Dear Art Workers and Supporters,
A little over a year ago, a group of artists, writers, educators, art handlers, designers, administrators, curators, assistants, and students came together within the Occupy Wall Street movement to form a working group called Arts & Labor. Sharing a mutual dissatisfaction with how the art economy functions and treats its workforce, and self-identifying as “art workers,” we sought a space to learn, share knowledge, articulate our grievances, organize, and build alternatives to the art world and the world at large.
Since then, we have organized teach-ins, roundtables, reading groups, direct actions, dance parties, and protests. We have made buttons and t-shirts, created visual materials to support OWS-wide actions, and written collaborative statements highlighting issues central to the movement. We have produced workshops exploring the invisible forms of labor on which art economies depend, underscoring the necessity of collaboration even for solo art practices. We have connected the exploitation of art workers to the rise of the speculative art market. We have called for an end to uncompensated labor in the form of unpaid internships. We have articulated the ways in which the culture industry echoes the growing inequality of our society, while at the same time taking on the hard and slow task of collectively envisioning new possibilities for art workers to challenge the systems we inhabit.
As we enter our second year, we continue to develop and expand this work, while at the same time experimenting with new forms of public engagement. Until now we have financed our activities ourselves by passing the hat at meetings and events. For the first time, we are reaching out to ask for donations from our friends, colleagues, and supporters. Your donation will help us pay speaker fees, print publications, provide childcare during meetings and events, and purchase the necessary materials for collaborative art-making and agitprop production. 100% of the donations we receive will go directly toward projects dedicated to building community and ending exploitation in the art world and beyond. We are in this for the long haul.
Arts & Labor believes in mutual aid. Please lend your support so that we can continue fighting against and exploring alternatives to the structures that oppress us all. We are all connected; we are all in this together. Another (art) world is possible.
To make a donation, click here: https://www.wepay.com/
Arts & Labor
And how much did Occupy pay the city when they were using public property?
Occupy was made up of the public, and the general public was still able to walk through the park without being charged huge entrance fees. There is no “gotcha” here.