By Robert Sibley, Ottawa Citizen, May 15, 2014
Canada’s artists enjoyed a major legal victory Wednesday when, in a surprisingly fast decision, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the National Gallery of Canada was obliged to negotiate minimum fees with the artists whose work it exhibits.
“It was a great day for Canada’s artists after many years of fighting,” said Grant McConnell, president of the Canadian Artists’ Representation (CARFAC). “We’re finally going to go back to negotiating with the National Gallery of Canada.”
Wednesday’s decision effectively forces the National Gallery to do what it has been trying to avoid doing for the last seven years. Since 2007, the National Gallery and organizations representing Canada’s 20,000 visual artists — CARFAC and Le Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels du Quebec – have been at loggerheads over the issue of whether artists have the legal right to bargain minimum fees when the gallery uses their work.
The issue goes back more than a decade. In 2003, CARFAC and RAAV began negotiating with the gallery on a “scale agreement” as provided for in the federal Status of the Artist Act. The associations wanted an agreement that would set minimum fees for artists if the national institution displayed or reproduced their existing artworks.
In 2007, the gallery obtained a legal opinion that binding provisions on copyright issues couldn’t be legitimately included in a scale agreement. It then pursued an agreement that cut all reference to minimum fees for the use of existing works.
The arts group complained the gallery was acting in bad faith and won a tribunal ruling requiring the gallery to stop acting illegally and bargain in good faith. The gallery, however, turned to the Federal Court of Appeal, which overturned the tribunal’s decision, ruling that matters relating to copyright, including the imposition of minimum fees for the use of existing works, didn’t come within the purview of the Status of the Artist Act.
Basically, the appeal court accepted the gallery’s argument that some fees come under the Copyright Act, which sets individual negotiations ahead of any collective agreement.
The artistic groups appealed to the Supreme Court. Essentially, what was at issue was a perceived conflict between the Copyright Act and the Status of the Artist Act. CARFAC and RAAV want to negotiate binding minimum fees for their members in much the same way that unions negotiate collective agreements. The gallery, however, maintained that CARFAC and RAAV were undercutting the right of artists to be paid less if they so chose.
The gallery lost, but even more surprising was the speed with which the Supreme Court judges rendered their decision. Normally, the court reserves its decisions pending a written judgment, which can take two or three months or more. But in a rare move, the judges made their ruling for the artists within minutes of hearing arguments from both sides.
For the artists, it was a welcome — and long overdue — win. “It’s an important, historic win for us,” said artist and CARFAC member, Karl Beveridge. “The amazing thing is it includes all issues of copyright, not just exhibition right, but also reproduction right.”
PHOTO L to R: Melissa Gruber, Wendy Nelson, April Britski, Susan Tooke, Manon Pelletier, Gerald Beaulieu, Julie McIntyre, Deborah Carruthers, Kristian Clarkem Christian Berard, Deirdre Logue, Grant McConnell. All are part of CARFAC. The Supreme Court will hear a case Wednesday that will determine whether, CARFAC, an association representing visual artists has the right to negotiate minimum fees for visual artists if the National Gallery of Canada uses their work. Photo by Jean Levac
VANCOUVER — The Globe and Mail, Jan. 20 2014
Artist Anthony Thorn moved to Victoria in 1980 from Thunder Bay, Ont., and almost immediately discovered the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, in a residential neighbourhood close to his apartment. He became a member, and says he was welcomed and made to feel as if he might become a good addition to the artistic community. When he read in the past couple of years about current director Jon Tupper's decision to renovate and expand the gallery in its current location, rather than continue its more than 30-year search for space downtown, Mr. Thorn was impressed with the vision. The artist asked for a meeting with Mr. Tupper, to see if he could help make it happen. He has. On Monday, the gallery announced a gift of more than $2.5-million from Mr. Thorn to support the gallery’s redevelopment.
“This is the largest single monetary gift we’ve had in the last 65 years. It means that we can start looking at our dreams of renovating and restoring the current location,” Mr. Tupper told The Globe and Mail on Monday.
Workers at cultural and heritage sites protest government cuts CBC News May 30, 2013
Some of the U.K.'s most visited cultural and tourism spots are closing their doors Thursday or Friday as part of a one-day strike to protest recent cuts.
Approximately half of the National Gallery in London, one floor of the National Portrait Gallery and the entire Tate Liverpool museum were closed to the public on Thursday — to name just a few of the high-profile sites participating.
On Friday, the strike will affect the British Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, according to the Public and Commercial Services Union.
Meanwhile, workers at popular heritage site Stonehenge will walk out on Sunday.
According to the PCS union, the U.K.'s largest civil service union, the industrial action is part of a three-month campaign by its members to protest government cuts to pay, pensions and jobs.
A national walkout is also planned for the end of June. CBC News
Hyperallergic, by Allison Meier on May 24, 2013 With Detroit on the brink of declaring bankruptcy, all avenues to rescue the city from insolvency are being put on the table. One of these is the multi-billion dollar art collection held by the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum (DIA), a possibility which could be pushed for in a bankruptcy situation to cover some of the city’s billions in debt.
“I believe that the only reason the city would sell the collection would be to satisfy the creditors,” Annmarie Erickson, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of DIA, told Hyperallergic.
According to the Detroit Free Press: “Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr is considering whether the multibillion-dollar collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts should be considered city assets that potentially could be sold to cover about $15 billion in debt.” Read more
Grand Hotel Walking Tours on Sundays! From humble structures hugging the shoreline on the edge of a forest, to the grandeur and elegance of the iconic railroad hotel along with today’s luxury offerings, this tour takes a look at the fascinating history of spending the night in Vancouver. Tours will depart the Hornby Street entrance to the Vancouver Art Gallery Sunday mornings at 10:30 am from May to the end of August 2013.
Please note there are no tours on May 12, 26, June 23, 30, July 14, 28
Tickets can be purchased half an hour before the tour at the Gallery’s admission desk in the main lobby. Private tours for families or groups can also be arranged.
$35 includes walking tour & express entry ticket to the exhibition.
Tickets can be purchased just for the walking tour at $15 Read More
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