When Taking Pen to Paper

You: An artist or creative person who was just offered the opportunity to show or publish your work. (Good Job!) You are overwhelmed with excitement and you are as nervous as can be.

The Scene: An office, studio or gallery where you have just been handed a contract by the gallery owner or publisher.

The Question: What do you do?

Initially, you, like many artists who have worked for years for such an opportunity, might want to shout out “Where is my pen? I am ready willing and able to sign!” However, in this instance it is best to keep those impulses under control, take the contract home, and take time to review it carefully. If you have questions or concerns about the meaning of any terms of the contract, it is a good idea to consult an attorney.

It is fundamental contract law that some basic information needs to be spelled out in any valid contract, including the parties, the subject matter, consideration, and mutual assent. But what does that mean? Most simply it means that there must be an agreement between the parties and that something of value be given in exchange for the goods. Often times artists forget that the contract is an offer, and that the offer does not require immediate acceptance. Typically, there can be some room for negotiation. Don’t sign the first deal you are offered, unless you are certain it is the best deal you will get, and certainly not without carefully reviewing and understanding the terms of the contract.

If you would like to discuss these issues, please feel free to contact Mia Rosenblatt Tinkjian, mrt@kongreen.com. Mia received her MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and her law degree from Boston College Law School. She recently participated in Miller Street Open Studios in Somerville and in a group show at The Little Gallery Under the Stairs in Lynn.

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