Community art? Don’t make me LAAFF

I recently came across a post on Asheville Craigslist [asking] artists for submissions for the poster design for the Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival. In the area of the ad where pay is mentioned, it read "no compensation.” I responded to the ad and asked if this was correct. I received the reply that "there would be some sort of compensation, even if it were just free tickets to the pre- and post-parties.”

As a local artist, I find it disappointing and even a bit disgusting that an annual event such as LAAFF, which celebrates the arts and is one of the largest independent street festivals in the Southeast, would ask Asheville's local artists to design a poster for little or no compensation for their time or talent.

Sponsored by Arts2People, it seems a bit ironic that the organization invites people to come out and celebrate and support the arts at this event but does not support the artists themselves. I know many artists (myself included) who donate their time, talent and work to fundraising events, nonprofits and charities on a regular basis, with no expectation of any compensation other than doing something good for their community or to support a worthy cause. I do not think it is asking too much for an artist to expect compensation for his or her work in promoting an event that brings throngs of people to the downtown area, generates a high traffic volume and for two days and creates a tremendous boost in revenue for restaurants and businesses alike.

The entry fee for an artist booth at LAAFF is $200 and each artist is also required to donate a piece for a raffle. Would it be too much to ask the businesses that benefit each year from this event to donate $10-$20 — or even $50 to be put aside for the compensation of the artist who designs the annual poster used to promote it?

Shame on you, Arts2People, for asking artists to support your cause when you don’t support the artists whose work is used to promote it.

— Jerry Long

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