Please Do Not Ask Artists to Work For Free

Society finds it acceptable to ask an artist to give away their work, skills and talents. Many artists are asked to donate their work to events to help them raise money. They tell the artist it will help them to promote their work in exchange for monetary compensation. We do not hear an organization asking a surgeon to perform an operation for free so that it can advance his/her practice. The government also participates in discounting the artist’s talents as well. When an artist does donate a piece of work, they are only allowed to claim the cost of the materials on their taxes not the time, education and talent that goes into creating the piece. Society deems other professions such as doctors, lawyers, and CEOs as worthy. Society does not ask a CEO to donate whatever it is they have to offer for free, but they will ask a musician to play for their organization for free without any consideration; or ask a writer to create copy, or a designer to make their brochure and think that the artist should be thankful for the opportunity.

This article can help get the message out that artists have value and to stop the practice of asking artists to give away their work. Professional artists need to be respected like any other professional in our society.

  • Agreed. Art is a broader term than just painting though. Writing I an art too, and writers get the same rep which a lot of people here at the Artifice can relate to. I advise whoever takes this up to talk about art in the more general term as well to get the word out. – SpectreWriter 9 years ago
  • I absolutely agree. As a musician, I am often asked to play for free. Your comment about taxes interests me, as I never even considered that a charitable performance could be claimed (and maybe it wouldn't be accepted?). I often hear photographers discussing how their work is undervalued. I think it can be tempting to offer your services for free if you want to support a certain cause or event, but we have to be mindful of how this can serve to devalue our fellow artists' work. – corrigation 9 years ago
  • In the article, because it may come up in the comments, one might want to address why it is we write on this website for free. We obviously put time and effort into our writing so why do we volunteer to do it here without compensation? I think it's a line between other people's expectations of it's worth and ours; we aren't getting asked to do so, it's our choice to share our voice on a particular subject that would otherwise not get read by others. – Slaidey 9 years ago

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