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insurance for consignment work

updated sat 16 mar 02

 

Working Potter on fri 15 mar 02


In a message dated 3/15/2002 12:57:10 AM Eastern Standard Time,
MorningMistDew writes:


> Subj: Re: Insurance for consignment work
> Date: 3/15/2002 12:57:10 AM Eastern Standard Time
> From: MorningMistDew
> To: postbox@the-coa.org.uk
>
>
>
> In a message dated 3/14/2002 10:10:02 PM Eastern Standard Time,
> postbox@THE-CHAPEL-OF-ART.FREESERVE.CO.UK writes:
> Insurance....
> Near the end of my road show ''fair'' sales days the shows organizers
> were requiring the exhibitors to go out and secure our own liability[to
> insure the promoters wouldn't be sued if wares or booths crashing down in a
> wind or ?? ON CUSTOMERS OR OTHER EXHIBITORS AND THEIR BOOTHS] coverage to
> participate in the show.That was a last straw and the fact that when all
> the shows were cancelled with no refund of our prepaid booth fees
> following hurricane Hugo and I had all 6 shows that season cancelled and
> lost every booth deposit ,that sealed it.I understood the sentiment but
> felt like a victim as well.
> Misty
>
>
> >> It would also do
>> them good to be asked what would happen if a customer had been injured
>> by the shelf plus contents falling? If they know there is a problem
>> (and they do because it has already happened once) they open
>> themselves up for all sorts of legitimate (and not so) claims... Ask
>> Cat!!! She knows!!!
>>
>
>
>

Janet Kaiser on fri 15 mar 02


Nearly missed this post, Sheron... Sent 01.01.2000!!!?

Why on earth do they have boxes of cards on sturdy stands, but heavy
pots on flimsy shelves? Can you believe how stupid that is? Not just a
practical matter, but aesthetically... Sounds like it is not a very
professionally run place just from that aspect... Everyone knows that
the best is placed "centre stage"... What message is it sending the
public, to have original work stacked on shelves a la Wal-Mart and
mass-produced money-spinners in the middle? Sounds like the
accountants have the upper hand!!?

There is absolutely no excuse on the part of the gallery to have
"inventory on consignment" uninsured. You/the guild must make it plain
that they HAVE to include work on consignment along with their own
inventory otherwise no one will exhibit there. Now you have finally
convinced them that they do NOT own the work (utter cheek!) until paid
for in full and only have the care of work on exhibition, you may find
a way to get it into their stupid heads that they need to respect all
the work on exhibition, even if they only regard it as space fillers
in a shop. Clearly this attitude also needs to be knocked out of them
too...

I must say, this would upset me greatly as an artist and maker... An
institution specifically set up to promote me and my work looking on
both as space fillers and obviously not worth the same as
manufactured, bought-in cards and kids stuff that they "really own"
i.e. merely paid for and therefore to be regarded as more valuable.
Just shows how non-artists think. Paid for is valuable, but on loan is
"free" therefore not worth bothering with! It will be a struggle to
educated them, but hopefully worth it once they learn the error of
their ways.

We need to find some sort of analogy here... One they would instantly
understand. Look at their own/partners profession and think of how to
make it relative to them in some way... Or maybe take the case of a
catering company providing the food & drink at a wedding... The
bride's family has the tent on the lawn, with wallpapering tables
draped with cloths and flowers. The caterers turn up and set out the
best buffet anyone has ever seen, but one of the helpers notices the
legs... They mention that, but the bride's father "rubbishes" his
concerns and says everything is fine. Anyway, right in the middle of
the nuptials, the legs on the tables collapse and all the food is
spoiled... The father says it is not his fault and anyway he denies
responsibility... The caterer has spent a lot of money and time
producing that wedding breakfast. Who has the moral responsibility of
refunding the loss? No matter how "menial" the work was regarded and
how little its loss would affect the father, it has caused loss to the
caterer. Time, money and skill has been invested and the usual
overheads still have to be met... Without payment, it could mean the
difference between his business surviving or failing. An added loss is
the guests at the wedding could not see the wonderful work and there
will be a certain amount of "lost business" involved in the whole
scenario. (Fact: for every wedding, catering businesses on average get
five follow on contracts).

I am sure you can think of a better example, but you get the idea?
Non-artists need to be taught how essential it is to regard artists
and makers as proper businesses, which are just as reliant on the
scrupulously fair and professional conduct of their associates as any
other business you care to mention. Without trust and co-operation,
neither party can survive or succeed.

