Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Art and Artists on the Cheap

Taking advantage of artists and their passion for what they do is at the level of pitiful. There is a little advertised program run through the U.S. Department of State called Art Embassies. The ambassadors and curators attached to the embassies put up exhibitions and sponsor programs to bring a few artists overseas to meet and greet. Do they pay the artists for their work? No, how could we expect them to do that? The embassies also "borrow" artists' work for -- maybe -- three years at a time. This is the shocker: They don't even pay the artist a rental fee. If it were a sofa instead of an original creation, of course they would have to pay for it. No one expects a sofa for free! Not unless it's being thrown out. Original art, oh, that's different. Sure.

Just a few minutes ago, I saw an email from a local artist. I won't give you her name because...well...this is a small town. She is advertising for interns -- people to work for free. Again, that really irritating word. However, to apply for the non-paying jobs -- get this -- there is a $10 fee! Wow!

I don't even want to get knee-deep into the subject of artists being asked to donate their work to charity auctions. How glamorous to have the artists there in person, too. They are teased with the possibility of getting "known." Been there, done that, won't do it again. Years ago, an art teacher told me to NEVER give away my work for free. Anything given for free is considered of little or no value. True.

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