Professional Practice- Contracts, agreements, pricing, insurance and other professional considerations

It is easy for artists to put making art before the business of art. It is important to have a clear understanding of the formal business practices you will encounter through the act of making and sharing artwork. Even part time artists need to be aware of their rights in terms of contractual agreements, payment and taxation.

‘Introduction to Part 4’


Sample Contracts & Agreements for Artists

Artist Agreements

  • A good place to start is at the CARFAC SK resource page on contracts. This area outlines some basic information regarding artist agreements and houses a variety of agreements templates
  • Live performance- You may want to look at SaskMusic for an example of a live performance contract.
  • To evaluate any agreements you are signing go to Best Practices Standards guide to Saskatchewan Galleries & Artists this document was created as a collaboration of Arts organizations and the Government of Saskatchewan.

Gallery Agreements

Most galleries in Saskatchewan require a signed agreement with their artists. It is always important to have a good relationship with someone selling your art; a contract puts that good relationship on paper.

Pricing Artwork

Determine how you are going to price and sell your work before considering your venue. Often art pricing is based on medium and size.

Some interesting insight from Agora Gallery based in NY,

Also a practical approach from Lori Woodward, artists-life/a-simple-formula-for-pricing-artwork

Creating a Quote for Residencies and Public Engagement

When creating quotes for public engagement it is useful to have formal examples of pricing to present to community partners. Useful resources include: CARFAC Professional fee schedule; artists can use the research fee structure for covering costs of time put into planning, research and community interaction. The presentation fee structure works well for artist talks and educational presentations.

The most current Government of Saskatchewan Travel Allowance Appendix is helpful for calculating mileage and per diem costs.

Remember to add travel and per diem charges to your quote, even if you will be covering these costs out of pocket. List any costs that you are covering (travel, per deim, equipment costs) on your quote as provided ‘in kind’ by the artist. You can also list any ‘in kind’ items that you expect your partners to cover (promotion, facilities cost, staff time). This creates a more accurate picture of the costs of the event and importantly what the artist is providing.


It is important to understand all the different ways insurance impacts your art career. You need to have any understanding of how the galleries and venues you work with are insured.

You also need to understand when and where you need personal and/or professional insurance. For example if you invite clients (friends and neighbours) into your studio to view your art you need to have public liability insurance for that studio space (minimum $1000000 liability). You also need to know if your insurance covers personal art displayed in your own home and art in transit.

Talking points with your insurance agent

  • Do I need commercial insurance on my studio/home
  • Do I need public liability insurance
  • Does my home policy cover art hanging in my home
  • Do I need a current professional appraisal on my own artwork in my home for insurance to cover the full replacement value (yes you do and it has to be current, within 5 years of the date of your claim); many local professional galleries offer art appraisal services
  • Does my insurance cover the full replacement value or only the material replacement value of art in transit
  • Can my commercial insurance cover the insurance of my art at other venues
  • Does my home or commercial insurance cover art being transported in my personal vehicle (theft, damage)
  • Is it affordable to insure my art?

Tax Time

The Canada Revenue agency addresses art income under the heading Employed Artists. This is a brief description of how and what expenses artists can claim.

Tax Resources

The Art of Bookeeping and Tax Saving for Visual Artists (2012) This is a document created for Visual Arts Alberta. It has some very useful information.

Tax Deductions & Other Details That Artists in Canada Should Know This is a very current article (2015) created by AGtax LLP Can (private company). It is an excellent brief overview of what income and expenses artists should claim in Canada.

TAX ADVANTAGES FOR ARTISTS By Paul Constable, Director Artists in Canada (web based business) February 13, 2015

'Final Thoughts'