EAA MANAGEMENT BOARD REPORT: ESTONIAN ARTISTS' ASSOCIATION 2016–2018
This management report by the management board – the president, the vice president and the finance director of the Estonian Artists' Association (EAA), highlights the achievements and events of the past three years, maps the organisation’s current situation as of spring 2019, as well as the challenges and development trends facing the EAA.
During the last reporting period in the years 2013–2015, one of the objectives of the management board was to map the activities, structure and situation of the EAA as a multifunctional organisation. In comparison to the past, an important shift took place in regard to the EAA’s self-awareness as an economic organisation, which was probably inevitable for an organisation that is responsible for the largest art production environment in Estonia, and nine-tenths of whose regular revenue is derived from rental income.
The years 2016–2018 are best described by the keywords reform and development, with examples including the comprehensive update of the Association’s statutes, the reforming of Tallinn Art Hall into a joint foundation in cooperation with the state, and the founding of the Art Infrastructure Foundation, as well as bringing Draakon Gallery under the EAA’s ownership.
One of the most labour-intensive lines of action for both the management board and the team were the development activities related to the ARS project: launching the Open ARS project with the support of Enterprise Estonia, brand development (ARS Art Factory and ARS Concept), and the creation of a development plan. At the same time, day-to-day work has not been any less important – whether it be ensuring professional exhibition activities in the Association’s galleries, maintenance of buildings, or participation in collaborative activities as the relevant artistic association and expert organisation. A good example of the growing support for creative individuals is the evolution of a laureate system for artists – initially planned as a pilot project – into an established part of the national arts policy.
The 75th anniversary of the foundation of the Estonian Artists' Association was celebrated on 4 January 2018 at Tallinn Art Hall. In addition to the Association’s friends and cooperation partners, the event was attended by President of the Republic of Estonia, Kersti Kaljulaid, as an honorary guest, who also gave an address.
Objectives and activities of the Estonian Artists' Association
Today, the Estonian Artists' Association prides itself on a history inspired and shaped by the significant events of the 20th century, with the Central Association of Estonian Artists (1922), Estonian Soviet Artists Association (1943) and the Artists Association of the Estonian SSR (1957) as its predecessors.
With 989 members and 18 sub-associations, the EAA is one of the largest artistic associations in Estonia. The association aims to develop the field of art and expand its social basis in Estonia, to protect the interests of artists and support their creative activities.
The primary function of the EAA is to operate as an artistic association (code 94121 under the national classification of economic activities, EMTAK), which includes participating in cultural policymaking and sectoral development activities, protecting the interests of artists, curators, art historians and theorists as well as other art workers, and promoting their working conditions.
The main activities of the EAA are:
(1) operating as a sectoral expert organisation (including appointing experts to committees and juries, participating in legislative drafting (e.g. Concerning the social guarantees for artists, copyright and the Commissioning of Artworks Act), helping to develop strategies and action plans);
(2) cooperating with artistic and cultural organisations in Estonia and internationally, as well as with the Estonian state and local governments; promoting the international contacts of Estonian artists;
(3) organising exhibitions in the EAA galleries (Hobusepea, Draakon, HOP, Vabaduse), Tallinn Art Hall (a foundation established and supported by the EAA and the Republic of Estonia) and the Toompea Castle Exhibition Hall;
(4) economic activities aimed at earning funds for the fulfilment of the association’s statutory objectives, including the maintenance and sustainable development of the creative infrastructure (studios, workshops and galleries) on the EAA’s properties at 6 and 8 Vabaduse väljak, 2 Hobusepea and 154 Pärnu maantee, Tallinn, and the Muhu Art Residency;
(5) administrative activities to provide better conditions for people working in the creative centres operating at the above properties, including through the initiating and carrying out specialised and interdisciplinary projects as well as dedicated property management and rental (focused on supporting the creation of professional art);
(6) pooling professional competence and facilitating the exchange of ideas and practices through coordinating the activities of the EAA’s 18 sub-associations.
Mission and vision
Our mission is to support the activities and protect the interests of our members and other creative individuals in the arts, develop the art field and promote awareness of art, and contribute to the sustainable development of Estonian culture and society.
The EAA is a modern and developing organisation operating in a balanced and effective way to contribute to the sustainable development of Estonian art and culture. The EAA is an important opinion leader and expert organisation in the arts, while also contributing to culture, education and social matters more broadly. The EAA is a recognised advocate of the interests of creative individuals, a promoter of the creative industries, a participant in sectoral development activities, and a reliable partner at the international level.
Between 2016 and 2018, 46 new members joined the EAA and 38 members left permanently. As of 5 June 2019, the EAA has 989 members, of whom 388 are of retirement age.
EAA members are issued an International Association of Art (IAA) membership card, which provides free or affordable entry to many exhibitions and museums worldwide.
