Artists across Canada have voted in record numbers to ratify Canada’s first scale agreement for visual artists at the National Gallery of Canada. The agreement sets out mandatory minimum fees and working conditions offered to artists by the gallery. It means that any living Canadian artist who exhibits or has their artworks used by the National Gallery of Canada must be paid the rates that have been negotiated, as a minimum. Artists remain free to negotiate above these minimums, but they can never be offered less. More details can be found here: www.carfac.ca/2015/02/voteresults/lang-pref/en
This agreement is similar to the MU agreement adopted by the Swedish government in 2009. The MU agreement – a ‘participation and exhibition remuneration agreement’ – covers payment to artists for display of work, as a kind of ‘rent’. This is additional to other kinds of financial compensation for an exhibition, such as transport, installation, publication, etc. The agreement makes it clear that all work the artist undertakes at exhibitions – before, during and after the show – is to be governed by a written contract and remunerated outside the framework of the exhibition fee.
Canada and Sweden join Ireland in being at the forefront of developing structures for delivering Exhibition Payment Rights agreements for artists. In September 2013, we at Visual Artists Ireland launched Payment Guidelines for Professional Visual Artists which have since been endorsed by The Arts Council and Dublin City Council. Venues and artists are now able to calculate equitable levels of payments, and correctly budget for a variety of artistic programmes that are undertaken in not for profit spaces.