Patricia by Patricia

Patricia by Patricia
Patricia by Patricia

Saturday, July 10, 2021

The Blue Economy

by Patricia Frischer 

In 2014 we produced an exhibition call the DNA of Creativity and one of the 4 programs we funded was Sea Change: Act. Kira Carrillo Corser, Director, Sea Changes ACT Project is still advocating because: “Our oceans are losing millions of sea life due to climate change, plastic pollution, and over-fishing. Art can bypass fear and build knowledge, while promoting positive change to communicate our loss, our choices and our future.”

Recently, I attended a recent presentation arranged by Mira Costa’s LIFE program by SeaTrec’s owner, inventor and CEO Dr. Yi Chao. His mission is to map the ocean floor. Although most countries have documented their own coast lines, 80% – 90% of the open ocean floor has not been mapped. This is important because 1. A fundamental variable is unknown (enquiring minds want to know), 2. There is a need for navigational safety and efficiency, and 3. Data is needed for resource management for all sorts of industries like fisheries, future mining, weather forecasting, species discovery and preservation. We don’t know the topography of the floor, or the different temperature levels or even all of the currents. And this is because the information is so hard to access in the water and so vast. 

There are only a few vessels doing this work and the future is certainly going to be with new robotic data collection and connections to satellite communications. Currently there are surface robot from companies like OceanAero, SubSeaSail which can be fueled by wind and sun. Right now, there are 4000 robots already in the sea but fueled by huge lithium batteries. They need to be replaced every four years so 1000 a year sink to the bottom of the ocean bed, with no way of finding and removing them.  There is no regulation about dumping batteries in the ocean. They are considered disposable and certainly not sustainable. The companies that make these robots, can keep selling them to the military and research companies who are their biggest consumers. They have no real profit motive in sustainability. This is irresponsible but only public shame and government restrictions will change this practice. 

But there is a solution.  An undersea robot energy source is what is needed and SeaTrec is supplying the tech for sustainable robots. Therma energy is stored in the ocean supplied by the sun. The closer to the equator and the to the surface, the warmer the ocean is. There are many ways to harvest big temperature changes. The trick is how to harness the 20 C degree difference in temp which is small but worldwide.  SeaTrec specializes in this small difference in ocean temperature with an invention using a sensitive wax which expands when it heats up near the surface. The pressure this expansion causes when squeezed from one chamber to another, creates the energy to recharge the battery. It can be stored to send the robot back down where the wax solidifies. Each robot is outfitted with these self-contained mini-charging stations. Larger charging stations might be possible in the future to recharge propeller driven robots for all sorts of task. 

Currently the battery driven robots are collecting data on temperature variation, but adding sound echo sensors will enable mapping of the sea floor. The robots have to come to the surface to communicate to satellites but a series of relays to boast signals might also come in the future. SeaTrec envisions 10,000 sustainable robots for an initiative called SeaBed 2030.

You might ask if currents could be used for sustainable energy, but most ocean current are quite weak.  Remember, you only see wind turbines in strong windy places. And this tech could be used on land because of the difference in temperature from day to night, but the land already has much more reliable and cheaper sources of energy. The market is only in remote places and that is not really financially competitive. 

SeaTrec originally got its funding from research and government sources like Nasa and the Navy. Now that it is a for profit company it has sales contracts, license fee for their technology, private foundations, small business grants, private capital Angel investors. They want to expand to make data available to commercial shipping, sea farming, and mining so that these industries are able to make better decisions. 

It seems like the one thing missing here is a way to get the public interested in the progress that SeaTrec has made and the services that they are offering to bring pressure to bear on companies using the old lithium battery technology. This is where the arts have a role to play by bringing in an emotional component to communications.  The arts excel at this.  Dr. Yi Chao sees a future to help climate change, to supply a reliable food source, to make more predictable weather forecasting, and maybe even have a time when we can all interact with the ocean in a sustainable way.   

Lots of inventions would not get made if the inventors did not start businesses. But business is not just research. It demands a whole new set of skills. SeaTrec located in Vista is looking for staff and interns but not just for the science stuff but for marketing, communication, and business abilities.

