Here at Cultivate we have never agreed with the blood-sucking practice of charging artists just to submit work. We do not agree with the practice, we oppose the practice, we stand against the practice. One of the reasons Cultivate was set up in the first place was to counteract the frustration and the feeling that galleries were making their money by exploiting us artists rather than working with us artists.
As a working artist I have no problem with being asked to share the (reasonable and fair non-profit making) costs of putting on a show, I don’t mind sharing reasonable costs with everyone else when it comes to covering the expense of putting on an exhibition or event that I am actually showing work in. Indeed as working artists running a space, we all share the costs together at Cultivate – our group shows have run like that, we currently run Cultivate Evolved by sharing the monthly costs equally between us all.
We will never charge artists just to submit work (via an e.mail or a j.peg or any other selection process), we will never attempt to make money by charging submission fees to artists wanting to show at our events. We will not attempt to profit out of artists other than by (hopefully) making money via a fair and reasonable commission (we current ask for 20%) should anything sell at Cultivate).
This week I pulled out of a London show being put on by a fellow working artist, an artist who has previously shown work at Cultivate, a fellow artist I like and respect both as a painter and as a person, an artist who is currently running an event that involves charging artists a fee to merely submit work and go through a selection process. Now he hadn’t asked me to pay a submission fee, and I was rather looking forward to taking part in one of the shows, they looked kind of exciting, disappointed to not be involved. Had to pull out though, found out there a submission fee being charged to others and frankly it would have been hypocritical of me, after things I’ve said in the past, to take part in the show.
Time for artists to unite and say no to this practice of charging submission fees, especially when that practice is practiced by a working artist. We kind of expect these dubious practices from those galleries run by those non-artist gallerist creatures who seek to exploit us, we’d like to hope a working artist would resist the temptation of a quick earner at the expense of the rest of us. We’re sick of the practice, we’re sick of submission fees, they’re an easy way to make a quick buck, far too easyto fund yourself a winter break out of your summer salon or your this-and-that art prize or whatever you want call it, We’re sick of submission fees, of retainer fees, we’re sick overpriced cattle market art fair fees and the rest, we’re sick of the way artists are treated in this town,
Time to make a stand, time for artists to united and collectively say no, time for artists to wise up, stand up and say no to submission fees, time for artists to stop saying things like “but there’s no other way to get my art out there, I have to pay” There is another way, come together and do it yourselves, we have, it can be done. .
Rather disappointed to see a fellow artist charging submission fees for his events, rather surprised to see the names turning a blind eye and taking part in the events anyway. Time artists started making a united stand and saying no. I hope he has a re-think, he is a good guy, I hope he has a re-think and we can work together again at some point in the future, I hope a few more of my fellow artists will have the courage to say no in 2014.
Time for a change. Rant over, off to tend to the leaves. (Sean Worrall).