The Role of Artist Labor: Artists Can’t Eat Prestige
Tuesday, September 12, 2:00pm EDT/11:00am PDT
- Rafael Espinal, executive director, Freelancers Union
- Dr. Angie Kim, president and CEO, Center for Cultural Innovation
- Jessica Mele, former program officer, Performing Arts, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
- Dr. Rychetta Watkins, director of Grantmaking and Partnerships, Memphis Music Initiative
As creators, drivers, and shapers of popular culture, artists take on many roles. However when the day is over, the artist must stop working—like so many of us—and switch roles to become a parent picking their child up from school, an accountant who manages a savings account in pursuit of homeownership or graduate school, a person standing in line at the grocery store hoping to take advantage of that week’s specials, or even an individual sitting next to you at the doctor’s office.
Many artists’ labor comes in the form of gig work and contract work, which unfortunately does not ensure financial stability, healthcare benefits, or security to plan for the future. As funders and political advocates seek out new opportunities to advocate for social protection of artists as laborers in the workforce, what can funders do? What are the narratives about the gig economy and artists as workers that need to be shifted? Join us on September 12, 2023, at 2pm EDT/11am PDT for a 75-minute webinar around these topics. We will be joined by Rafael Espinal, executive director, Freelancers Union; Angie Kim, president and CEO, Center for Cultural Innovation; Jessica Mele, former program officer, Performing Arts, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; and Dr. Rychetta Watkins, director of Grantmaking and Partnerships, Memphis Music Initiative.
Live captioning will be available in English throughout the webinar. For additional accommodation requests, please contact GIA Senior Program Manager Sherylynn Sealy, at least three (3) business days prior to the event.
Rafael Espinal, executive director, Freelancers Union
Rafael Espinal, a proud Brooklyn native and former New York City Council Member, is the Executive Director of Freelancers Union. A champion for worker rights, Rafael was pivotal in passing the first-of-its-kind Freelance Isn’t Free legislation, providing crucial protections against nonpayment for freelancers. He co-sponsored the “Right to Disconnect” bill, promoting work-life balance, and a bill extending anti-harassment protections to independent workers. At Freelancers Union, he spearheads initiatives to empower freelancers nationwide, advocating for policy changes, and creating support systems. A believer in community-based solutions, Rafael's committed to listening, elevating voices, and strengthening the independent workforce in a rapidly changing economy. .
Dr. Angie Kim, president and CEO, Center for Cultural Innovation
Jessica Mele, former program officer, Performing Arts, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation