Artists – Do You Teach Others How To Treat You?

I’ve got a brilliant friend who is a musician – an artist in so many ways. This morning, I happened to see a link on her Facebook page that piqued my curiosity. I clicked…and here is what I found:

(Click on the ad to view it larger. If you’re like me, my eyes are failing as I get older!)

Craigslist Musician to Play
Teach Others How To Treat You!

It’s sadly funny. Nothing gets my goat than a request like this. It’s not the restauranteur that I’d like to spank, but the eventual musician (or artist) that will respond to this ad and fall all over themselves to get the gig.

Why? Because…..that musician is teaching the restauranteur how to treat them.

For too long, artists, musicians, writers, dancers….ART folk…have been holding this Dirty Little Secret and “giving it up” in the name of promotion & exposure. Newbies and even experienced artists all buy into the Hollywood dream that “someone” might discover them, or a patron will emerge from the wings.

Yeah…sometimes it happens but more often than not, you’ve just given away your time and money.

I love the approach the responder has taken in this ad. It’s important to teach others how to treat you and set expectations. Trust me – every time you do it, you’re educating the public that the arts is a business too and you have a family and financial obligations like the rest of the world.

I pick and choose my times to donate and I have a policy in my art business that guides me and enables me to say “no” to every request that comes through the door that does not fit within the policy guidelines. Do you?

How do you “treat others how to treat you?”


Here are some resources on this topic:

Artists and Their Dirty Little Secrets

6 Limits for Donating Artwork –

Educate Those Who Ask for Donations of Your Art – Fiona Purdy on

The Problem With Donating Art and the Solution – Maria Brophy

The Art Newspaper – Artists should have the same tax deductions as collectors when donating works of art

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Vanessa

    I had to smile and laugh a little when I read that. I suppose they never got a response after that huh? It’s so true though, artists of all kinds tend to allow others to under value them because they think every opportunity is worth it… when truly it isn’t.

    I was approached last year about auctioning some of my work for exposure and charity but I turned it down because I realise that doing that at the time wouldn’t have been worthwhile an I’m sure I wouldn’t have developed my market from doing it. Instead I developed a great “policy”… I don’t do “giveaways” or auctions unless the organisation is a previous buyer… I felt like that empowered me. Sad though…

    I hope the holidays treated you well Janice! Wishing you all the best in 2012!

    1. Janice Tanton

      Good for you for implementing a policy, Vanessa. It’s one step towards educating. I’m of the mind that rather than getting upset with all of the requests, that I explain the reasons. Over the long term, I think that if all artists would do this, the value of our occupation would be more easily understood. Happy New Year to you too!


    Hi Janice:
    Love the wry but true humour in that ad!

    1. Janice Tanton

      Thank you, Brennen. Really quite our responsibility to do more teaching, I think. 😉

    2. Janice Tanton

      Thank you, Brennen. Really quite our responsibility to do more teaching, I think. 😉

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