NAVA commits to paying artists on its board of directors

Media release

As the peak body setting best practice standards for the visual arts, craft and design, the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) is proud to announce a decision to pay honorariums to voluntary board directors who are artists, independent arts workers, and/or First Nations representatives. 

“Underpayment and non-payment affects career sustainability for artists and arts workers, and the sustainability of the arts sector as a whole,” said NAVA Executive Director Penelope Benton. 

“As NAVA takes action for the rights and voices of artists and arts workers, we must also support equitable treatment, professional pay and good practices within our own organisation.”

“The industry increasingly recognises that independent artists and practitioners are among the lowest paid people in the country. There are many organisations, like ours, who understand that few people are in the privileged position to be able to donate their time on voluntary boards. For this reason, many boards of cultural organisations in Australia lack diversity.” 

In 2019, Diversity Arts Australia presented a study which found that culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD)* Australians are under-represented in board member roles across all leading Australian creative sector organisations: just 6% of Chairs and Deputy-Chairs identify as CaLD (underrepresented by 33%) and 9% of board members identify as CaLD (under-represented by 30%). The study did not include First Nations but noted a clear lack of representation. 

One way to redress this issue is offering an honorarium. This decision, which was passed at the February 2023 meeting of NAVA’s board of directors, affirms NAVA's commitment to equity and paying artists for their work. 

NAVA is incorporated under the Corporations Act 2001 and is a company limited by guarantee. It is a not-for-profit entity, registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) and listed on the Australian Government’s Register of Cultural Organisations (ROCO) as a tax-deductible fund maintained under Subdivision 30-B of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997. The ACNC allows charities to pay their board members and notes that offering a payment can increase the pool of potential board members and lead to greater diversity on boards.

Honorariums paid will be disclosed during the annual audit and recorded in NAVA’s Annual Financial Report.

*Diversity Arts Australia's use of the term “culturally and linguistically diverse” is inclusive of people who are first, second or third generation migrants or members of ethnic communities. This includes Australia-born people who may self-identify or engage with the languages, customs or cultural specificities of ancestral heritages that differ from those of Anglo-Australians. This also includes people from refugee backgrounds and people on temporary visas. The limitations of this term are recognised, noting that people tend not to identify as “culturally and linguistically diverse”.

About NAVA

The National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) is a membership organisation which brings together the many voices of the contemporary arts sector to improve fundamental conditions of work and practice. We do this through advocacy, education and the Code of Practice. 

Media Enquiries

Penelope Benton
Executive Director

NAVA commits to paying artists on its board of directors