Bran 
Member since Apr 21, 2010


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Re: “Charleston can't thrive if we expect everything for free

Caroline,

I spend a lot of time thinking about this subject, and could probably expound for hours on it. I agree, a change is needed.

The bottom line is, it's actually a bit naïve to think that the simple market economy that we learned about in high school applies to artists getting paid in a community like ours. Several comments here have suggested that the cream will float to the top and eventually get paid, and that this a reliable system. Well, maybe that's the way it *should* work, but in reality there are just too many variables involved for that to be true—not the least of which is that this is a smaller scale where personalities involved have a huge impact on the way the economy of art works. Just one person or venue can bring the whole thing crashing to a halt.

In actuality, the system here in Charleston is (largely) undiscerning about who they will pay for their art and who they will only "hire" for free. It's entirely up to the venue whether they feel they want to pay for art—these venues who need artists around to accomplish their goals—and more often than not it appears that whether they pay depends more on their budgets than whether they are hiring someone *worth* paying.

There's that word. It's so important. Worth. Are artists worth it? Is creation worth it? I'm not talking about fleecing the public here, I'm talking about giving those creating a little something for their time, for their energy, for all the hours they spent working on their craft. Professional artists are no different from doctors and accountants and real estate agents in that respect; if they create something with their art, they deserve to be paid for it. Art is their job, after all. And I hope their art is worth something to you, or why are you bothering to see/hear/experience it?

Now, there are things we (the creative people) can do about it, but it involves working together and more explanation/communication than a comment in an online newspaper can cover. If you are interested in talking about it in an open, honest, calm, educated, and respectful way, please come on over to twitter and find me at @mydwynter. I'm trying to kickstart a grassroots effort about this subject, and I'd love to have some help.

Posted by Bran on April 21, 2010 at 3:12 PM
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