Artist remuneration guidelines
Arts Tasmania expects that arts professionals are paid fairly for their work.
These guidelines have been prepared by Arts Tasmania for anyone employing or engaging professional artists.
An artist fee is financial compensation for expertise, time, services and provision of equipment.
The artist fee is distinct from basic programming costs and services, production expenses, and the purchase of artworks or copyright. Payment of an artist fee does not imply the transfer of ownership or rights from artist to the contracting party. Any transfer of ownership or rights must be negotiated between the artist and the contracting party under a separate agreement.
When employing artists, organisations should provide a contract with each artist that specifies:
- the commercial terms of the relationship
- who will bear specific costs
- who manages the artist’s copyright in the works, and
- any other mutual expectations.
Purchase of copyright and broadcast rights
The purchase of copyright on an artist’s work should be the subject of an additional negotiation. The Arts Law Centre of Australia, the Australian Copyright Council, the Copyright Agency, and APRA/AMCOS provide useful advice to artists on how to structure payments.
Broadcast rights should be retained by the artist. If an organiser wishes to broadcast a performance, it should be the subject of an additional negotiation and fair payment.
Programming costs and services
Basic programming costs and services are those associated with the basic requirements of mounting programs. They may include:
- provision and preparation of an exhibition, performance, or projection space
- any shipping and insurance costs
- presentation infrastructure (such as display equipment, exhibition furniture, lighting)
- documentation and evaluation of an exhibition or event
- promotion of exhibition or event
- any travel and accommodation
- obtaining and paying for image rights for commissioned and existing texts.
Production costs may include:
- fabrication of work
- specialised installation expenses above and beyond basic programming costs and services
- studio and equipment rental
- subcontracted labour by graphic designers, performers, lighting designers, etc.
- provision of public address systems and backline equipment.
Working pro bono and charities
Some artists choose to do a limited number of events in any given period pro bono, or to donate artworks for causes that they wish to support. Where an artist agrees to a pro bono event, or donate artworks or time, organisers should cover their travel and other costs. These costs may include accommodation, freight, property insurance and meals.
Organisers should ensure they have appropriate insurance (including Workers Compensation, Public Liability, Volunteers Insurance and others) to cover artists and their work.
From time to time artists may agree to work together on projects for a share of project profits or for a return that may not be financial. These agreements are often cooperative and are formed to ensure that a project can be realised. Profit share arrangements must be transparent, with all participants agreeing to the proposed fee structure.
Where an artist is required to be away from home overnight, we encourage organisations to provide a daily payment to cover living expenses. The Australian Tax Office has guidelines available around per diems and allowances.
Rates of pay for artists and arts workers
The payment of artists and arts workers should meet the minimum standards as set out by industrial awards and agreements, such as those monitored by the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance. In other cases, arts industry organisations such as the Australian Writers’ Guild, the Australian Society of Authors and the National Association for the Visual Arts have recommended appropriate industry standards. Where an industry standard clearly applies, organisations, groups and collaborations engaging artists and arts workers are expected to meet those rates of pay.
If you are contracting artists or arts workers and more than half the dollar value of the contract is for their labour, you may be required to provide superannuation. Please see the Australian Taxation Office’s guidelines on contractors for guidelines around the payment of superannuation.