The Norwegian government is currently investigating a reform that aims at paying artists for their work with exhibitions and has the potential to become the biggest investment in the artist economy in the country since the 1970s.
The state pilot project is now under review and it will be decided whether exhibition fees will be a permanent scheme on the state budget from 2019. A reference group consisting of representatives from artist organisations and 24 museums and gallery venues has followed the pilot project and contributed to the evaluation.
Following an experimental seminar in November 2017, organised through the Ministry of Culture (KUD), all institutions were asked to submit written evaluation reports covering the period between 2014-2018. The group provided a summary note of their experience from the project in March 2018 – the response has been very positive. To many artists it is a whole new experience to get any paid fee, although in many cases the fee still does not cover overall real costs. The galleries report that it contributes to increased professionalisation and a more normal collaborative relationship between artist and venue. The feedback is clear, the funds still need to be earmarked, and the fees need to be in proportion to the actual creative work. EARights is pleased to see this progress in Norway, as one of the initial group representatives in our 2013 development seminars.
The reference group writes: “The Reform for Exhibition Payments has the potential to rectify the structural imbalance in the state funding of institutions in the visual arts field versus the performing arts fields, where fees for the artists’ work are part of the operating costs. The reform has the potential to change practice throughout the visual arts field, where payment for artistic work can become the new norm and thus more artists can live from what they create. The premise that the exhibition fee will be a successful reform, which actually changes the working and wage conditions of visual artists and artisans exhibiting at state museums and galleries, is that the venture is followed up with a significant amount of fresh funds from the state.”
Notes on the current memorandum can be found here.