More info: SeaTrec 626.386.5988 

To hear the entire presentation until the end of 2021, click here

Friday, June 18, 2021

Desperate Times


I have never seen a reputable gallery ever hold a gallery sale, so I was curious when I started to see this happen.  I asked myself a number of questions. “Gallery Sale” - Maybe the wording is just a come on…i.e., the works in the gallery are always on sale. But then, are they creating an expectation of lower prices that will not be fulfilled? Are artists discounting their own work or is the gallery prepared to reduce the prices on the stock of work they own outright?  Does creating open discounts diminish the value of works already sold and undermine collector confidence? Does this mean slashed prices? That sounds like someone is going out of business! Unusual times call for unusual policies, so this is a confusing subject.

To understand this, you need to know that galleries have an understanding with the artist when sales prices are set. There is usually a percentage of discount that can be given without contacting the artist for permission to sell the works for less than the asking price. The gallery could also reduce its commission, but the artist, in the most optimal arrangement has final say on the sales price paid.

And many galleries have their own private collection of works of art. Some stock is acquired of artist that they think is a good investment. They might hold on to the work and wait for it to escalate. Or they might buy work by their own stable of artists that comes up for sale on the secondary market. They may even have been buying work in auction in order to protect the value of works by artists they are selling. They have complete control of the final price for any of these works that they own outright.

The gallery may also be holding work on consignment for clients who are placing them at the gallery to try to resell work that they previously bought. It could be those clients need the money quickly and are willing to reduce their prices, or the gallery is prepared to reduce its commission charge for this second purchase.

So, in most cases at high end galleries, the word “sale” can simply be a case of negotiating on the final sales price. Maybe before a sale, the greater discount is discussed with the artists. Maybe the gallery is prepared to take a lower price than they previously had decided for certain of their works in private stock. Or maybe a client has reduced his asking price for a work on consignment to the gallery.

In none of these instances, should you see dramatic drop in prices as that could indeed trigger a crisis in confidence in the artist’s value.

Are there other ways to drive collectors into galleries at this desperate time, without announcing a sale? Of course, and I can think of just a few:

·        Buy a work and get a discount on a work in another less expensive media, a print perhaps.

·        Ask artists to consign less expensive works to the gallery for example a special one off run of monotypes.

·        Get groups of collectors to buy large works together and rotate them from home to home from year to year

·        Rent out works for a rent to own price.

·        Hold dinner parties in the gallery so collectors can meet the artists and we can all finally get out of the house!

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

VAPA Asks: What is your arts superpower?

 by Patricia Frischer

I was invited to attend a community organization information meeting by the Visual and Performing Arts Department (VAPA) for San Diego Unified School District this month and found out several interesting things from the director Russ Sperling and program manager Tim Benson.

A year is a long time during a pandemic and last year was declared the Freedom Summer to focus on eliminating those barriers that prevent our students of color from receiving an equitable education. One great result was the delivery of 60,000 devices to aid online studies for every student in need. Communication within the organization was strengthened and VAPA liaison were created for schools in the system. In fact, the district art show with be online this year and we are looking forward to seeing that listed on SDVAN. Up until now, it was only easily available to view on the opening night.

There is a big concentration on Title One schools with the goal expanded from higher student achievement to include increased student and family engagement and a positive school climate. The pandemic and online learning has made it more important than ever to remove non-standard criteria like attendance and deportment when assessing students.

This is a new strategic plan underway to be announced soon for 2021-2026. It was good to hear that San Diego’s creative community is a large collective resource with greater potential to augment the District’s VAPA program. A Gap Analysis has been started to try to see what schools and programs are falling through the cracks. But so far that does not include organizations outside of the schools that supply arts programs. Yes, there is a whole system of substitute teachers and art teachers which are hired to teach the arts, but many programs that works with schools are not yet documented like the Art Reach mural projects and ArtBusXpress virtual programs.

One challenge to these community organizations is the need to create contracts which adhere to the strict school district requirements. VAPA can step in and help organizations that are ready to present their Superpowered ideas for proven programs. Blanca Lucia Bergman from Arts Unites has been teaching youngster how to present their art in exhibitions with lesson than include math, marketing and communication skills. That is a superpower that most adult artists would like to have. 