In accordance with the EAA’s statutes, the Association’s highest governing body between general assemblies is the council. There were seven council meetings in 2016, five in 2017, and four in 2018. The management board considers cooperation with the council to be constructive and productive – together they have developed viewpoints and found solutions to many challenging issues.
Ruth-Helene Melioranski and Geroli Peedu advised and assisted the EAA in connection with issues relating to creative industries by establishing Open ARS and Open ARS 2: Content-Related Activities in cooperation with the Association’s management board and with the support of Enterprise Estonia. Our partners have supported the activities of our employees and helped to ensure professionalism in various areas of work – for example, law offices Sorainen, NOVE and TGS Baltic with legal issues, Addenda in connection with health and safety in the workplace, renowned experts Hannes Kuhlbach and Hillar-Peeter Luitsalu with issues relating to property, PR Strategies with communicating the activities of Open ARS, etc. The tenants – artists and creative enterprises – operating in the Association’s buildings have been excellent and active participants in the organisation of joint activities and events.
In the spring of 2016, the management board initiated an update of the statutes in cooperation with the council and based primarily on the following acknowledgements: the internal coherence of the existing statutes from 2007 requires improvement; certain issues have been needlessly over-regulated or described with an excessive level of detail in the statutes, thereby impeding the management and development of the organisation; the statutes need to be brought in line with legislative amendments, while also taking into account changes and developments in the Estonian Artists Association and in our cultural environment.
The EAA’s routine general assembly that took place on 6 May 2016 in Estonia Concert Hall in Tallinn included the presentation and discussion of the changes to the EAA’s statutes as an agenda point, among other items. This was followed by a vote in which 244 members of the Association were in favour of adopting the new statutes, 46 members were against, and 40 members abstained. In accordance with clause 20.2 of the EAA’s statutes valid at the time, a decision of the general assembly would be adopted if more than half of the members who participated or were represented in the general assembly voted in favour of it. By the start of the general assembly of 6 May 2016, a total of 413 members of the EAA were present or represented by proxy. Therefore, while 74% of those who participated in the vote voted in favour of adopting the new statutes, this constituted only 59% of those who had registered for the general assembly – which proved insufficient to meet the requirement (over 2/3 of members or their representatives participating in a general meeting must vote in favour of amending the statutes) set out in the Non-profit Associations Act (subsection 23 (1)).
Insofar as statutes that are up-to-date and in concordance with legislation and the content of the activities and the objectives of the organisation is important and essential for the development and day-to-day activities of the Estonian Artists Association, the management board of the EAA decided, with the approval of the council, to convene an extraordinary general assembly in the hope that this time the new statutes will gain the support required by law.
By the start of the extraordinary general assembly of 16 August 2016 that took place at Tallinn Art Hall, a total of 432 EAA members were present or represented by proxy, of whom 375 voted in favour of changing the statutes, 38 were against, and 4 abstained. Therefore, the extraordinary general assembly decided to approve the new version of the statutes of the Estonian Artists Association with the overwhelming support of the members of the Association who participated in the meeting.
During the last reporting period in the years 2013–2015, one of the emerging primary objectives of the management board was to map and give meaning to the activities, structure and situation of the EAA as a versatile and multifunctional organisation. In comparison to the past, an important shift took place in regard to the EAA’s self-awareness as an economic organisation – based on the understanding that the EAA is the owner and developer of the largest art infrastructure targeted towards professional artists in Estonia.
Already in 2014, the management board launched an extensive process aimed at determining the value, problems and perspectives of buildings belonging to the EAA, including their structural condition and investment needs. In the course of this process, expert assessments were prepared for all the Association’s buildings located in Tallinn, detailed inventories of the buildings were made, and digitalised drawings were created in a format suitable for planning.
The EAA’s activities as a property owner are connected to its core aims, which are focused on the purposeful and sustainable development of facilities designed and built for the creation and exhibition of art, as well as renting these facilities to creative individuals at an affordable price. In this context, the central question is how to ensure substantial investments in poorly kept buildings and to earn resources for accomplishing the Association’s various statutory objectives from the same rental activity that takes artists’ modest financial means into account.
The common understanding of the management board and the council has been that acting solely as a landlord and addressing only urgent problems does not support the organisation’s sustainability. As a result, development activities became central in the years 2016–2018, both in terms of the organisation’s operational capacity building, structural reform, and property development.
Reform of Tallinn Art Hall
Between 2016 and 2017, a reform of Tallinn Art Hall was carried out involving cooperation between the EAA and the Estonian Ministry of Culture, with the aim of ensuring a sustainable future for one of Estonia’s most important exhibition spaces. As a result of discussions that began in 2015, Minister of Culture Indrek Saar submitted a formal proposal to the Estonian Artists Association on 8 June 2016 to consider having the state as a co-founder of the Tallinn Art Hall Fund (Tallinna Kunstihoone Fond).
