Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Artists getting paid

THERE WAS AN interesting Facebook post the other day from one of our local businesses. It has an area in the back with a wall. The owners think it's a good idea to put artwork on the wall. The business put out a call to local artists to submit mural ideas.

There was no mention of payment in the original post, until a person commented that artists should be paid for their work. There was an interesting and civil discussion about the issue and it's always good to review the idea of actually getting paid to do work.

I understand the business owner's side of it. We own a small business too and it isn't easy to come up with money for projects, unless it's required to keep the door open like a roof or HVAC. So often we tend to think of things like art and music as an extra.

They aren't. It takes a lot of time and resources to become good enough to play out or to put your name on a piece of art. Guitar strings and paint brushes don't grow on trees. Treating your art as a business venture is its own micro-economy. We never thought we could pay the mortgage by giving guitar lessons and selling music gear. But here we are 9 years later doing just that.

When the Avenue Beat girls were starting out, people around here really took advantage of them. One particular group invited them to play at a lunch and scoffed at the idea of paying. That's when I threw a fit and we had a little Come To Jesus meeting about not being afraid to charge for your services and having a manager confident enough to find quality gigs.

An idea for our outside wall, maybe.
We are huge proponents of our local musicians getting paid. Basically, you have to figure out the local economy and factor in the supply and demand. I know what I usually make for a show, either with the band or with HartLyss or any other variation.

A few years ago we hired a local artist to paint a mural on a wall in our back bank safe area. It was worth every penny. I don't remember what we paid but I am sure it was worthwhile.

The other day I hired a guy to play at Q-Fest this summer and told him what he'd make. He said, "Just donate it back." I told him he could do whatever he wanted to do with his earnings, but that was up to him and there was no negotiating the matter - he was getting paid, and paid well for his time and talents.

In the end, I believe the owners of the business looking for artwork learned a lot, and I really hope they can hire a local artist. We love that Quincy has such a thriving artist community and know how hard it is to make it in a small market. Keep on rockin'!

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