VAPA foresees the need for 80 arts teachers to be hired when schools come back full strength for in person teaching. The Arts Education Project (AEP), is hiring for the fall of 2021 and the online application is now open Apply at Arts Education Project Application. The minimum credential required for this position is a California 30 Day Substitute Teaching Permit.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

On the Occasion of our 200th SDVAN RAW Column


For some reason I decided to number the RAW columns for San Diego Visual Arts Network in 2006 when they started. This month is the occasion of the 200th of those missives on visual art world, transitions, opportunities, advocacies, events and sometimes just pure gossip. I have not tracked the number of A+ Art Blogs or Picked RAW Peeled reports or even the numbers of views of any of these communications. (A researcher could uncover that information as everything is archived religiously.) 

I didn’t number these articles specially to keep track of them, but the number is recorded within the word documents for each month although not online. You could do a calculation from the beginning as RAW is presented once a month and there have been no gaps in the presentation. I have no real explanation for this except, I started way back and then just continued on automatic pilot. 

So why should I bring this to your attention?  During the pandemic we have been able to slow down and notice things we might not otherwise have observed. I think many of us are aware of the weight gain during isolation*. We read that the average increase is 1 ½ pounds per month i.e. 18 pounds for the year. I have slowly watched my hair grow ½ inch by half inch each month until it is now mid back. Are we just marking time in what seems to be an endless march to the other side?

Maybe numbering things helps us to have stepping stones forward. We have certainly relied on numbers to make decision about COVID-19 and what level of emergency we are experiencing: how many have the disease, how many have died, how many have been vaccinated. But our belief in numbers is challenging and not just since the election. What should or shouldn’t, could or can’t be counted is a problem that all statistician face. 

I was hoping that looking back might help with looking forward. So, I dived into some of the earliest columns, as well as middle and late ones. Nada, nothing, no deep insights, no revelations. But history is re-written all the time, so maybe in the future, someone will access these records and get an idea of what this slice of life was like. Or maybe not.


*My husband and I are actually social eaters and both managed to lose 20 pounds during isolation!

Monday, March 22, 2021

Simply the Best: A Step Too Far and actually quite dangerous!


We can all agree it has been quite a year.  A confusing year but one with time for contemplation. We are all worried about health during the pandemic but world health has always been a concern. The MeToo, BlackLivesMatter, Anti-AsianHate, Antisemitic, political and environmental movements all draw our attention. You want to be supportive but sometimes it is overwhelming to know what to do.

I just had my second vaccination. By the beginning of April, I am hoping to be as immune as possible from Covid-19. But I had after effects from the shot and spent days in bed and woke up on the fourth day with a vision springing from a dream. In the dream I was trying to help someone decide how best to help the world. I kept returning to the subject of racism. It seemed to be such a core part of the problems. I talked to my sister and she helped me understand that racism has many, many causes.   But they all have one thing in common and that is the idea of supremacy.

In economic supremacy, we want security but that can lead to massive unfair practices.  Sexual supremacy can challenge the ego and create insecurities about adequacy. Divine supremacy puts one god, yours, over all others. Ecological supremacy is the survival of the fittest without regard for our responsibility for our planet and all the creatures on it. Military or Corporate supremacy is dominance without regard to human rights.

Supremacy seems to be a pit to be avoided. I am a big fan of Tina Turner, but Simply the Best is a not the way to go. Yes, be the best you can be, but being the best i.e. “better than anyone else” should not be a life’s goal. In fact, it keeps us from working together to solve our problems.

Instead, life should be like a four-way intersection. Stop, be courteous, wait your turn, then move forward. My wish is that you will have lots of passengers in your car wanting to go to the same destination of peace on earth and goodwill to all. Happy Springtime as we come to the season of rebirth.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

A Tale of Two Learnings

By Patricia Frischer

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way--in short, the period was so far like the present period that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."

Too much?  It just seems so appropriate that after the first phrase, I had to include the whole thing.  But this is not about a city, but about two completely different learning experiences that I had recently, in fact on the same day.

