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  • Writer's pictureGayle Rogers

Kicking Back to the Football Art Prize Folks!

I've had a response from the venue running the Football Art Prize.

I'm not overly impressed so please find their short email - and my longer (longish) reply below...COMMENTS are open and welcomed here or on twitter @artgayle

Dear Gayle,

Many thanks for your email and my apologies for the delay in responding – I have been very busy with the launch of three new shows at the Gallery. I appreciate your concerns and making the project as accessible as possible is something that has always been at the forefront of our thinking. For example, this is why the submission fee has been set a low as we could possibly make it while still managing to offset a small portion of the considerable costs of providing this opportunity for artists. For the answer to some of the other points you raise please see the FAQ’s for the project

Best wishes,

Mark Mark Doyle, Joint Head of Culture, Touchstones Rochdale

Dear Mark

Thank you for replying to my email. I can see that the FAQs have been updated and amended to include more information. I am assuming this was an attempt to address some of the concerns raised by me and other artists. Although this is helpful, it is not justification for charging artists or using them to subsidise shows that you want to put on. It does not address the inaccessibility of the prize for artists on low incomes. You have confirmed that running prizes like this costs money and that the artists submitting work are expected to cover most of those costs by paying submission fees, collection and transport fees and paying venues commission of nearly 50% on art sales.


Why do you need to charge artists

1. An entry fee (£10 - £25) with no pay what you can option

2. A drop off fee – with no details on where the drop off points are or the cost for using them

3. To transport work (that has been shortlisted) to and from your venue for further appraisal and selection – even though they have already been selected

4. A 40% +VAT commission fee (approximately 48%) on sales of their work?

Surely commission on sales is enough.


As the prize is in receipt of Arts Council England funding to support it – the guidelines on paying artists as outlined in should be followed as ACE officially supports this campaign and you are a publicly funded venue -I draw your attention to this extract from ‘Exhibition Payment: The a-n/AIR Paying Artists Guide For artists and exhibiting organisations (First Edition)’

‘a-n is the UK’s largest membership organisation supporting our 20,000+ professional visual artists. Through a-n and its artist advisory council (AIR) the Paying Artists Campaign was launched in 2014 in response to the needs and aspirations of our members, supported by evidential research demonstrating the impact on artists of poor payment practice. The Paying Artists Sector Consultation (2014-2016) was delivered by a-n and AIR, with DHA Communications, and collected the views of almost 2,000 individuals drawn from all areas of the sector. The consultation findings directly informed and shaped this guidance and framework. Exhibition Payment is… … a payment to artists which values their singular imagination and professional contribution to the success of publicly-funded exhibitions. It is a flexible, fair approach that upholds equality and diversity in the arts. It contributes to embedding best practice in arts organisations when working with artists, to sustaining artists’ careers and to ensuring audiences see art that represents the full spectrum of our human experience. It is not… …about paying artists to install the artworks to be exhibited, or a replacement for day rate fees normally paid to artists (for example as part of a commission, public talks, residencies, engaged or participatory arts practices, workshops, community projects or gallery education and learning programmes). It is not about covering basic programming or organisational costs that should be budgeted for by the organisation, or the purchase of art works or copyrights from the artist. Exhibition Payment is not about stopping artists working for nothing when they choose (and can afford) to do so, or imposing straitjackets on exhibition spaces. Who does it apply to? This guidance is for artists and organisations, permanent or temporary organisations or projects in receipt of public funds for visual arts presentation to the public. This includes public programmes at (but is not exclusive to) galleries, museums, arts centres, studios, artist-led spaces and festivals (see Glossary). This guidance has been developed in consultation with the sector and Arts Council England, Creative Scotland and Arts Council of Wales

You confirm that 2 artists are being paid with ACE funding to run community engagement inspired by the art on show as part of the prize exhibition. It seems obscene that the artists whose work is on the walls inspiring the engagement work must pay to be part of it. To say this prize benefits artists because they can see their selected work ‘hung next to your peers, to raise your profile and potentially your confidence as an artist’ is hugely patronising to artists who produce art to make a living.

WHO IS GETTING PAID or rather SUBSIDISED BY ARTISTS? JUDGES Please can you confirm whether the judges are being paid for their involvement with the prize?

Is that payment from funds provided by artist submissions?

Do you think that footballers are appropriate judges for an art prize? Would it be appropriate for a football artist to judge someone’s ability to play football? There is no disrespect towards the footballer judges intended – but the question needs to be asked – particularly as artists are paying for judges to look at their work.

VENUE STAFF AND CONSULTANTS Please can you confirm if your staff are being paid to administer the prize? Are Parker Harris Limited being paid by you from public funds, artist fees or another source of funding to administer or manage the prize?

Please can you confirm if staff are being paid to transport, hang and invigilate the selected work?

Apart from the 2 artists being paid for community engagement work – are any other artists being paid in connection to this prize?


As an act of protest a group of us are considering running an alternative – fairer Football Art Exhibition to run at the same time as your art prize. Our campaign is to raise awareness of the (sometimes) unfair treatment of artists by publicly funded organisations who exploit them financially under the guise of offering ‘exposure’ and ‘confidence boosting’ paid for exhibition opportunities.

Please will you reconsider charging artists to submit work and at the very least offer a pay what you can option?

I am posting this letter as an open letter on AN, on my blog and on twitter.

Thank you for your initial response. We hope this is the start of a conversation that will have some positive outcomes for a

rtists and create a more inclusive approach to future ‘call for artists’ initiated by publicly funded organisations.



Gayle Rogers PhD

Resident Artist & Gallerist, Workers Gallery


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