Budgets, Contracts and Negotiation – Hatch Artists’ Blogs Part 3

Part of the ongoing Hatch blog series, today’s blogs are reflections by our Hatch artists on their experience from the previous weeks’ class by Jim Grace, Executive Director of the Arts and Business Council of Greater Boston. Staff recaps of the session is available on our blog.

For this class, we ask the artists to reflect on the following thoughts:

  • How has your previous experience in negotiation been similar to cultivating dating or cultivating romantic relationships? What personal style of negotiation do you lean towards based on your personality and past experience?
  • What are some of the barriers, perceived or real, that relate to your work in public art? Consider things like permitting, zoning, etc. What are some possible solutions?

We hope you enjoy their thoughtful responses!

In the past, I used to find myself in a much more protected state when it came to negotiation. It was an activity that I feared. I did not ever want to ask for more. I was more grateful just for the opportunity of the work. I thought negotiation brought conflict and needed wiser, expert like persons to contribute to good outcomes.

However, with maturity, personal and familial needs, as well as much observation of the development of short films and other artists’ works in progress, I feel I have a breadth of knowledge to stand more aware and less timid in negotiation spaces for contracts.

Artist Danielle Deadwyler.
Artist Danielle Deadwyler.

Just absorbing the notes from the session, the biggest striking statement is ‘we are always in negotiation’.  Also, rather than negotiating to defend, negotiating to build trust and relationships feels like a central key to growth as a creative business/entrepreneur. Negotiations are a series of questions…the diagnostics queries are pivotal. This makes me want to question everything more. I’m keen on getting clarity always. Even if it is something I think I know or have known in the past, understanding an individual’s or organizations desires behind their information may not be the same as when I first gained the information. Desires/wants change and shift according to individuals and entities. Always ask the questions!

My negotiations with people are definitely indicative in my physical reactions to them. I often recoil from authority or play super kind cards. These, too, are not characteristic of my choices in the last 3-5 years. I am aware it is not productive or leading me towards the kind of personal professional artistic growth I am desirous of.

I’m intent on practicing negotiations daily now. Practicing trust building and relationship foundation making are essential things I am more aware of day to day. I still want to know more specifically for contract building and relationships specifically for performance artists in institutional relationships. I’ve found in my research that institutions have less of a standard when dealing with artists of this kind. There are many challenges that occur for performance artists in these relationships.

I don’t doubt that this session’s notes will put me in a better position to protect as well as build trust in the contracts and agreements I come to in the future.

by Danielle Deadwyler


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