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Do Museums Pay Artists?

Do Museums Pay Artists?

Dan Steinhilber at Brigham Young University Museum of Art

Valerie Atkisson | ArtBistro

Artists generally don’t see a cent from exhibits in a museum. However, the museum or art center show typically can boosts an artist’s career in a non-direct way. The opportunity of showing in a museum brings a level of professional context to your work that you may not have experienced before. It can be inspiring and energizing to create work for a museum show. It turns out, in many cases museums and art centers do give artists money for showing their work. For example, Installation artists are typically given an artist’s fee for creating a temporary installation.

Why Do Artists Want to Show Their Work in Museums?

• It is prestigious to show in a museum so it is reward enough for your exhibition record.
• Galleries like to represent artists that have shown in museums.
• You work may be purchased by a private collector while the show is up.


If it is an installation or if the artist must travel there for the installation. The fee would cover materials costs and a daily per diem that can be negotiated, as well as an additional artist’s fee if required.

A museum may pay you a fee to give a lecture about your work as well. In this case they would pay for travel expenses as well and possibly a per diem.

Next: No. 2: A Messy Workspace →

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