Evaluation Directive and Experimental
rules for artists

  • policy & politics

Commissioned by BKNL, Fine Arts Netherlands, research bureau Berenschot has, in consultation with the supervisory committee of BKNL, delivered the Evaluation Report Berenschot has produced the Evaluation Report on the Guideline and Experimental Rules for Artists' Fees. BKNL asked Berenschot to conduct a two-part study: into the Fee Guidelines and into the Experimental Regulations.

A retrospect 

As of January 1, 2017, the Guideline for artist's fees introduced. The aim of the guideline is to reward artists for their work in connection with exhibitions and other forms of presentations, irrespective of whether or not they are reimbursed for expenses. The guideline is a helping hand to artists as well as institutions and museums. Everyone who is active within the visual arts as an artist, curator, commissioner or as a representative of the sector can make use of the calculation model and checklist that are part of the guideline. With this guideline the sector aims to achieve a more professional contract and negotiation practice for exhibitions without the purpose of sale. 

The guideline is a guideline for artists, institutions and museums.

In 2017, the Mondriaan Fund set up a temporary scheme to promote the application of the guideline for four years: the Experimental Regulations on Artists' Fees. Visual art institutions that apply the guideline can apply for partial compensation based on the regulation for fees paid to artists. OCW made a budget available for this purpose. In 2017 and 2018, the Mondriaan Fund had an amount of 600,000 available to compensate institutions. In 2019 and 2020 this amounted to 690.000. Applications could be submitted until the budget for the scheme was exhausted. 

In 2018, research showed that the guideline was helpful in aligning artists and clients: after its introduction, fair(er) remuneration of artists increased. The number of museums and institutions that rewarded artists adequately had doubled in a year, partly due to the Mondriaan Fund's Experimentation Regulations.
The Experimental Regulations on Artists' Fees, which were intended to allow institutions to get used to the new normal, have now been discontinued as the budget has been exhausted. From 2021 onwards, institutions with long-term funding from the national government or the Mondrian Fund will receive a temporary increase in the subsidy budget, financed from covid support funds. For patrons who do not qualify for long-term funding (by far the majority of institutions), there will be no structural supplementary scheme from 2021. 

Artist fee guideline 2.0 

Almost all (art) institutions state that they still support the guideline and the principle that artists should be paid is rarely a point of discussion anymore. At the same time, there are also reservations about the guideline and now that the Experimental Regulations on Artists' Fees have been exhausted, BKNL believes there is an increasing chance that support for the guideline will crumble. We are therefore working towards an Kunstenaarshonorariumrichtlijn 2.0, whereby one point of attention is how the application of the standards by the institutions can be adapted and financed. 

We are working towards an Artist Fee Directive 2.0

Because, in view of the impact of the corona crisis, 2021 is not the most appropriate time to make the transition to a situation in which the directive is no longer supported by flanking policy, BKNL has informed caretaker minister Van Engelshoven that a continuation of the temporary covid artist fee scheme or a renewed (temporary) continuation of the Experimental Regulations would be advisable. 

More recommendations 

Among the recommendations emerging from the studies of the Fee Directive and the Experimental Regulation are the following: 

  • Because the guideline on fees is now widely known and appreciated as a concrete elaboration of the Fair Practice Code, it is good to guard against a rigid implementation practice. "It is recommended that the Mondriaan Fund and the national organizations involved propagate - perhaps even more actively than they do now - that there can be good reasons to deviate from the guideline. Not in order to ship off the artist with a lower fee, but because the reality is too complex for a 'one size fits allapproach'."
  • The results of the guideline and the available online calculator are intended as minimum amounts, but in practice they are taken as a given. It would be good to communicate that in certain cases more fee can (and sometimes even must) be given. Artists and institutions could also be made more aware of the fact that remuneration amounts can (and sometimes must) be negotiated.
  • Given the importance of the provinces and municipalities becoming familiar with the directive and subscribing to it, as well as making it financially feasible, action should be taken to raise awareness of the directive and its application among these authorities.
  • The fixed production allowance is now grafted onto the distinction between new work, adaptation of existing work and existing work. For many, this distinction is difficult to work with. Moreover, the creation of new work seems to be discouraged because it is the most expensive for the institution. It might be worth considering replacing this variable with the three-step approach used by the professional association of recognised composers: a distinction in the degree of difficulty of the production (low, average, high).
  • At the moment, all visual artists are equal under the Directive. It could be considered to acknowledge that there is a hierarchy in the art world. The guideline can then be refined by making a distinction between different status profiles of artists. For example: student, starting, established, international top.
  • Consideration might be given to making a distinction in the user fee between categories of space, indoors or outdoors, instead of the duration of the exhibition.
  • In the calculation model the factor 'number of participants in the exhibition' should be looked at again. The guideline and the calculator are now less usable for exhibitions with multiple artists, sometimes operating in a (not exactly defined) collective context. It has been indicated that for group exhibitions the advised amounts are now too high. This is especially true because collectives (especially duos) are becoming more common in art.
  • The directive is now based on a definition of the type of artist. This seems to be a somewhat outdated approach. An alternative would be to take the art institution as the starting point and determine that artists who are programmed there in a certain way are eligible for a fee in accordance with the directive. This is inherent in the blurring of boundaries between art disciplines and genres. 

Download the report here

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