is no distinct category for filmmakers or other media artists. The closest would be “Producers, directors, choreographers, and related occupations”. 

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