I adore listening to a professional who presents expertise in a special area and I was fascinated to learn from Sheridan Reed about Cloisonné at the online lecture, How many types of Cloisonne are there? presented as part of the SDSU Chinese Cultural Center collaboration with the SD Chinese History Museum.  (More info: Mu-Ting Huang  6195944791)

Cloisonné is a decorative art form practiced since 1300 BCE. Traditionally, wires are used to divide colors on a metal substrate and to create designs and then filled with glass. But it is easy to confuse cloisonné with other forms of enameling and Chinese cloisonné is different than that made in Japan. Being able to identify all these different aspect does take a “superlative degree of comparison” skills and being guided through the difference between Champleve (where the metal is gouged out and then filled with glass) and Basse Taile (where the metal is engraved with a design of lines and the glass floats over the top)  was inspiring.  The following gives you a brief overview in pictures of all we learned of the steps of the cloisonné process.

Collection Andy Lu

In the second workshop, I learned from young students on the spectrum about their dreams and their challenges while they created I AM Identity boxes. They were asked, “Who do I feel I am inside? What do I want others to know about me? What words encourage me to be my best?” This project was inspired by the world-famous autism expert and award winning college professor, Dr. Temple Grandin. She said, “The most interesting people you'll find are ones that don't fit into your average cardboard box. They'll make what they need, they'll make their own boxes.”. The workshop was led by Kira Carrillo Corser part of Compassionate Arts San Diego and creators of The Posts for Peace and Justice.

Kira encouraged the students by suppling small wooden boxes and simply telling them that it might be good to add some words that are meaningful, to paint some images or add found objects.

She also said glass sparkles and is a symbol of the soul. It transmits light. It made me think of the cloisonné and how I was drawn to it. 

Some of the words these young geniuses came up with are as follows:

Shine brightly so others have a lighted path
I am not broken, I am just different.
I can speak and think for myself

Marisa identifies as “Wolf Girl.” She loves and feels comfortable with animals. So she found an image of a wolf and pasted it into her box, after painting the box her favorite colors red and purple. Her words inside the box are, “Throw me to the wolves and I become their leader.”

But of course, my favorite was: My art is worth a thousand words.

The boxes display on a Post for Peace and Justice


Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Finger on the Pulse

This past year, like many of you, I questioned most days what I am supposed to be doing. There is no business as usual, but there is a lot of time to fill. Normally, proactive, but getting on in years, I found myself deciding to wait and see. I did use my non-profit website to list visual arts virtual events in San Diego (about 150) and I did, myself, attend many of those events and even report on some in my blog. I continued to make my own art and I looked at lots and lots of art on Instagram and the internet.

Only now am I realizing, that what I was actually doing was keeping my finger on the pulse of the art world. I was tracking visual reactions to Black Lives Matter. I was immersed in the election and how that might affect the art world. Support of the arts on the city and county level are particularly important in San Diego. We are the only county in California not to have an arts council. I was noticing and participating in thank you banners for our first responders and frontline workers and hoping to do so to encourage people to vaccinate.  

I was absorbing the lost of art friends, people who now have no pulse; not gathering for funerals, of course, but writing words of consolation to family and friends. I was celebrating birthdays, sunsets, even a new water heater, a good harvest of lemons, and continued good health.  I was spreading joy with cookie exchanges and spectacular holiday light reports. I was being a friend by lending an ear. All these day to day activities are an integral part of the pulse of our community. The small acts need to continue to be rooted in compassion and awareness.

I have made a personal symbol for myself to commemorate the new year and new hope. My Finger on the Pulse bronze and silver bracelet is comfortable, light weight, shiny and a reminder to me that what goes around will come around. 

See more works from the Not Your Mother's Finger Bowl series by Patricia Frischer


Thursday, December 3, 2020

State of the Arts 2021: San Diego Creative Industry by the Numbers

 by Patricia Frischer

This seems to be the time of the year when reports are published about how things are going for the year. I myself have been writing these State of the Arts reports since 2008. But although I have wishes for this next year that include a revised San Diego Art Council of some kind which aids collaborations and partnership and brings our community ever closer together, I can not make any predictions.

