Advocacy, policy and action for an Australian arts sector that's ambitious and fair

Artists' Fees

Artists fees are a payment for the time, intellect, labour and skill that you expend in creating works and making them available to the public through exhibitions where your work is not available for sale.

In Australia, visual and media arts, craft, and design practitioners are rarely covered by formal wage-setting instruments such as awards because they are generally not classified as employees. In the absence of legally-binding minimum pay rates set by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, community standards as to what constitutes fair and reasonable pay have not evolved for these practitioners in the same way as for many other sectors. Art practitioners and employers and buyers of their work are also often poorly informed about what practitioners do and should earn.

NAVA Code of Practice

Code of Practice

Practitioners should be adequately paid in recognition of their essential contribution to public non-selling exhibitions. This includes payment of one or more of the following, as appropriate to the circumstances:

  • Artists’ loan fees to a practitioner for the loan of their own work
  • Fees for the creation and/or installation of new art/craft/design work, including site specific or ephemeral work such as audio-visual and performance art, when these require the practitioner to create, install or present the work on-site.
  • Fees for associated lectures, talks, curatorial and administrative work as relevant.

NAVA sets the recommended fees scales for artists in its Code of Practice for the Professional Australian Visual Arts, Craft and Design Sector.

Fair Pay for Artists

NAVA Campaign

Fair Pay for Artists

Photo: Tanja Bruckner, 2017

Currently, many artists are being underpaid for the work that they do, because some in the industry are of the view that the opportunity for artists to have their work exhibited is a sufficient reward in itself. Artists are often working for free whilst everyone around them is being paid. Industrial fairness requires that this must change.