Have you got a question about how to make your art your business? Check this list of arts and business resources to find the answer.
You can also book an Art Paths session focused on business planning, career development or marketing.
If you want to suggest a topic or have a great resource you think we should share, email your suggestion to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note Wyndham City is providing this information as a guide only.
An auspice is an incorporated association or other business that manages funds on your behalf. This can be because of funding conditions or because you want to minimise individual risk associated with a project.
Any incorporated association can act as an auspice for grants and funding purposes. It is highly advisable that you have a good working relationship with an auspice partner that shares your values and understands your project.
Auspicious Arts can auspice arts projects on behalf of artists, and can offer public liability cover as part of your agreement with them. They can also acts as administrative and financial managers on behalf of individuals and small organizations.
For other auspice arrangements, a written agreement or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will help to clarify the responsibilities of both the artist and the auspice partner.
As an artist you might not think you need a business plan, but it can be a useful tool to determine what your long term goals are and what steps you can take to get there.
If you produce workshops, products or other saleable goods it is important to understand your business model and cost structure – this means how you price your products and your time to ensure that your business activities are viable.
There are many different resources that can help you with business planning, and different approaches work for different people and different businesses. Wyndham City supports micro and small business with a range of seminars, training and support.
For artists there are some specialised resources that might assist you:
- The Arts Law Centre of Australia has a huge range of business planning tools for artists including sample contracts, checklists, factsheets and guides. Some resources require a subscription or payment to access them.
- The Australian Design Unit has collected a great range of resources for creative businesses.
- The Business Model Canvas is a shorthand tool for business planning – including developing a viable cost structure and business model
- Creative + Business has resource lists and free business planning tools suited to artists and creatives.
- Propel Youth Artshave produced Amplifier: The Arts Business Guide for Creative People, a youth focused guide to arts and business planning.
- T-Shirts and Suits: A Guide to the Business of Creativity is a book by David Parrish full of tips and resources for freelancers and creatives.
The Copyright Act provides a legal framework for Australian creators to protect and control the use of their creative works.
Copyright is assigned to the creator, and applies automatically when material is created. Copyright does not need to be registered; it protects forms of expression such as text, images and music.
Ideas and concepts are not protected by copyright, even if you write your idea down.
This information has been sourced from the Australian Copyright Council and provides general information only. Visit the Australian Copyright Council website for more information.
A legal protection of original literary works, artistic works, dramatic works, musical works, film and sound recordings, broadcasts and published editions.
Use of any of these works requires permission from the copyright owner. The copyright owner is usually the creator but may be an employer, commissioner or producer depending upon the circumstances in which the work was created.
Moral rights refer to the rights of individual creators whether or not they own copyright. This includes the right to be attributed as the creator of the work and the right to take action if their work is reproduced or altered in a way that damages their reputation. Moral rights are recognised in Australian law.
Assignment and Licencing
Copyright owners can assign or licence the use of copyrighted material. Assignment means the copyright owner transfers some or all of their rights to a new owner. Licencing allows use of copyrighted material without a transfer of ownership.
Copyright owners can ask for payment for use of their copyrighted material.
It is best practice to have a written agreement, which details the use of copyrighted material including periods of time, whether the rights are exclusive and particular formats as well as any fees.
Creative Commons Licencing
A Creative Commons licence provides a way to freely share and reuse copyrighted material without infringing copyright. Copyright owners can specify the uses and permissions attached to their copyrighted material by registering their content with a Creative Commons licence.
An infringement has occurred when copyrighted material is used in a way that is exclusively reserved to the copyright owner without permission.
There are some circumstances where the use of copyrighted material is considered “fair use”; these are very specific and largely for the purposes of study or critique. These uses are listed in the Copyright Act.
This refers to an area of law that deals with a number of legal rights and protections including copyright. Other areas of law include trademarks, designs and patents. These are treated differently to copyright and require registration with Intellectual Property Australia.
Some design materials may require both copyright and intellectual property protection. Designers should seek legal advice - The Australian Copyright Councilhas a fact sheet that outlines the issues.
Find out more about your rights as a creator:
Royalties and Licencing
There are also opportunities for developing income streams from your copyrighted work. Artists and creatives may choose to have their copyright and licencing agreements managed by a Copyright Collecting Society.
These organizations collect royalties and licence fees on behalf of their members.
- APRA/AMCOS - Licencing for performance and communication of musical compositions and lyrics. Communication includes radio and television broadcast, music in plays and events and online streaming. Printed sheet music is also licenced by APRA/AMCOS.
