ARTRIGHT is a project established to promote professional practice and business acumen in the South African visual arts community.


The ARTRIGHT project will provide free information, advice, legal documents and business tools relating to art education, professional practice, art business and legal relationships to the South African visual arts community. 

ARTRIGHT provides content which is accurate and up-to-date. The content has been developed by industry professionals to help standardise business relationships in the visual arts community. We aim to help emerging and established artists to understand and begin participating in this growing industry.

ARTRIGHT will not be an adversarial project. It is an educational project aimed at community building, involving as many players as possible from various sectors.


  •      - ARTRIGHT is a non-profit organisation established for the benefit of the Arts community.
  •      - ARTRIGHT's aim is to provide up-to-date, useful and accurate information on legal and business issues
  •        that concern the fine art community in order to create a more professional community.
  •      - ARTRIGHT will concern itself with content development and research for and on behalf of the fine arts
  •        community for the resolution of practical issues and problems that the community finds in business practice.
  •      - ARTRIGHT's mandate is to act in an advisory capacity only. Professional advice is to be taken where
  •        necessary from a professional source.
  •      - ARTRIGHT is a community project for the upliftment of the community.
  •      - Contributions to ARTRIGHT can be made in the form of monetary donations, content development, provision of
  •        pro bono professional services such as legal advice and web and document design. Any person or any
  •        organisation can contribute to ARTRIGHT as long as there is no conflict of interest and that the contribution
  •        received comes from a legitimate source.
  •      - ARTRIGHT may concern itself with the collection of data and statistical information through online
  •        questionnaires and through the ART Forum. These statistics may be used to develop a formal body of
  •        knowledge to be published on the ARTRIGHT website.

The thrust of the project

  •      -  A website and information portal will be created to provide various forms of support to 
  •         visual artists. We will provide business, legal and professional advice and  
  •         documentation. This is the core subject around which other dimensions of the project 
  •         will be developed.
  •      -  To develop a book which will provide the reader with information developed by the 
  •         ARTRIGHT project. The aim is for wider a distribution of the knowledge.
  •      -  A tutorial and lecture series aimed at tertiary institutions based on the information 
  •         available on the website and designed to give the students a good understanding of the 
  •         business, legal and professional practices in the visual arts community.
  •      -  An information portal to various educational and internship programs. As the three 
  •         founding partners - Brendan Copestake, the Wits School of Arts at the University of the 
  •         Witwatersrand and VANSA 
  •       - We will seek collaboration with other institutions in order to refine the content of the 
  •         website and information portal and make the content available to students and  
  •         practitioners as broadly as possible.
  •      -  We will involve major players in the field by seeking to create an advisory council.
  •      -  We plan to expand the service provided to visual artists by gradually incorporating 
  •         other areas of the visual and performing arts.
  •      -  In the final stage of the project, the aim will be to create a sustainable business model 
  •         that will enable the continuation, monitoring and updating of the support mechanisms    
  •         that have been put in place.

The project will focus on the following general aspects

  •      - Inform users of the rights currently prescribed for artists and other agents within the framework of South
  •        African law.
  •      - Contain reliable and up to date information on issues such as copyright, intellectual property, commissioning,
  •        etc.
  •      - Provide easy guidelines and tools for business administration.
  •      - Provide advice and documentation about professional practice and the business and legal side of the visual
  •        arts community.
  •      - Make available standard contractual documents for the use of artists and other players in the field of the visual
  •        arts and the creation of published documents for use by the community who does not have access to the
  •        Internet.
  •      - Provide legal advice in a forum.
  •      - Develop a tutorial and lecture series from the website content.

The Website as a platform

The website should be designed in a manner that makes it clear and easy to navigate. Information should be easily downloadable for users with a low bandwidth. The contracts and other documents should be easily understood by laypeople. The website will be periodically updated to ensure that the information remains current. The aim is to provide information that is accessible and useful to all parties active in the field of visual arts.

The information provided on the ARTRIGHT website can be used by:

  •      - Artists
  •      - Gallery owners and managers
  •      - Commissioning agents
  •      - Art agents
  •      - Educational institutions
  •      - Art facilitators
  •      - Private individuals
  •      - Public libraries
  •      - Municipalities / Public Art Programs

While further needs are likely to emerge in the course of the project, it is envisaged that the website will contain the following types of information:

  •      - An explanation of common law rights
  •      - Suitable contracts for the visual arts
  •      - Guidelines to the contracts
  •      - Guidelines to copyright and intellectual rights
  •      - Frequently asked questions and their answers
  •      - Guidelines to tax and value added tax
  •      - Business administration tools: spreadsheets, budgets, invoices, delivery notes etc.
  •      - Guidelines to business administration tools, e-mail support, and useful links, for example, to relevant laws,
  •        government departments and other support structures.

 The structure of the website

The following types of information will be found under the ART Business Tab, ART Education, ART Forum and About Tab:

ART Business

  • Professional Practice
  •      - ARTRIGHT will provide a guide called the ARTISTS Handbook that covers everyday activities and marketing
  •        strategies for artists as well as the basics of the business and legal sides of being an artist.
  • Business Tools
  •      - ARTRIGHT will provide advice on how to run your art business. 
  •      - ARTRIGHT will provide basic business tools which can be used help manage the finances and stock of
  •        smaller business entities.
  • Legal Documents
  •      - ARTRIGHT will provide legal documents and advice to assist in the creation of professional working
  •        relationships as well as serve and protect individuals' rights.
  •      - ARTRIGHT legal documents will be easily accessible to all people, un-biased to all parties involved in the
  •        contractual relationship, outline the rights of individuals in a manner which is understandable and be written for
  •        use in the South African context.
  • ART Education
  •      - ARTRIGHT will provide current information about educational programs, workshops, internships and
  •        residencies.
  •      - ARTRIGHT will develop a series of lectures and tutorials for educational institutions based on our body of
  •        knowledge.
  • Art Forum 
  •      - ARTRIGHT will provide a platform for anyone involved in the arts community to ask and answer questions.
  •        It is also a place to discuss topical issues in the arts community.
  • About Us
  •       - Were you can find out everything about ARTRIGHT and how you can contribute to the project.
  • Links
  •       - Were you can find links to ARTRIGHT partners and other visual arts community nonprofit projects how you
  •         can contribute to the project.

Founding Members

  • ARTRIGHT has been developed by a collaboration of three members:
  •      - Brendan Copestake
  •      - The Wits School of Arts
  •      - VANSA.

The roles of the members are:

  • Brendan Copestake
  •      - Brendan Copestake is the overall advisor and project administrator on ARTRIGHT.
  • The Wits School of Arts (WITS)
  •      -  WITS oversees the development of the Educational component of ARTRIGHT's Body 
  •         of Knowledge and the integration of that knowledge into tertiary educational 
  •         institutions. 
  •      - VANSA helps develop and support the project.
  •      - Brings current research and development to ARTRIGHT.
  •      - Provides the artists handbook (VANSA in partnership with Africa Centre) 
  •        to ARTRIGHT for free publication.
  •      - Provides financial resources, likely ongoing financial support from and partnership with 
  •        Gauteng Dept of Sports, Recreation Arts and Culture and Western Cape Dept of 
  •        Tourism and Economic Development
  •      - Provides an editorial/advisory capacity from a network of experienced professionals who 
  •        have shared concerns about professional development issues within the industry
  •      - Gives ARTRIGHT indirect access to a membership/network of 2000 + artists,
  •        businesses, organizations and other professionals to whom the project can be
  •        communicated.