One comment I will make is that the arts should not be afraid of exposure online in any way lessening actual attendance. The more exposure now and in the future, the more people will come when they can do so again safely. Culture seems to be replacing religion for more and more people as we search for peace and equality in the world. 

However, I did slog through over 100 pages of reports to summarize what might be some of the most important statistics generated by both county and city documents. In part A, I have summarized the report for the whole county in terms of the financial health of the creative community.  In Part II, I report on the effects of COVID on the City of San Diego. I pay particular attention the visual arts as founder and coordinator of the San Diego Visual Arts Network.

Part I

The San Diego Regional Economic Development Council and the City of San Diego contracted the UC San Diego Extension Center for Research (CR+E) to conduct a comprehensive study that defined, profiled and quantified the economic impact of San Diego’s Creative Economy. This is a county wide report.

·        13,000 self-employed creative workers who are growing in numbers but lagging in earnings
·        6776 Visual and Performing Arts jobs projected to stay the same until 2024
·        935 of the 7,386 non-profit and for-profit creative firms are in Visual and Performing Arts
·        Entities are on average 59% for profit and 34% non-profit
·        Majority of these are small organizations with one location and 1-19 employees with 40-60%  of them hiring contractors.
·        Every job in creative industry supports another 1.1 jobs. 107,673 impacted jobs with $11.1 billion impact.
·        $559,800,000 produced by Visual and Performing Arts
·        The median annual income for all creative occupations is $75,000
·        There are nearly 13,000 self-employed creatives in the region, with a third in the Visual & Performing Arts industries.
·        Companies are overwhelmingly pleased with the skilled creative workforce in San Diego. For-profits (88%), non-profits (87%), overall (87%) of companies gave an average, above average, or excellent rating for San Diego having a skilled workforce.

A deeper dive into the Creative Economy revealed some of the concerns. For-profit arts companies do not think that government agencies are sufficiently investing in the city’s creative economy. Non-profits arts organizations emphasize that San Diego does not have a creative industry culture. For-profit companies share concerns of AB5 regulations inhibit business success, and difficulty with business regulation compliance. Non-profits described having difficulties dealing with administrators in the local government, and little to no government resources for small organizations. Non-profits describe the contracting and procurement process is often complicated and cumbersome. For-profit arts companies share concerns with non-profits that there are not a lot of training options for creative fields including limited networking opportunities 

Part II

2020 Culture Shift: Measuring COVID-19 Impact on The City of San Diego Arts and Culture Nonprofits

The Nonprofit Institute at the University of San Diego – on behalf of the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture – conducted a survey of arts and culture organizations funded by the City in fiscal year 2020. In that year, the City invested $11.4 million in arts and culture organizations. For fiscal year 2021, the City was forced to reduced annual funding to approximately $5.7 million due to drastically reduced tax revenues. Eight months into the pandemic, many City-funded arts and culture organizations are experiencing unprecedented financial losses

The sample includes 129 organizations, representing both small (revenue under $250K), medium ($250k – $1 million) and large (+$1 million) nonprofits from a variety of arts disciplines. The respondents comprise approximately 50 percent of the total arts and culture organizations registered with the Internal Revenue Service as Nonprofits and Charitable Organizations in the City of San Diego.

Key findings from the survey illustrate the devastating economic impact of closures, job losses, and lost revenue on arts and culture nonprofits as follows.

·        90 percent of arts and culture related organizations are still closed or partially closed as of August 2020.
·        Total revenue loss is estimated at $96.6 million.
·        Estimated cost of implementing recovery strategies is $64.6 million
·        40% of employees and 19% of contractors laid off or furloughed in the Visual Arts and it is generally anticipated that furloughs will become layoffs before the pandemic ends.
·        95% of organizations report reduction in program related revenue totaling $79.4 million.
·        More than 65% report a decline in individual donations. More than two-thirds of organizations reported experiencing a loss of contributed revenue due to the cancellation of fundraising events. Total reported contributed dollars lost equals $17.2 million
·        The cost of recovery to reopen to the public is reported to be nearly $65 million.
·        Philanthropy has been minimally responsive and engaged with only $3 million from local foundations and donors
·        COVID-related donations and relief already leveraged from federal, state, local government is a total of $28.3 million in emergency relief 

The effects of the pandemic are anticipated to be long-lasting, with smaller local audiences and lower levels of tourism, reductions in funding, and loss of workforce talent to other cities. Emergency relief funding for the arts and culture sector was relatively small compared to other sectors, both for-profit and nonprofit. 

