Participants in advocacy campaigns usually spend a few hours a month on their work, if that. As Chair of the DC Advocates for the Arts the amount of time I spend is considerably more. I regularly take meetings not to directly forward our advocacy agenda, but because being a part of the conversation is how we figure out what we need to advocate for, and how to design our campaigns.
In one of those informational meetings a few months ago a staff member for DC Councilmember Cheh suggested I contact Janet Fries, a dc-based lawyer. He mentioned that Janet had been reviewing the DC Bar materials relevant to the arts, and had found that there was a hole in the code regarding gallery transactions. I had no idea what he was talking about, but I followed up with Janet and she explained it to me. I brought the issue to the DC Advocates for the Arts board, and with Janet’s help we’ve created a petition asking the council to address our specific concerns.
DC needs to amend the Commercial Code so that artists’ property isn’t taken by creditors if a gallery goes through bankruptcy. When they overhauled the business laws a few years ago they stripped out sections governing consignment transactions — which is what it is when an artist gives their work under contract to a gallery. There is no lose in this for anyone. We know with community support we can get this done. If you haven’t signed the petition yet, please click here and sign now!