A new report from a-n/AIR and DHA Communications sets out a framework for paying artists when they exhibit in publicly-funded galleries. Titled Building a clearer relationship between artists and galleries, the draft Exhibition Fee Framework and Guidelines is published with Recommendations for artists’ fees.

The draft draws on research and ongoing consultation with the sector since the launch of the Paying Artists campaign in May 2014.

The consultation was designed to better understand the challenges of paying artists and to develop a solution that can work for everyone. The process has included online surveys, interviews, discussions and case studies with artists, curators, gallery representatives and funders.

Findings from the 2015 Paying Artists consultation survey show that over 90% of artists and gallery respondents (total respondents 1,755) support the campaign’s key aim that artists should be paid for exhibiting in publicly-funded galleries. It also shows that more than 70% of galleries and 80% of artists want to see an accepted standard exhibition fee framework and guidelines to benchmark a fee range.

Informed by the 2015 findings, this draft framework balances three fundamental principles: artists’ need to make a professional income; galleries’ need to fulfil exhibition programmes; and galleries’ ability to pay. It is intended as a flexible aid in fee negotiations for use by artists, galleries, museums and funders.

Starting point

“These draft fee ranges are a starting point for discussion with artists, galleries and funders over the next two months,” said Jeanie Scott, Executive Director of a-n. “There will likely be some shift between these and what we present in a final framework later this year as we test them in real situations with galleries and artists – this is just the next step in the process to determine appropriate and achievable exhibition fees.”

Feedback from participants in this next testing phase will inform the final version of the framework which will be published later this year. The final framework will also set out an incremental approach to implementation.

“It’s important we end up with a flexible tool for artists and galleries negotiating fees – not a straitjacket – and we’re looking forward to working with artists, galleries and funders to finalise that in the coming months,” said Scott. “Ultimately it’s the artists who underpin the thriving ecology that is the visual arts in the UK and their contribution to that success must be recognised in fair fees.”

AIR Council member Joseph Young added: “As a working artist and member of the Paying Artists team, I have been involved with the campaign since the beginning.

“A workable system of exhibition fees for artists is vital for the future diversity of the sector, ensuring that artistic talent can emerge and thrive, based on ability and not on financial or family background. It is an agenda that is driven by fairness, and based on detailed research and ongoing conversations with artists and the galleries that support them.”

For more information visit www.payingartists.org.uk or email [email protected] 

Building a clearer relationship between artists and galleries

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