- PPCA - Licencing for recorded music and music videos. The copyright in a recording is separate to the copyright in the composition or lyrics.
- Copyright Agency - Licences literary works, text and images as well as management of resale royalties for visual artworks.
- VisCopy - Licences images of visual artworks.
- Aboriginal Artists Agency - Licencing for artworks created by Aboriginal artists.
- Screen Rights - Licencing for the screen industry.
- AWGACS - Licencing for film and television scriptwriters.
Legal Advice for Artists – Contracts, Agreements and More
Navigating the arts world is complex enough – but what happens when you’re faced with a contract?
These resources for artists and creative industry will help you understand what a contract should look like and offer a starting point for all of your legal questions.
Arts Law Centre of Australia
The Arts Law Centre of Australia provides legal advice and resources to artists, creative businesses, students and larger organisations. Some resources require a subscription or payment to access them.
Music Industry Legal Pack
Legal advice, contracts and checklists developed by the music industry for the music industry. The Australian Music Industry Network’s resource covers everything from management contracts to producer and remixer agreements.
Raw Law by Arts Access
Arts Access Victoria cover the main legal issues for artists, musicians, writers, video and film makers, performers and other creative people who share their work in public. These resources are particularly aimed at artists who may have a disability.
The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance offers information about contracts for creative people, especially people working in theatre, performance, and film and TV crews.
Liability and Insurance
This information is provided as a guide only. Individuals should seek independent advice before purchasing any insurance cover or products.
Artists and creatives who wish to work in any public setting will need to consider the risks and liability inherent in their work. Most funders and organisations who employ artists will require Public Liability Insurance coverage as a minimum.
Artists and creatives who work freelance or under contract should also consider Work Cover and professional indemnity insurance as part of their business planning and cost structure.
Artists may also wish to have their project auspiced by a community organization or by Auspicious Arts who offer this coverage on a project by project basis. http://auspicious.com.au/
Arts Law Centre of Australia
Arts Law provides comprehensive advice on managing risk and liability, including what activities artists undertake that require Public Liability Insurance.
Member Based Organizations
Many member based organizations for artists will offer insurance and other coverage as part of their member benefits.
- Craft Victoria - Accredited Membership includes insurance for craftspeople and maker practitioners.
- Duck for Cover - Insurance for Performers.
- Flying Arts Alliance - Insurance for Artists (including Writers) and Artsworkers.
- National Association of the Visual Arts (NAVA) - Premium Plus Membership includes Insurances.
- Regional Arts Victoria - Public Liability Insurance at a discount for members.
- Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance - Insurance for Freelance Media Professionals.
Artist/ Industry Specific Insurance
These are insurers or insurance products that have developed specifically for the creative industries or community organisations.
- Bluestone - Insurance for Performers, Contractors and Touring Companies.
- Action Entertainment Insurance - Event and Performer Insurance, Equipment Insurance.
- Aon - Provide specialist cover for a range of Creative Industries.
- Ausdance - Dancers and Choreographers Insurance.
- Local Community Insurance Services - Specifically for Non-Profits.
Many artists and creatives struggle with marketing. How to market and sell work is the number one query that artists bring to their Art Paths sessions.
Marketing isn’t just about selling artwork or tickets to a show; it’s also about building relationships with an audience and communicating the value of what you do.
It’s important to understand who your target audience (or potential audience) is, what they need and value and how what you produce might fulfil that need.
You also need to be aware of how your target audience finds out information and when they make the decision to purchase (or when they decide to attend an event).
You want to be sure that your message reaches your audience at the right time and in the right way so that your product or event is at the top of their list of things to purchase or events to attend.
There are lots of different marketing templates and resources that are freely accessible online, but what you basically need to know is:
- Who is your target audience (or potential audience)?
- What is your audience looking for? (What do they need or value? How much are they willing to pay for it?)
- How do they find out information? (Online, on social media, in the newspaper, posters in shop windows
- When or where do they make a decision to purchase or attend?
The Marketing Mix
Thinking about it another way, the marketing mix is a helpful tool to think about your products and how you offer them to your target audience. The marketing mix comprises these key elements:
- Price – How much is your target audience willing to pay – how much do they value it?
- Product – How does your product or event fulfil a need?
- Promotion – How does your audience find information about your product or event?
- Place – When or where do they make the purchase decision?
Understanding the four P’s and how they relate to your target audience is crucial when determining how you should communicate the value of what you do – and what strategies you use to communicate with your audience.
Part of communicating the value of what you do is ensuring that all of your communication tools are the same quality as your work.
