Evaluation Guideline for Artist Fees

The coalition BKNL has commissioned research agency Berenschot to conduct an evaluation of the Guideline for Artist Fees. Download the report (in Dutch) and read about the next steps in the development of the guideline that we strive for here.


Since 2017, the Guideline for Artists Fees is a unique initiative of the visual arts sector, to constitute a fair practice and a ‘new normal’ in the professional contract practice between institutions and artists. BKNL (Visual Arts Netherlands) has recently asked research agency Berenschot to conduct a twofold research into the workings of the Guideline for Artist Feess and the Regeling Kunstenaarshonorarium¬†en naar de Regeling Kunstenaarshonorarium.



Berenschot concludes: in a relatively short time, the guideline has proven to be a useful instrument. The ‘old system’, in which artists would get little or no payment, seems to be definitively out of fashion. Even though the simplicity of the guideline was considered to be a virtue from the onset, it seems that there is a desire for more differentiation among actors in the field. The common thread of points for improvement is, therefore, that the guideline needs more sophistication. Both artists and institutions want more differentiation between types of artists, types of artworks, and types of situations in which artworks are presented. For instance, the guideline currently does not take into account the size of a contribution (small or big exhibition space), and especially performance artists often get a relatively small renumeration.

The research results also show that it is of great importance that the compliance of the Guideline is coupled with financial compensation. Thus far, this compensation was provided by the Experimenteerreglement of the Mondriaan Fund. Almost all interviewees are of the opinion that compliance with the guideline will be difficult if this financial compensation is omitted.


Points for Improvement

Now the research results are presented, it is up to BKNL to continue the process and develop the ‘Guideline for Artists Fees 2.0’. In this process, Platform BK will focus on the following issues:

  • We need a structural budget to accommodate compliance with the Guideline, which should be accessible for institutions in as well as outside of the BIS, and in as well as outside of the multi-annual funding programs of the Mondriaan Fund;
  • The sums suggested by the Guideline are used too often as standard fees, whereas they represent a minimum. This has to be more clearly communicated to artists and institutions. Also, it should be stated more clearly what reasons could lead to a fee above the suggested amount of the guideline, such as: a big exhibition or work-intensive group exhibition; service record of the artist; application of the fair share-principle;
  • There are too many unclarities around the guideline, which can have a negative impact on the artist. The guideline needs more precise instructions for cases including performance art and artworks with multiple authors;
  • By and large, the guideline works well for artists, but it could offer a more constructive frame of reference to other independent workers in the visual arts. Curators, critics, art handlers, and other freelancers should be supported in developing a fair and sustainable contract practice with (spin-offs of) the guideline.


Financial Support

Like all members of BKNL, Platform BK is happy with the results of the evaluation but emphasizes that we need a continuation of the structural budget after 2021 to guarantee continued compliance with the guideline. Thus far, the Mondriaan fund has received a yearly dedicated sum from the Ministry of Culture, which could be called upon by institutions to pay artists fairly. After 2021, it is envisioned by the Ministry that art institutions will finance the payment of artist fees from their regular budgets. With regard to the impact of the corona crisis on both art institutions and artists, this plan seems to be unreasonable. It is more apt to start phasing out the financial support when the circumstances in the cultural sector are back to normal.

The research report clearly shows the negative impacts that would occur in the absence of financial support. Especially smaller institutions will be confronted with the dilemma to cut their (often already minimal) personnel costs or their program. Also, it would incentivize opting for exhibitions with existing work, instead of (more expensive) exhibitions with new work. These developments would endanger the legitimacy of small institutions, hinder the vital production of new art, undermine solidarity in the field, and generally impact the ‘humus layer’ of the visual arts field negatively.


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