No One Works Best on an Empty Stomach: The Labor of Art

This roundtable workshop looks at artists and a livable wage. The economic divide – and antiquarian funding practices – places artists alongside adjunct faculty, contract labor, fast food workers, many caregivers and other labor groups that contribute to communal well-being while struggling to earn a livable wage. If GDP statistics are accurate, then the arts are doing very well. So, where’s the money? Just as The New Economy is exploring new business models (worker owned, participatory employment, CLTs, coops, etc.), the arts are reexamining practices that explain the gaps between the big budgets and the starving artist. Though this is not specifically a workshop in how to get funding, it is designed to help participants better evaluate their work, quantify their contribution to projects, and recognize sustainable from exploitive business models.


Bruce McKaig has been a visual artist for over thirty years. He is a professor in the Art Department at Georgetown University, a 2016 Fellow with the New Economy Maryland, and the 2016 Crusade for Art Engagement Grant recipient. His work examines ethical funding practices and policies in the arts.




Bruce McKaig

Bruce McKaig

Artist; Educator; Advocate

Washington DC, USA