Inuit art contributed $87.2 million to the Canadian economy in 2015, according to a trailblazing study released today.
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada announced the results of the Impact of the Inuit Arts Economy (IIAE) report at the Polar Bear Suite of the Hotel Arctic in Iqaluit, Nunavut. The report, prepared by Big River Analytics, is the first study to specifically look at different impacts across all regions of Inuit Nunangat and southern Canada, as well as differences between artistic disciplines, and so provides a fairly comprehensive view of the arts economy. Furthermore, the study is the first of its kind to consider art produced by artists for their own use and for the use of their family and friends, as opposed to income, which is a significant component of the Inuit arts economy.
The study found that 4,230 Inuit artists are working across Canada, predominately in Inuit Nunangat, in 2,700 full-time job equivalents. The total contribution of artists in Nunavut to the Canadian economy across all disciplines was $49,761,347; Nunavik had striking contributions totalling $13,265,290; Nunatsiavut totalled $4,792,990; and the Inuvialuit Settlement Region contributed a total of $4,719,504. Finally, artists in southern Canada contributed a significant amount of $14,686,449.
The IIAE outlines the strength of the arts economy, but also explores what is necessary for the Inuit art market for even more growth, expansion and exposure, such as supporting businesses in the arts sectors in their beginning stages. Regardless of the demonstrated successes and clear potential for success of Inuit arts, funding is still essential for many businesses, even ones that do have prominent economic contributions.
The study ultimately expresses the imperative value of the Inuit art market, and how important it is that it is recognized for its value and support. The potential for the Inuit arts market in all facets is immense, and with support can flourish across all disciplines.
The release of the IIAE study coincided with the official transfer of the Igloo Tag Trademark to the Inuit Art Foundation. The IIAE reports that the iconic trademark adds an estimated $3.5 million annually to the Inuit arts economy and is widely recognized by artists, collectors and distributors alike.