You know the drill: make enough noise, get enough signatures, garner enough press, and the powers that be start to change their tune.
Which is exactly the strategy being employed by jazz/folk/electronica artist Corey Mwamba. His change.org petition to demand payment for musicians and artists playing the upcoming Olympics has almost hit 5,000 signatures, a critical early threshold.
Here’s his plea. If you agree with what he has to say, consider signing the petition.
“Ensure the payment of arts practitioners performing for Olympic events”
I’m writing to highlight one of the many issues around the Olympics; and to ask if you would consider signing a petition in support of arts practitioners.
Arts practice is not just a joy to experience and a marker for culture in a civilisation; but also a profession.
There have been reports (most of which stem from the Corporate Watch report) and evidence from musicians that show that LOCOG [London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games] seems to understand the drawing power of music and the arts for its entertainment, but holds those who make up the profession in low esteem. In short, LOCOG is not paying professional musicians for performing, citing that the publicity is adequate compensation.
This is a fiction: currently on the London 2012 site, it is impossible to find a listing of all musical groups performing at all of the opening events: only headline acts are mentioned.
LOCOG’s “policy” of not paying musicians has had a lot of publicity – but who knows what the policy is for other art forms?
Putting aside whether you like sport or not, the Olympic Games are costly. Everything needs to paid and accounted for. The mystery is why arts practitioners like musicians are not included on the balance sheet, especially when the service they are being asked to provide – the entertainment of the spectators and showing the best of the host nation – is such a vital part of the Olympics (see the Olympic Charter recommendations for National Olympic Committees, point 3.2). To have omitted financial accounting for the arts would seem poor planning and a shame for the United Kingdom – a major exporter of its arts.
There are other professions involved with staging events and providing services around the Games that are being contracted and paid. The relationship with the arts in this case is and should be no different.
It isn’t enough to just say “no” to performing: We all can say “no” – and several have. But all that happens is that someone who will say “yes” will be found – the situation and unfairness remains, and the next time we’ll have to say “no” again – no one learns anything.
The petition is about **highlighting and explaining** the unfair situation that’s being presented by LOCOG and changing it so that as artists we don’t HAVE to say “no” repeatedly to publicly funded bodies asking for the arts to ameliorate their events for free when they have the budget to pay.
The aim of the petition is to send a clear message to LOCOG to acknowledge the arts as a valued profession that should have been accounted for in its financial planning for the Games events; and that if LOCOG intends to use the arts they should pay for it.
I do hope you’ll consider supporting our cause. If you do, you can sign it here:
– Corey Mwamba