Many artists fall into the trap of presenting their work in an inconsistent way, or in a way that looks unprofessional. Making sure that your online presence on your website and social media, your printed fliers and business cards match up with the products that you are presenting is key.
If you would like some more advice about this make an appointment through our Art Paths program.
- Arts Hub – Events listings, industry news and job – Subscription required
- Audience Atlas – Research commissioned by Creative Victoria into arts participation and attitudes in Victoria
- Australia Council – Market Development Resource and Marketing Planning Resource
- Australian Government – Marketing and Social Media Templates
- Australian Government – An introduction to Digital Business
- Creative Foyer – Event listings and industry news plus marketing advice
- Creative Victoria – Cultural Data Research
- Cultivate – Audience Development techniques and resources
- Culture Segments – Insights into how audiences consume art
- Digital Ready – FREE online training in running a small business online
- Mashable –30 + places to promote your work
- Quick Sprout –The complete guide to building your personal brand.
Making art takes money, and money can be hard to come by in the arts. Whether you’re raising funds to get a project off the ground or wondering how to declare your income, here are some useful resources.
Creative Partnerships Australia
Offers advice to artists and arts organisations on how to effectively partner with business and also administer the Australian Cultural Fund – a way to connect funders to individual artists and projects through deductible tax concessions.
Crowdfunding involves raising money for a project from a large number of people, usually using a web-based service. Usually projects will offer a “reward” for the funds pledged – this can be a great way to get a product to launch (such as a publication or edition of prints) or to test whether a show is viable through pre-sales.
Pozzible and Kickstarter are most closely associated with arts projects, but other sites such as Chuffed, Go Fund Me, AIN, Indiegogo or Oz Crowd may also suit your project.
Something to be aware of is that projects can become over-subscribed leading to difficulties in fulfilling the “rewards”. The tax implications of crowdfunded projects are still a grey area - seek independent advice to ensure you meet your tax obligations.
These are activities that ask for direct donations for a cause or project, or sell a good with the profit being retained for a project or community good. Apart from the traditional sausage sizzle, cake stall and chocolate drive there are many creative ways to raise funds.
T-Shirt fundraising is a fun and low risk way to raise funds while also acting as a marketing tool. There are lots of different companies who offer this service. Check your tax obligations with any form of fundraising
These are funds granted to artists or arts organisations for projects, operations or career development.
You should be aware that grants income is treated as taxable income – seek independent advice to ensure you meet your tax obligations.
Micro Finance refers to low or no interest loans that financial institutions make to micro or small enterprises (including artists) for business ideas or projects. Some providers of this service include:
- NAB – Micro Finance
- Good Shepherd –No Interest Loans (Health Care Card Holders)
- Foresters Community Finance - Quick START Loans
Sponsorship is a formal relationship where an individual or business gives money or resources to a project or organization. This is usually in return for recognition as a sponsor or some other form of exchange.
Best practice is to have a written agreement that details what is being exchanged and what recognition is required.
Getting sponsorship involves forming a good relationship with the sponsor, and having a compelling reason why sponsors should get involved with your project. Sponsorship may be small or large, but appreciation of sponsors should always be big – it’s the best way to ensure the relationship continues.
The Australian Tax OfficeProvides information for sole traders and small businesses, including getting an ABN, GST and how much tax you should be paying on your artist income.
The Arts Law Centre also provides advice on what artists should consider at tax time.
Organisations for Artists and Creative Industry
A member based peak body for the arts in Victoria, supporting advocacy, policy, networking, promotion and assistance. Membership is free to artists and arts organizations.
The Australian Dance Council – Ausdance, is Australia’s dance advocacy organisation for dancers, choreographers, directors and educators.
A membership based organisation that offers access to resources, industry events, discounted insurance and professional development opportunities.
A member based organisation for craftspeople and makers at all stages of their careers offering professional development and advice.
An amalgamation of unions that represent actors, journalists, musicians and entertainment industry professionals. MEAA provides support to its membership and also sets rates of pay for various creative industries.
A member based organisation for contemporary music. It represents musicians, venues, music businesses and professionals, and music lovers across the contemporary Victorian music community.
A member based organisation for visual artists in Australia. NAVA publishes a code of conduct for the visual arts and sets artist fees and wages.
A member based organisation that focuses on supporting contemporary and innovative regional arts and cultural practice across multiple disciplines.
A member based organisation for the performing arts industries. Provides industry support, networking and professional development.
A member based organisation for writers of all types. It offers workshops, mentorships and manuscript assessments as well as information and advice.