Not Making a Living

Article excerpt

The discussion group for arts professionals, Making a Living (MAL), which campaigns on behalf of artists, has issued an open letter calling for examples of best practice on the part of publicly funded organisations in their financial dealings with artists. The eventual goal is to offer enlightened institutions a MAL seal of approval. Following the report into artists' employment opportunities by a-n The Artists Information Company (Artnotes AM347), the group invited its members to share their experiences of working with publicly funded organisations and concluded that 'it has become clear to us that there are numerous examples of the non-payment or underpayment of artists working with subsidised galleries across the UK', adding the damning conclusion that 'this poor practice was rife during the "boom" in arts funding, long before the cuts'. www.malorganise.com

Advocating fair pay for artists is hardly new although the current economic climate certainly exacerbates the issue--and there are many organisations internationally that have a long history of such campaigning. Perhaps the most well known of these is WAGE (Working Artists and the Greater Economy), which presented its own seal of approval for the first time in 2009 when the 'Free' exhibition at New York's New Museum was officially WAGE-certified, guaranteeing every exhibitor a fee rather than simply expenses. …