Securing a future for visual artists in the UK.
Artists should be paid for what they do. In many cases they are not. OK, some of the big names make very large amounts of money from the sale of their work or the commissions their galleries connect them to, but on the whole, the vast majority (the 'others') are either unpaid or extremely badly paid. However, artists not only have a cultural impact on our society, but a demonstrable financial impact.
The 500,000 visitors to the Hepworth Wakefield, during its first year, contributed an estimated £10 million to the local economy in Wakefield and a recent economic impact of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park estimated its annual contribution to the local economy to be £5 million. Those are findings from the Local Government Association 2013.
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So why do we undervalue artists? If you are involved in the visual arts you have probably been in a position where you were offered an exhibition but no fee. 63% of artists have had to turn down requests from galleries to exhibit their work because they cannot afford to do so without pay. That astounding fact comes for "Paying Artists: Phase 1 Findings, a-n/DHA" and is part of a report on the issue put together by a-n The Artist Information Company.
The UK does seem to be struggling in this area. In Norway, artists are paid for exhibition of their work, based on the number of artworks shown and the duration of the exhibition. In Canada, artists have a legislatively-enshrined right to compensation for the use of their works in public exhibitions.
There is currently a campaign to improve this situation organised by a-n, their dedicated site has some valuable statistics and information about how you can help. Sign up for their newsletter for up-to-date information or download the informative research document. Major artists, institutions and organisations are supporting the campaign to pay artist. You can help too.
More information from: www.payingartists.org.uk