I suspect that there may often be a problem with the assessment of
work on show, when galleries deny any responsibility for work. I know
our insurance premium doubled as soon as we said it would cost over
10,000 to reimburse the artists & makers if the place burned down.
The company then demanded detailed lists of work and that was a very
daunting thought! Imagine having to make a list every time the
exhibition changed, plus our own "contents"!? One agent even told me,
that of course being "only hand made" that his company would only
re-imburse the cost of the materials needed to remake what was
damaged!! This is also the stance taken by carriers when it comes to
art. "New for old" insurance policies will not include the value added
item of an artist's reputation.

Of course they should pay the potter whose work was damaged. It is
their moral duty and judging by some of the other posts, it sounds as
though it could well be state law. I sincerely hope so.

I think if I were pushing for working with this set-up, I would insist
they bought out-right. That seems the only fair way out. From what you
say, it is a shop situation and not a gallery... I make the
distinction. Work on exhibition for a set, limited show like "Teabowls
today" or some such organised exhibition is quite different to selling
"of the shelf". The latter (I think everyone will agree) is a normal
shop situation and artists/makers should stick to supplying wholesale.
The attitude of that "certain person" would galvanise me into
demanding purchase. They can then do what they want with the work once
it is paid for in full! :-)

Just my 2 pence worth!

Janet Kaiser
The Chapel of Art / Capel Celfyddyd
Home of The International Potters' Path
8 Marine Crescent : Criccieth : GB-Wales
URL: http://www.the-coa.org.uk
postbox@the-coa.org.uk
----- Original Message -----

Janet,
They have physical damage insurance for everything in the building,
except the consigned work. They also have liability, but I am not
sure if that would cover their shelves falling and some poor potters
pots breaking and cutting a customer.
After nothing was done about the shelving, I took the liberty of
removing any pottery, not just my own, that I thought was too heavy
and sat them on stands in the middle of the floor. The stands, good
sturdy plywood boxes that the Visual Arts Guild members made and let
them use, were being used to hold jewelry and baskets and cards.
I am currently waiting to hear from my insurance agent, who is doing
some research for me by calling his underwriters.

"Janet wrote
(Have to smile... Here is a shining example
of an Art Council feeling superior to the Craft Guild... They can make
their prejudices felt in a thousand subtle ways, can't they?)"

It is simply unbelievable. Everytime I made a suggestion, the
chairperson would look at me as though I had sprouted horns. Her
favorite line was, "let's not re-invent the wheel here." So I shut
up. Until they became stumped by the "who owns the art" question.
Then all eyes fell on me. So I told them what I thought. I finally
got my point across,when I told her, if she wanted to maintain control
of the art work she needed to buy it from the artist and add it to
their inventory of purchased stock.

I must give credit to the art center director (not the same person as
the council member I mention above) however, she did keep saying that
she wanted the guild to be a part of the gallery/gift shop and its
members come first when it came to space inside the shop. After all,
the purpose of both organizations is to promote and help the local
artist. This is something none of us are able to get across to the
council members.
Sheron in NC

Janet Kaiser on fri 15 mar 02


It is no doubt different here, but we tried very hard to acquire an
insurance cover against theft. It is simply impossible if work is for
sale or in a retail situation ANYWHERE. Some insurance companies will
insure against theft if art work is simply "on exhibition" and
therefore in the care of a third party, but the rates are fierce.
Theft is simply "shop lifting" and we all know how much companies
fracture that in those their costs... Yes, you and I pay for
everything which is stolen from Wal-Mart to Macys's. Insurance
companies could not care less if it is "art" or blue jeans... Shop
lifting is uninsurable. Not many galleries will admit that... We do as
a matter of policy.

The only way around it, is for the artist/maker to take out their own
insurance. They may have to... er-hum... "remain silent" or not
disclose that the work is on exhibition at a retail outlet. Any loss
claimed for and the gallery will have to collude... Not something I
would personally like to do, because it would jeopardise our own
lamentable insurance cover... Yes, insurance companies keep us all
between a rock and a hard place. The exception on "theft" is if it is
robbery! Yes, if someone comes in with a gun or a baseball bat and
demands work then we are covered. Also if they building is broken into
and work removed. We had to make sure steel bars and proper "insurance
approved" locks were on all doors. That in turn upset the fire
officer. You really cannot win!

Damage is another matter. Accidental damage. Fire, flood, breakage,
etc.

