Recently, while signing up to do some workshops in various parts of the country, it was assumed I'd do a lecture/slide show, this was always thrown into the contract. I was always asked to put a rate for my workshop and I also put in a rate for the lecture. These ended up being canceled while the workshops are a go. Preparing for a workshop is a very different beast than that of a lecture. Presumably, I have something interesting to presumably I have something interesting to say and show. Our Guild in San Francisco, has policies and rates that we pay presenters so I didn't think I was coming out of left field. I am a working artist and whether I teach, sell my work, or lecture...the "whole" of it, encompasses how I make my living. Many artists I know practice their art professionally, make decisions based on business practices (ie: using contracts, requiring a gallery have insurance, etc...). Surely D i c k Cheney gets a fee for speaking...Do I, or craft artists in general, have any value?

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I did not put in the stars for Cheney....clearly the system thought I was saying something foul.

The system is rigged :-) but I tweaked his name a bit and now you are fine.

it's funny in a  variety of ways.

thank you.


The system's opinion of Dick Cheney's offensiveness notwithstanding, your point, Alison, is well taken.  I am also struck that the lack of compensation for our skills is something that we do to ourselves. By that I mean not only the complicity of arts organizations in continuing a system whereby our time and skill is not valued, but all artists who also complacently accept such an arrangement. When we stand up for ourselves our leading organizations will surely stand up and follow as well.

Ideas have consequences.

I couldn't agree with you more...that we feed the problem. Our local guild pays lecturers so I had a base (or role model) to stand on and I won't be doing the lectures for free, but the workshops will go on. This situation is in the realm of "professional practices" and recently the subject of galleries not having insurance for a show came up, "no insurance, no show." There are a variety of situations where we must stand our ground and push organizations to do so as well. Enough with the "starving artist" scenario!

Any professional presentation should expect appropriate financial compensation, unless it is offered pro-bono by the presenter for a charitable cause or a not for profit organization.

The problem here is not only with the Academic institutions and Guilds who expect presenters to provide something extra without compensation for time and value, but as John mentions, it is equally the blame of those who are willing to accommodate that expectation.

Many venues are quite acclimated to paying well below professional scale for workshop instructors simply because the majority of their visiting artists are not professionals, they are academics. Making a few extra dollars and the perceived "prestige" of being a visiting artist is an extra bonus for many academic presenters, and unfortunately, those who don't earn a living as a professional probably don't expect compensation as one.  Those who are willing to work for less than what they are worth are undervaluing their expertise.

My terms as a professional educator/presenter include use of my contract and a substantial non-refundable advance deposit to schedule an event. Those conditions and expectations haven't presented any real obstacle for me as an independent professional service provider. There has been an occasional venue that has not been able to come to terms with my expectations, which is fine. Those who wish to engage me are always able to find a way to meet my requirements. 


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