Artist Cooperatives: Structure - Bylaws

1) Specify financial and other responsibilities of member artists. 

  • Financial: Depending upon the legal status, equity members may have to ‘purchase’ their ownership into the new cooperative; these dollars are used for start-up funds. These may be sold back to the cooperative when the artist leaves; but most cooperatives don’t make enough money to ‘buy out’ a leaving member.  Most require monthly fees from members to help maintain operational costs. 
  • Other: There are scores of responsibilities to be met and equity members must share these as well. These other responsibilities can be shared and/or required of other types of members (see discussion below). In most cases, there is usually a monthly fee paid by the stakeholders to cover operational costs (see discussion below).

2) Specify membership requirements, means, terms, removal and voluntary departure

  • Requirements could be monthly financial contributions, volunteer staffing, business management tasks (whether in marketing, accounting, etc.), even janitorial services
  • Means refer to how an artist becomes a member: nomination, self-nomination, artistic and other qualifications, and the adjudication process
  • Terms refer to the length of membership and renewal requirements
  • Removal refers to the method for removing members by the governing organization
  • Voluntary Departure specifies the required terms under which a member may leave

3) There should be at least three types of membership: Equity Members, Associate Members and Patron Members.  Each makes a contribution to the operations of the cooperative.  A commission fee for works sold also contributes to the operational costs.

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