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U-turn over paying artists for Registry General art work

Art lover: David Burt, the Premier (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

The artist who wins a commission to decorate a Government office will get paid for their work, following an intervention from the Premier.

Government sent out a request for proposal earlier this week, calling on artists to submit ideas for a mural in the marriage room of the Registry General’s offices, where civil ceremonies are held.

The request said the winning design would be installed on a wall measuring 8ft by 12ft, and would serve as “a focal point”.

But it also said that artists were expected to produce the work for free – and that Government would own it.

The RFP said: “The artist agrees that, in lieu of payment, that consideration shall take the form of exposure to be afforded to artist and the mural.

“At all times the mural shall be deemed the property of the Registry General department.”

That clause provoked protests on Twitter with one use writing: “It’s so discouraging to see our Government demand proposals for artists while not being willing to pay for the work of the winner.”

Another said Government was “delusional”.

They wrote: “A mural in the marriage room while gov fights against giving that right to all because they only want to “preserve” equal rights for some. Between that and payment in the form of exposure during a pandemic.“

The discussion drew a quick response from Mr Burt, who wrote: “Thanks for drawing my attention to this.

“It's not in keeping with our recent support for artists & the purchases of local art that we've placed in Government buildings. I will follow up to get details around this, but I certainly believe artists should be paid for their work. -DB.”

And yesterday, Government issued a statement confirming that an “honorary” will be given to the winning artist.

Walter Roban, the Minister for Home Affairs, said: “It is in the spirit of an initiative that has been promoted by the Registry General since 2019 that we want to celebrate and support Bermudian artists, their work, creativity, ownership, and intellectual property.

“This Government has been featuring local art in numerous public spaces around the island for several years now.

“We have invited and received many submissions from local artists that have not only been exhibited by the Government for the public to see, but many pieces are also hanging in Government offices and buildings throughout Bermuda.

“The Ministry is pleased to award an honorarium to the successful candidate of the Marriage Room redesign, including the cost for supplies.

“We will continue to support Bermudian artists, the promotion of their work in the community, and their right to publicly express their creativity and intellectual property.”

A Government spokeswoman did not confirm how much the honorarium was worth or why it was decided to give one.

The Registry General is also inviting photographers with images of Bermuda weddings and ceremonies to share their photos for display in the marriage room.

The closing date for submissions is Friday, March 26. For more information on proposal submissions, please contact Denise Carey at dncarey@gov.bm

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Published March 13, 2021 at 8:37 am (Updated March 13, 2021 at 8:52 am)

U-turn over paying artists for Registry General art work

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