But, if the gallery was aware that their display system is unsuitable,
damage will not be covered by their own insurance policy. Like any
other insurance, there is small print and exclusion clauses. Knowingly
exposing work to "danger" is stuff for the small print... You only
find out when you claim!!

If damage has been done to work in their care, they have a moral
responsibility to pay the artist/maker, BUT unless a legally binding
agreement was made to that affect, they have no legal responsibility
or liability. Which is why an agreement is absolutely essential. A
verbal agreement can be OK if the parties are 100% trustworthy, but it
is extremely difficult to prove if ever push comes to shove.

As for those shelves... If it is artists and makers who run the
place... Well, they will have to take the responsibility of making
sure that nothing too heavy is placed on them... Even if they were
donated freebies, there must be some guidelines on what weight they
were designed to carry?

A consolation: fewer objects will be easier to see and will sell
better. Packed shelves do not look good in a gallery, even if it is
only the craft shop part! (Have to smile... Here is a shining example
of an Art Council feeling superior to the Craft Guild... They can make
there prejudices felt in a thousand subtle ways, can't they?)

My advice? Put your concerns in writing and have them put into the
protocol of the next board meeting. The maker should threaten with a
law suit! Wilful damage to work in the gallery's care. That should
shock them into doing something more constructive. It would also do
them good to be asked what would happen if a customer had been injured
by the shelf plus contents falling? If they know there is a problem
(and they do because it has already happened once) they open
themselves up for all sorts of legitimate (and not so) claims... Ask
Cat!!! She knows!!!

Janet Kaiser
The Chapel of Art / Capel Celfyddyd
Home of The International Potters' Path
8 Marine Crescent : Criccieth : GB-Wales
URL: http://www.the-coa.org.uk
postbox@the-coa.org.uk
----- Original Message -----
I am home and researching insurance/gallery/giftshop contracts/issues.
As a member of the Visual Arts Guild I have been asked to serve as the
"voice" or the artists who are/will be placing art on consignment in
our newly formed gift/gallery owned by the Arts Council in our
community. The gift shop is operated by volunteers from the group of
artists who make it past the jury. I warned the council members who
set the shop up, that their shelving system would not work for
pottery/sculpture. It is glass shelves on metal brackets hooked into
two wall tracks. There has already been an accident where the
brackets gave way and the shelf fell, breaking all the pottery on it.
The council will assume no responsibility and told the artist it was
her loss. The risk that comes with displaying work. The council has
the building insured and their "import" items are covered, but nothing
on consignment is covered. After the acccident I again told them this
system would not work. They in turn informed me that it was a donated
freebie and that was that. Understand that this is the only place,
locally, that many have to display or sell their work. This is
extremely hard for me since I am a guild member and there has always
been this "division" between the guild and the arts council. Hard to
believe,but true. Sooo, my morning has been a research phone call
filled one. Still I have not received or found much that handles this
issue. Any suggestions?

Sheron Roberts on sat 16 mar 02


Janet,
They have physical damage insurance for everything in the building, =
except the consigned work. They also have liability, but I am not sure =
if that would cover their shelves falling and some poor potters pots =
breaking and cutting a customer. =20
After nothing was done about the shelving, I took the liberty of =
removing any pottery, not just my own, that I thought was too heavy and =
sat them on stands in the middle of the floor. The stands, good sturdy =
plywood boxes that the Visual Arts Guild members made and let them use, =
were being used to hold jewelry and baskets and cards.
I am currently waiting to hear from my insurance agent, who is doing =
some research for me by calling his underwriters.

"Janet wrote
(Have to smile... Here is a shining example
of an Art Council feeling superior to the Craft Guild... They can make
there prejudices felt in a thousand subtle ways, can't they?)"

It is simply unbelievable. Everytime I made a suggestion, the =
chairperson would look at me as though I had sprouted horns. Her =
favorite line was, "let's not re-invent the wheel here." So I shut up. =
Until they became stumped by the "who owns the art" question. Then all =
eyes fell on me. So I told them what I thought. I finally got my point =
across,when I told her, if she wanted to maintain control of the art =
work she needed to buy it from the artist and add it to their inventory =
of purchased stock.
=20
I must give credit to the art center director (not the same person as =
the council member I mention above) however, she did keep saying that =
she wanted the guild to be a part of the gallery/gift shop and its =
members come first when it came to space inside the shop. After all, =
the purpose of both organizations is to promote and help the local =
artist. This is something none of us are able to get across to the =
council members.
Sheron in NC