San Diego Visual Arts Network is especially interested in the recommendations of this report, the last two of which are to encourage collective impact philanthropy by recommending the creation of arts and culture COVID-19 emergency task force to advise philanthropy on collective impact strategies to better support our arts and culture nonprofits. This task force could morph into the revised SD County Arts Council or Bureau of Arts and Culture. The last recommendation was to build/raise awareness about the economic and social impact of arts and culture nonprofits among funders, investors, policymakers, businesses, and other sectors. This summary is to that effect. 

Postscript: The San Diego Foundation 2020 Annual Report  just came out. They granted more than $77 million to nonprofit organizations with the most charitable year in their history and they also surpassed $1 billion in assets. About $67 million of that stayed in San Diego. Of the $9,769,081 that went to the arts over $3 1/3 million went to the Symphony and almost $3 million went to museums. Sadly only $116,672 went to arts education.

Want more?: 
Collectors during the Pandemic Picked RAW Peeled by Patricia Frischer

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Artist Guide to Surviving the Pandemic: 5 things you can do which will keep you working

We all find the situation that we are in right now confusing and frustrating. It is hard to wake up each morning not knowing what tomorrow will bring. But as artists, we find solace in making things. Here are my 5 tips to keep focus and optimism in your life. 

This post was inspired by Crista Cloutier who gave a presentation Creating a Business Plan for Today and the Future for the Redwood Art Group who produces Art San Diego. 

1.  Concentrate on building relationships: don’t hide away, connect virtually.

2.  Think about what you can give to others. Your engagement will drive traffic back to you.

3.  Revise or update your website: this is your professional calling card and online sales are booming

4.  Create pop up shows  especially near restaurants with outside dining. Alcohol always lubricates sales.

5.  Barter your art. Each trade is like a recommendation. Notice who connects with your work and why.

 Text and images by Patricia Frischer

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Understanding AB 2257, Follow Up Legislation to AB 5, and Its Impact on the Arts Sector

 By Patricia Frischer

Conversations about AB5 put on by Californians for the Arts  was held on Oct 7 and these notes are my attempt to report on that zoom meeting. Before I begin, here is a brief summary of the issues, many of which were referenced during the discussion. As we all know now, this has huge implications for the arts industry. Many of us have had to change our business plans and many of us were not compliant without even knowing we were not obeying the letter of the law.

The “ABC” test adopted by the California Supreme Court in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court is for determining whether workers in California should be classified as employees or as independent contractors. A worker can only be classified as an independent contractor if:

A.     the worker is free from control and direction in the performance of services; and

B.     the worker is performing work outside the usual course of the business of the hiring company; and

C.     the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business.

This definition of an independent contractor is much narrower than that of the multi-factor Borello test—the standard previously used in California, which made it far easier to classify workers as independent contractors. AB5 makes the ABC Test the law in California, but it also expands its application beyond wage-order claims to all provisions under the state Labor and Unemployment Insurance codes.

AB 2257
signed by Governor Newsom on September 1, 2020 is effective immediately and includes additional exemptions and clarifications to AB 5 for arts sector from the Dynamex decision. These definitions include this one for Fine Artists: “For the purposes of this subparagraph, “fine artist” means an individual who creates works of art to be appreciated primarily or solely for their imaginative, aesthetic, or intellectual content, including drawings, paintings, sculptures, mosaics, works of calligraphy, works of graphic art, crafts, or mixed media.” You will also find info about musicians in many circumstances, performing artists for single engagements, specialized performers teaching master classes, modification to business to business exemption, and clarification to the relationship of individuals acting as sole proprietors.

Comments were made throughout the 75-minute zoom discussion by the participants.

Julie Baker Executive Director, California Arts Advocates/Californians for the Arts was the moderator of this meeting and has been very involved with the new bill.

