An Overview Of Kenya’s Art Industry

Art is a rich sector with potential to create employment to many youths and women across all cultures. In this column I will highlight some of the prominent sub-sectors in art, possible returns at an average scale and rate at which opportunities for selling artwork come. The eight most prominent industries in the sector of art include; craft industry, performing arts, designer fashions, photography, music industry, interior design, visual art and film. Some of these sub-sectors are complex while others are simple and less sophisticated yet each has its unique dynamics.

In the music industry, an average musician in Kenya is likely to record music every six months, get a gig at least once a month and earn averagely Kes.50,000 per gig. The average musician is likely to use live performances and side hustles to make ends meet as recording alone may not generate sufficient revenues to sustain them. On the other hand, an interior designer takes about two assignments a month and charge a fee ranging from Kes.80,000 to Kes.300,000 per assignment. Most interior designers work freelance or get hired by real estate companies.

Visual artists work in small teams, they open studios and sell paintings at a fee ranging from Kes.500 to Kes.150,000. They participate in competitions and market their art work online. Similarly, film makers work in larger teams of about 30 to 300 people but take longer to release a production. Film making requires large investments and involves complex work. A project is likely to cost an average of Kes.1,500,000 and take seven to eighteen months producing. Photographers work freelance and get gigs almost weekly. They are prominent on instagram and earn between Kes.40,000 to Kes.80,000 per month. They show up in events, photo shoots and adventure safaris. Some own studios.

The craft industry is largely associated with women from rich cultural backgrounds in rural parts of the country. They work cooperatively in groups, they make objects of craft such as baskets and sell them at very low prices. Youths are prominent in fashion design where they run labels with a network of tailors for their designs. Their sales are highly dependent on seasons and rely heavily on social media to advertise. Product pricing depends on their brands and they like participating in competitions. Art is a large sector but not without challenges especially in mobilizing capital, remaining competitive and appropriately pricing products of art.

Rick Okinda                                          

The writer is a Certified Accountant working with small business owners to deliver business plans that serve their management and financial needs. | rickokinda@gmail.com

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