I’m now officially working with a-n The Artists Information Company’s Paying Artists Campaign for the east of England and London. You can download an artists’ campaign document, find out more about events and action related to the campaign, about other artist-activists throughout the UK, and more at the Paying Artists site. In short, 71% of artists surveyed about their work over the past three years received no fee for showing their work at publicly funded venues, i.e. those who received money from the UK arts councils and/or local government and who pay all their other staff. Of those artists who were paid anything at all, over a third of them received less than £200. 59% of unpaid artists did not even get their expenses reimbursed, so they were actually worse off than if they’d done nothing at all. Our work has monetary/economic, social and cultural value and we deserve to paid as much as anybody else who works for a living. Without artists, those venues who refuse to pay are eventually going to find that they’ve made themselves irrelevant. A bit embarrassing for your public art gallery to have no art and no public in it, don’t you think?
- If you’re an East Anglian or Londonian artist, or if you work for a publicly funded venue in these places and you’d like private– if necesssary, confidential– advice about fair pay for artists and other arts workers, what the campaign is about, best practice, or anything else, please contact me.
- If you’re a publicly funded institution in London or the east of England and you’d like somebody to speak on this subject at an event or seminar, I’m your man. At the end of last year I conducted a very successful large scale and… let’s say, lively event on this subject in Norwich, related to Living Wage Week. We need more like it, more voices, more perspectives, more discussion. Nobody’s under attack; venues and artists all have the same goal of sharing with the public the best possible work by a diverse range of the best contemporary artists.
- I’m also happy to come and see you for a private meeting, whether you’re trying to find some way to make fair pay for artists happen, or you already are paying artists so you want everybody to know it.
We all know there are some proper wrong ‘uns out there, including some of the really big sheds who should know better, so positive case studies about publicly funded good guys will definitely be welcomed, named and famed by a-n. It can be done if the will is there among people who work in the funded sector, and if artists stand up for themselves.