The arts currently face a triple problem: AB5, the pandemic and systemically underfunded in California. She noted that our priorities are safe re-opening and being second responders who are rebuilding a life worth living. She commented that being able to see the people on this panel helps to humanize this whole process of working our way through these laws. The arts appreciate the support to get more funding so that we can survive the triple threat to the health of the arts.  

Assemblywomen Lorena Gonzalez, 80th District, Author AB 5 and AB 2257;

Her staff really care and they are progressive and want to do their best. They want to protect workers rights to have fair pay and insurance.  But there are tough decisions for those who want to remain independent contractors. People have not been complying to the law in the past and that is hard to face now and complicates the dialogue. If you can’t pass Borello then you have no case for being an independent contractor instead of employee. However, an individual who is a Sole Proprietor who uses 1099 to file and can be exempt. Also exempt is the workshop presenter with a special master class, or a judge for a competition. An instructor who rents a space in a facility is not employee unless the space controls what is being taught.

We can look at the Business to business and Sole Proprietors exemptions first to see if can be applied. If you have your own business you can be an independent contractor. But if neither of these apply, you can look into your specific skill for examples to help you figure out what applies to you. For example, Motion picture independent video makers could be a hard category to figure out. If you have a good case, gather similar colleagues together to fight to be independent if you are not. Also, they know that groups come together and no one is in charge and they all want to contribute and share profits or Intimate Theater shows are tricky. But if you own your own work and are performing it, you are exempt. That includes clowns, mimes, magician anyone that can pass Borello.

Working with unions and getting paid sick leaves and insurance could be a bonus that comes out of these discussions.  Now could be a good time to restructure and ask for money from the state to get the arts back to work. For example, we need a payroll system for small groups to use and help them bring down the cost of their businesses.  Can the government supplement the creation of that payroll system? We should ask Governor to put some money in place for the arts?

There will be a webinar in the next few weeks to talk us through the entire bill and how to figure it out. They will try to make check lists to help, but they realize it is overwhelming. Many groups have not yet been considered and could be included in future definitions.

She is often asked about 1099s. If you are getting the 1099, you are not breaking the law. If you are issuing the 1199, then make sure you have control and direction over the person.

You can review the specific details of each section of the bill on a fact sheet by Assemblywoman Gonzalez.

Majority Leader Ian Calderon, 57th District, Principal Co-author AB 2257

Arts Funding and Arts Education were his priorities as well as social safety nets programs. As co-author of this bill, they will continue to look at the exceptions that can be made for the arts.  There are lots of compromises and lots of diverse opinions in this bill. But whenever they were able to humanize the problems and cases, they were able to make progress. The Arts as a priority was raised from dead last to the #5 spot at the top of the second column. We went from $1 million to $26 million in funding in the last years. We have 40 million people in California so this is still less than a $1 per person. We should not be 20th in rank of funding the arts. But care has to be taken as everything is about precedent, so making the bill less complicated is important. These laws will affect the future. They can’t make changes unless they know what the problems are. This will continue to be developed for years ahead.  

John Acosta President, AFM Local 47

Music Exemptions: AB 5 there is a difference between amateur and professionals. If you are professional musician, you are an employee. If you are a community-based org with no compensation to your artists, they are not employees.  There is a single engagement rule that you are still an employee if you are being directed to do a specific job. He warned that California is a magnet for talent, but as we are shut down, we start to see the cracks. This talent will move into other fields unless we can rebuild ASAP.

Sara B. Boyns, employment Attorney, Fenton & Keller.

Dynamex, then AB 5 and then Borello has made this area so confusing.   She has devises check list to see how the business model is designed. Sometimes they have to redesign their business model. This new situation is most challenging for small non-profits.  For example, the orgs that send art teachers into schools.  The non-profits are paying them, not the school district but they are employees and the small non-profits cannot cover their sick days or health insurance. She suggests using California Lawyers for the Art for advice. And remember that more than one exemption might apply. If the teacher is a registers sole proprietor with their own business, they can be independent contractors.

Understanding AB 2257: A Toolkit to Understanding the Follow Up Legislation to AB 5