Visual Artists Payment Guidelines

The Guidelines

In consultation with artists, arts organisations and funding bodies, as well as key expert organisations internationally, the following guidelines were drawn up to enable venues and artists calculate equitable levels of payments, properly budget for their programmes and for the variety of work that professional artists undertake in not for profit spaces.

Visual Artists Ireland had undertaken research both inside and outside of Ireland to create this set of guidelines for payments for professional visual artists. The figures provided are an indicator of the level of payment. Organisations may provide slightly more or slightly less than the amount shown. What will be paid for and the level of fees should be made clear in initial correspondence; contracts; and any advertising that takes place. (see contracts).


In October, November, and December 2012 Visual Artists Ireland undertook a survey to look at the reality of artists being paid for work and exhibitions. In total 147 artists who are actively exhibiting completed the survey. The survey took into consideration exhibitions and work in Ireland both in publically funded not for profit spaces as well as the commercial sector.

In terms of exhibitions in the not for profit sector, this equated to 781 exhibition opportunities realised. We use this term as different artists may have appeared in the same exhibition. The survey asked artists to give details of the exhibition fee that they received from their top five shows in the year.

The initial results of the survey revealed that out of 580 exhibition opportunities covered in the survey, 79.66% provided no fee to the artist for their participation. Further figures indicated that production costs were not met in many cases, and in a large percentage (43.3%) of cases, artists were asked to either pay or contribute to the administration costs of their exhibitions.  77.8% of artists received no fee for education or outreach programmes. Of these 31.9% received a contribution towards travel expenses for these events.

The situation of artists being expected to exhibit and provide education and other support services for free is not a new one. However, to date it has been anecdotal. This survey revealed the endemic reality.

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