Last year, CARFAC celebrated 50 years of Artists working for Artists. A lot of progress has been made since 1968, but some things remain the same. Artists still need strong advocates for public policy, whether we’re talking about copyright, tax, or artists’ working conditions. The sector still needs guidelines for paying artists, which must be responsive to how artists are currently working. Artists still need advice and support from one another. People call and email our offices across the country every single day, looking for information on exporting, negotiating a contract, and so much more. In order to offer our members the tools and resources they need to thrive, we are pleased to have Shelby Millwater and Zandi Dandizette join our National staff this summer!
An anniversary is a good time to take stock of where we’ve been and where we’re going, to discuss ideas for new priorities, and to celebrate. Last September, we did exactly that with the presentation of our National AGM and Conference in Ottawa. Our line-up included:
- a review of our past milestones and future priorities;
- presentations on copyright developments in Canada;
- discussions about fees and payment guidelines for Canadian artists;
- a conversation with Esther Anatolitis from NAVA in Australia about international industry standards in the visual arts sector;
- a panel about solidarity, advocacy initiatives, and insurance programs available to artists;
- an update on artist taxation issues co-hosted by MASS Culture;
- the presentation of our National Visual Arts Advocate Award; and
- several gallery tours, receptions, artmaking, and other social networking opportunities.
We now look forward to hosting a National Gathering on September 27th and 28th on the traditional unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples in Vancouver.
In the fall, we participated in a parliamentary review of the Copyright Act, giving presentations to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology on October 15th and 17th, and to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage on November 6th. Our three key recommendations, which are detailed above in our briefs, are:
– that the Federal Government amend the Copyright Act to include the Artist’s Resale Right;
– that the Exhibition Right be expanded to include works made before 1988;
– and that limitations be placed on the Fair Dealing changes that were made in 2012.
The INDU and CHPC committees recently released their reports, and all of our recommendations were referred to. We are now working on a response to the reports, and we look forward to working with the Federal Government to bring our recommendations to fruition.
As active members of the Canadian Arts Coalition, we helped form an Artist Taxation committee of the Coalition and prepared a briefing note for the arts community last spring, and we presented a panel on the issue at our national conference. We continue to consult with CRA and provide updates on our progress. We were also very involved in Arts Day on the Hill in October and have recently been working on the Coalition’s Federal Election Platform for 2019. Be sure to get out and vote in October!
In 2018, we joined the Cultural Human Resources Council’s Respectful Workplaces in the Arts initiative, which addresses harassment in the workplace, including sexual harassment, bullying, discrimination, and violence. The project aims to ensure that artists and arts organizations have the tools, resources, and training to prevent harassment of any kind, and build respectful workplaces as the norm in the cultural sector.
Last June, our members ratified a new scale agreement with the National Gallery of Canada, now in effect until 2022, which was negotiated under the auspices of the Status of the Artist Act. We plan to serve notice to another federal institution next year. In November, CARFAC participated in a symposium in Brussels, with presentations on exhibition remuneration practices in various countries. Two reports from the International Association of Art (IAA) are now available here and here.
Last summer, we worked with consultants Mariane Bourcheix-Laporte and Clayton Windatt to evaluate our current fee guidelines for performance art, and to assist independent curators in developing their own payment guidelines. We have begun sharing reports from all of our fee consultations, and we plan to share a proposal for revisions to the CARFAC-RAAV Minimum Fee Schedule before it goes to our members for a vote at our AGM.
Over the last year, we have worked closely with Copyright Visual Arts (formerly CARCC) on several projects. The collective has been working on launching a new website, which will include an image bank and online licensing service this fall. We also worked together to deliver copyright presentations for visual artists in ten communities across the country. We hope to continue to expand the presentation series to new communities this year. This summer, we welcome Erin Gurski, Copyright Visual Arts’ new Coordinator and Copyright Agent.
At the end of March, we were pleased to learn that we have received funding to partner with Access Copyright and Prescient Innovations on the development of a Blockchain project. Canadian artists will be able to register their works, where it can be properly Attributed (content is linked to its creator and rights owner), Authenticated (knowing who is authorized to use the work and in what way), and Automated (content can be transacted upon). We anticipate this service will be available by the end of the year.
All of these efforts over the last year would not have been possible without support from the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Access Copyright Foundation, Employment and Social Development Canada, City of Vancouver, Assurart, AFBS, MASS Culture, RAAV, Copyright Visual Arts, and of course, our members from coast to coast to coast.
Submitted by April Britski, National Executive Director, CARFAC