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Artists' and writers' wage for a writer or artist at their creative peak

The pilot project of artists' and writers' wage enables writers and artists engaged in a liberal profession at their creative peak to dedicate themselves to creative work for a longer period of time and, thus, contribute to the development of Estonian culture.

The funds for paying the wages will be allocated by the Ministry of Culture as a grant to an artistic association. The artistic associations of both fields will be allocated funds for paying five wages during 2016 (ten wages in total). The amount of one wage is equal to the average monthly gross income inclusive of all taxes of the year before the previous year (2014). The artistic association will pay the wages for three years to persons chosen based on a public competition.

The difference of the wage compared to a grant for creative work, apart from its long-term nature, are the accompanying social securities and greater stability arising from them. The wages for creative persons will be implemented in fields with a large amount of creative persons engaged in liberal professions: literature and art. The creative processes of the named fields are not as widely supported by the state through institutional supports.

The wage is a support for the creative work of creative persons at their professional peak for a specified period of time.

The artists' and writers' wage will not replace the creative person’s support paid based on the Creative Persons and Artistic Associations Act as a social measure to creative persons engaged in liberal professions who do not receive income from their creative activity.

 

The artistic associations declared a public competition for choosing the receivers of the wage. The management of the association assembled a broad-based commission of experts in the field for making the decision. 

 

The committee for choosing the receivers of the writers’ wage included representatives of the Estonian Literature Centre, the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre, the Estonian Publishers’ Association, and the National Library of Estonia.
Among the 54 applications submitted to the Estonian Writers' Union, the first five writers chosen to receive the permanent income during the next three years were Maarja Kangro, Indrek Koff, Mihkel Mutt, Jürgen Rooste, and Triin Soomets.

 

 

All professionally active writers or translators at their creative peak wishing to concentrate on their creative work during the following three years were welcome to apply for the writers’ wage. The applicants were required to submit:

  • A creative curriculum vitae;
  • A detailed overview of their creative work during the last five years;
  • An overview of most important media coverage;
  • An application together with the creative objectives for the following three years.

The decision was first and foremost based on the creative objectives of the applicant for the following three years, while at the same time taking into account their work and professional activities during the previous years as well as the influence of their creative work done so far on Estonian culture, including internationally.

The decision on the artists’ wage was made by representatives of central exhibition organisations (the Kumu Art Museum of the AME, the Tallinn Art Hall, the Tartu Art House, and the Contemporary Art Museum Estonia), the Center for Contemporary Arts, Estonia, and the Estonian Contemporary Art Development Center.
Among the 73 applications submitted to the Estonian Artists' Union, the choice was made in the favour of Kaido Ole, Marge Monko, Kris Lemsalu, Mark Raidpere, and Anu Vahtra.
 

 

All professionally active artists, curators or art historians/critics at their creative peak wishing to concentrate on their creative work during the following three years were welcome to apply for the artists’ wage. The applicants were required to submit:

  • An application and a letter of motivation together with the creative objectives for the following three years;
  • A creative curriculum vitae, including an overview of the acknowledgements and media coverage during recent years;
  • A creative portfolio for the last five years, clearly specifying their artist statement.

The decision was first and foremost based on the creative objectives of the applicant for the following three years, while at the same time taking into account their education and/or experience, creative work during the previous years, professionalism and motivation, up-to-date status and innovativeness of their creative objectives nationally and internationally, their artist statement, and the potential of the applicant to introduce Estonian art internationally.

The application process was open to Estonian citizens or persons with an Estonian residence and work permit.
When choosing between multiple equivalent applicants, the principle of diversity was kept in mind.

Belonging to an artistic association was not a requirement for being granted the wage.
 
Granting the wage to a creative person does not imply cancelling their current grants, supports, etc. incomes for creative work; the creative person also has the right to apply for supports and grants hereafter.

The Ministry of Culture aims to continue the artists’ and writers’ wage project and widen the circle of those receiving the wage in the future. This, however, depends on the possibilities of the state budget and negotiations with all those involved.

The artistic associations will enter into employment contracts with the receivers of the wage for three years starting from January 2016.
The contract establishes that all rights for works created while receiving the wage belong to the author.
The creative person agrees to provide a yearly overview to the artistic association regarding their professional activities. The artistic association will provide the Ministry of Culture a report on using the support at the end of the year. After the three-year period, the artistic association will provide the donor an overview of the professional activities of the creative person during the period of receiving the wage. The overview will serve as the basis of assessing the influence of the funding measure and adjusting the system, if necessary.

An example. The average monthly gross income of 2014 was 1005 euros:

The total cost of the average income in a calendar month based on 2014 data was divided as follows:  
Net income 805,86
Gross income 1005,00
Total cost of the employer (salary fund): 1344,69
Social tax 331,65
Unemployment insurance premium (employer) 8,04
Funded pension (II pillar) 20,10
Unemployment insurance premium (employee) 16,08
Income tax 162,86

 

The total cost of an average wage in a calendar year:  
The total cost of one average wage 16 136
The total cost of five average wages 80 681
The total cost of ten average wages 161 363

 

 

Last updated: 3 February 2016