Value on Art: Who Pays Artists?

Fair wages are something we believe in strongly at AIRR, we think you can see it in the quality of clothing we stock. Happy people make happy clothes, and happy plants make high quality fabrics.

As we have blogged about before at AIRR, fair trade starts at home, its not just in the country of origin our clothes may start, but in the ethics we share with each other and in doing good business with partnerships built to last more than a season. Recently AIRR had a mural painted on the outside of our Wirksworth Derbyshire clothing boutique to high acclaim. Unfortunately this is an area in English society where there’s a blind spot. Artists regularly do jobs for free, based on future acclaim, because they are a graduate and want the first step on the rung of the ladder, or because they think it will result in more work later on. The sad fact is that there is always another graduate and another artist in this very same position, so the rest of the rungs on the ladder are also for free.

Mural Front
Megan Russells Fashion Revolution Mural

Funding in the arts is something that in very hard economic times is difficult to justify as its not a direct bread in your hand, money in your pocket equation. Arts don’t work this way; they have benefits that are further reaching. They impact somewhere else, harder to quantify but just as valid. Looking at art works that will go beyond our lifetimes, and that introduce colour into lives that are perhaps suffering is good for the soul and every smile counts sometimes.

Megan Russell, the artist that completed our mural was paid in full, a decent wage, not just cover of materials but for her time and for the value that she adds. A staggering 71% of artists in the UK are not paid in comparison. The Artists Newsletter is running a campaign about this at the moment. And the Guardian wrote a recent article on the subject here

Please add your name to the campaign if you feel artists should be paid just like any other trade doing their job and contributing to our society here: And, spread the word! #PayingArtists“>

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