A link on Poetry Daily led me to this article on how artists are faring in the recession.
According to the New York Times, artists (in the broadest sense of the word, including writers, musicians, painters etc) are already a struggling group, as two thirds earn less than $40,000 a year, and only six per cent earn more than $80,000 a year. That didn't strike me as very remarkable. When those figures are translated into New Zealand dollars, it would probably be true of all New Zealanders in all jobs that two thirds earn less than $40,000 a year, and fewer than six per cent more than $80,000 a year.
As for artists, if there are any at all earning that much, they would be pretty unusual. (Except that the article included architects, who I think of as professionals rather than artists - more akin to engineers.)
My guess is that artists in New Zealand are doing the same thing in the recession as they do at any other time - working a day job in another field to survive. And yes, I include teaching as a different field. Even if you are teaching creative writing, or art, teaching is not the same as doing.