What Kind of Contracts Will an Artist Encounter?

One of the biggest mistakes artists and other creatives make is entering into agreements without a written contract. Verbal agreements are poor contracts when breach of contract issues arise. Artists will encounter the following contracts in the course of their business:

Commission or Fee for Service Contracts

Artists will encounter these kinds of contracts whether they are putting on an art exhibition, creating a painting or mural for a commission, or any other situation in which the artist is being paid for their services. These contracts lay out the scope of the project, the expectations of both parties, the compensation for the artist, the timeline for the project, and the remedy for breach of the contract among other important provisions to protect both parties. 

Licensing Contracts

These are beneficial contracts for artists because they provide additional revenue to the licensor. A licensing contract gives another party the right to produce copies of the work, change or modify the work, distribute the work, or publicly display the work. These contracts are between the licensor (the artist) and the licensee (party using the work), and will lay out the rights the licensor has to the work, the licensee’s compensation, remedies for breach, and other provisions to protect the artwork and both parties.

Grant Agreement 

This kind of agreement is relevant when an artist receives a grant to complete a project. The contract will lay out the amount of the grant and the schedule of payment, the term of the project, the requirements for the project, and any other issues relevant to the project and payment. 

Loan Agreement

An artist will encounter loan agreements when an institution borrows an artist’s work for a temporary display or period. These contracts will lay out the dates of the loan period, responsibility for insurance, procedures for transporting the artwork, and other relevant provisions for loaning the artwork. 

Consignment Agreement 

A consignment contract is between an artist and a gallery when the artist is providing the gallery with art for free for the gallery to sell the artwork. In these situations, the gallery receives a commission for selling the artwork, so the percentage of gallery commission and the price of the artwork are both important terms of the agreement. Other terms can include the length of the consignment period, exclusivity for the gallery and artist, and expenses for displaying and marketing the artwork. 

Artists should put the terms of any of their agreements in writing to avoid litigation and issues in the future. Additionally, artists should carefully review the terms of each contract and would benefit from working with an attorney to ensure these terms are fair.

EPGD Business Law is located in beautiful Coral Gables. Call us at (786) 837-6787, or contact us through the website to schedule a consultation.

*Disclaimer: this blog post is not intended to be legal advice. We highly recommend speaking to an attorney if you have any legal concerns. Contacting us through our website does not establish an attorney-client relationship.*

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Silvino Diaz

Silvino E. Diaz’s practice ranges from Civil and Commercial Litigation to Entertainment and Intellectual Property Law. Silvino has earned a reputation as one of Puerto Rico’s foremost advocates for independent musicians and artists. As a result of his sustained commitment to creative industries, he was named Professor of Intellectual Property Law at Atlantic University College (Guaynabo, PR) – the Caribbean’s leading digital arts institution – where he spearheaded the “Introduction to IP” course for both the graduate and undergraduate programs, and was appointed by the Office of the President to develop an Intellectual Property graduate curriculum, where he served until moving to Miami in 2017. He is the founder of the service known as Starving Artists, where he offers innovative business and legal counsel for artists and creatives.


*The following comments are not intended to be treated as legal advice. The answer to your question is limited to the basic facts presented. Additional details may heavily alter our assessment and change the answer provided. For a more thorough review of your question please contact our office for a consultation.

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