ARTISTS REMUNERATION

 

 

Before going any further it is important to consider remuneration.

 

An advantage of working in this sector is the diversification of funding streams that may be available. However, this may also mean working with, or being funded by, organisations with less experience of working with artists who may underestimate the complexity of the work, the expertise required, the scope of the tasks, and the resources required to do that effectively.

 

Nonetheless this can occur with arts organisations as much as any other, and it is not necessarily to assume that a community organisation would not value an artist's expertise or have any less understanding of professional fees. 

While funding for a project may be available from the outset, more often it is not, and a great deal of work may be required to put forward a funding application, or to develop the first steps of any project.  It’s important not to underestimate the work involved in bringing the project through its first steps and it is important to clarify the situation as regards payment for this stage, and/or subsequent stages once funding is secured.

A number of factors are important to consider here. 

If you, the artist, are the originator of the project, while you may include a fee for yourself in budget plans, it is only when you have successfully secured funding yourself, or as part of a partnership you put together, that you can expect to be paid. Until then, you are effectively volunteering your services.

If on the other hand you have been invited to bring your expertise to a project by another party, then they have an obligation to ensure that you are remunerated appropriately for the work that you do. However, as already mentioned, depending on their knowledge and experience, it may be up to you to make them aware of what is involved and how much you expect to be paid. A community group may not know how long a planning process might take, how much of your expertise would be required and how much that is likely to cost, whereas a local authority arts office would. 

In most circumstances you may be expected to engage in one or two initial meetings or conversations to establish whether there is the basis for a project and the nature and scope of it. Subsequent to that, unless you are voluntarily deciding to provide your expertise and services for free –which you may wish to do– you should expect to be paid.

While many organisations have fixed rates that they pay, this is usually where the artist is undertaking the role of tutor or facilitator for a specified number of hours and a specified purpose. For atypical or bespoke projects that require different and multiple roles, these basic hourly fees might be useful, but ultimately insufficient for you to determine your overall fee. If you are unsure, discuss it with other artists, your local arts office or contact organisations such as Create, Visual Artists Ireland, Contemporary Music Centre etc.

In determining your fee, consider the different tasks, responsibilities, time and other commitments you are agreeing to undertake and those of the other project partners. Experienced artists undertaking projects of scale may sub-contract a producer to undertake certain management tasks and include this cost in their fee. For most projects though, and particularly for emerging artists, it is more common to be involved in smaller projects with smaller budgets where that is not the case and so it is crucial to be clear about what you are capable of and prepared to do, and to be clear about the commitment to other tasks by other people involved in the project and that this is agreed.

While Artist’s Exemption exists for artists registered with the Revenue Commissioners for commissions and sales of work; workshops and other income may be subject to Income Tax and this should be taken into consideration in your costings. If you are being paid by a local authority or government agency this may be deducted from your payment at source (Withholding Tax) and repaid to you by the Revenue Commissioner following an annual return you make to them at the end of the tax year.