A decision by the Dunedin School of Art to increase by 5%
its commission on works sold at an end-of-year exhibition has
left a sour taste with those enrolled at the school, student
about to graduate says.
The student, who wished to remain anonymous, said the school
raised the commission rate from 20% to 25% last week, less
than two weeks before the exhibition, which opens today.
Given that students paid course fees and had to cover the
cost of materials used in their artwork, they felt the level
of commission was "ridiculous", the student said.
It meant students would need to raise the price of their
works to cover the cost of materials, reducing the chances
they would sell.
"It's really stressful.
"This is supposed to be about celebrating our work, but we
now have to stress out about how much money we are actually
going to get out of it and ...[whether] we are actually going
to cover our costs."
The school had also failed to tell them why the rate was
raised to 25% this year.
It was not the fact students had to pay commission, but the
lackof communication and the fact the rate was so high that
"If [the school] had explained why, then the commission would
be easier to accept."
Otago Polytechnic director of communications Mike Waddell
said art students always had to pay commission at the
"The reason for the increase is that the commission has been
at 20% for the last 10 years and, as you can imagine, costs
have gone up during this time, hence the 5% increase," Mr
The "reality was" the art school subsidised the exhibition,
which made a loss.
It was common for artists to be charged 40% or more for
artworks sold at private galleries and to have to pay for the
hire of the venue, he said.
Fifty graduating students from the school will show their
work at this year's exhibition, SITE 2012, at the Dunedin
School of Art in Riego St.
The exhibition is open to the public today from 10am-4pm and
next Monday to Thursday from noon to 4pm.