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Smithers Art Gallery to start paying artists exhibition fees in 2022

Exhibitors will be paid $650 for a solo in the full gallery, lesser amounts for other configurations
A Smithers Art Gallery patron peruses an exhibition by Mark Thibeault. (Art Gallery photo)

In 2022, for the first time, the Smithers Art Gallery (SAG) will be paying exhibitors.

The announcement came as the gallery opened up submissions for the 2022 season, which will run from February to November.

In a press release Aug. 25, SAG said it would be paying Canadian Artists Representation/le Front des Artistes Canadiens (CARFAC) rates.

“This allows us to meet our mandate of supporting local and regional artists in two major ways,” said gallery manager Nicole Chernish in an email. “One, artists will be paid to exhibit their work which takes off the pressure of needing to sell, and two, artists are able to move forward with achieving professional status with funders (BC Arts Council/Canada Council) once they receive two paid CARFAC exhibitions.”

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She added this makes Smithers one of the few galleries in the North to pay CARFAC fees.

CARFAC is a national organization of artists founded in 1968 in London Ontario to demand recognition of visual artists’ copyright. Its lobbying efforts led to Canada becoming the first country to pay exhibition fees and a 1988 amendment to the federal Copyright Act giving artists legal entitlement to exhibition and other fees.

The organization’s fee schedule is based on venue size. For domestic exhibitions there are three institutional categories, venues with more than $1 million budget (Category III), $500,000 to $1 million (Category II) and under $500,000 (Category I).

The minimum 2022 fee for a Category I gallery is $2,161 for a solo show of three months. This is further reduced by 15 per cent for a small space venue and SAG will be pro-rating by the number of weeks of the exhibitions compared to the three-month rate.

The 2022 exhibitors in Smithers will be paid $650 for the full gallery, $450 for the main gallery and $200 for the mini gallery.

“Group shows are categorized slightly differently based on the number of artists. I believe that the average rate is about $130 per artist,” Chernish said.

She added the gallery is doing this voluntarily.

“According to CARFAC we don’t actually need to pay royalty fees to artists as their work is also for sale in the gallery, but as an organization that has a mandate to support local artists, we have been working towards paying the CARFAC rates to encourage and support artists.”

SAG is looking for applications for solo shows and joint/group thematic shows. Exhibitions will change every 4-5 weeks.

The gallery encourages submissions in all mediums and visual art installations.

The application package is now available on the gallery’s website for pick up at the gallery. The deadline is Friday, Oct. 29, 2021.

Submissions will be juried by an independent selection committee headed by the SAG’s art director. Submissions will be evaluated on artistic and creative excellence, originality, representation and cultural significance and impact of work.

Artists will be notified of the outcome of their applications by email by Friday, Nov. 26.

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Thom Barker

About the Author: Thom Barker

After graduating with a geology degree from Carleton University and taking a detour through the high tech business, Thom started his journalism career as a fact-checker for a magazine in Ottawa in 2002.
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