“There are currently no state-owned organisations in the field of the visual arts. The Ministry of Culture wishes to share a greater responsibility for the development of Tallinn Art Hall, the most important exhibition space in the Estonian art world, by putting into practice the state’s experience of the strategic management and supervision of co-founded organisations,” the Minister said.
The proposal was welcomed by the EAA and on 20 June 2016 the council granted the management board powers to carry out legal transactions relating to the reorganisation of the Tallinn Art Hall Fund, including the establishment of a joint foundation with the Republic of Estonia, as well as the establishment of a separate foundation by EAA to provide better working, creative and presentation conditions for artists, art historians and art workers. Consequently, on 24 November 2016, the Estonian Artists Association founded the Art Infrastructure Foundation, which then took possession of the sizable art collection of the historic Estonian Art Fund (Eesti Kunstifond), which had been handed over to the Tallinn Art Hall Fund by EAA during the 1990s.
On 27 March 2017, the council approved the memorandum of association and the draft statutes of the new Tallinn Art Hall Foundation. The memorandum of association was signed by Minister of Culture Indrek Saar and EAA President Vano Allsalu on 4 December 2017.
On 21 December 2017, the EAA and the Tallinn Art Hall Foundation signed a contract for establishing personal right of use, under which the EAA guarantees the free use of the premises required for hosting exhibitions for 50 years, as in previous agreements with the Tallinn Art Hall Fund. The Ministry of Culture in turn is committed to ensuring a more stable and efficient financing of Tallinn Art Hall as an exhibition space. According to Taaniel Raudsepp, Director of Tallinn Art Hall, in comparison with 2015, state support increased by a factor of 3.8 by 2018, reaching 284,000 euros. By 2019, it will have grown by 8.2 times what it was in 2015, bringing the state support to 615,000 euros. This impressive increase in support is undoubtedly also the result of the hard work of the foundation’s manager and team. The foundation’s council includes Ketli Tiitsar, Jaan Elken and Vano Allsalu as representatives from the EAA, and Maria-Kristiina Soomre and Berit Teeäär as representatives from the Ministry of Culture.
In addition to the major renovations to the facade of Tallinn Art Hall carried out previously with the resources of the Tallinn Art Hall Fund, the foundation’s funds have made it possible to fix the education room and the staircase in the building at 8 Vabaduse väljak, to renovate exhibition halls at Tallinn Art Hall, the Art Hall Gallery as well as Tallinn City Gallery, and to install modern electronic communication systems on both the gallery windows and inside Tallinn Art Hall. In cooperation with the EAA, the lift in Tallinn Art Hall has been renovated, now ensuring disabled access to the exhibition halls.
In 2018, Tallinn Art Hall organised 17 exhibitions, of which two were abroad (Alice, Neeme & Jass at Kunsthalle Helsinki and the solo exhibition by Mihkel Ilus, How Else Can I Put It at Hordaland Kunstsenter in Bergen). Exhibitions organised by Tallinn Art Hall in the Art Hall and its galleries attracted 55,907 visits in 2018, while 2,200 young people participated in its educational programmes. The most visited exhibitions were The State is not a Work of Art and the EAA’s spring exhibition Jubilee Spring 2018, which showcased the work of 106 artists. In addition to coverage in the national media, the Tallinn Art Hall exhibitions were also included in prestigious international art magazines Art Monthly, Art Review and Frieze.
The EAA’s traditional spring exhibition, which had been the subject of various experiments and digressions over the years, was given a new, art fair format in 2018 in cooperation with Tallinn Art Hall. The exhibition was born as a result of strict screening by the jury, and, in the past three years, collaboration with the art platform NOAR has provided artists with better opportunities to sell their work and interact with interested parties. A people’s choice award of 5,000 euros offered by the Estonian art collectors and supporters Riivo Anton, Aivar Berzin, Jaan Manitski, Tiit Pruuli and Rain Tamm provided the exhibition with undeniable added value.
Development of ARS
One of the greatest challenges for the management and team at the EAA in the past three years has been the development of the ARS complex. This has included creating a development plan, initiating and implementing the Open ARS project, developing the ARS Art Factory and ARS Concept brands, the programme for the activities of the Art Factory, organising events and training, as well as developing collaboration with artists and EAA partners.
In the EAA vision, the legendary Art Products Factory was transformed for the 21st century to become the ARS Art Factory, combining innovation with history and contemporary practices and technologies with traditional professional art skills in Estonia. Professional artists, their studios and workshops, and creative industries are at the heart of the present-day creative hub. In turn, this is integrated with forms of action and initiatives directed at the general public, ranging from education to entertainment. In addition to visual artists, artists working in the applied arts, and designers, the ARS Art Factory also welcomes other creators of culture, as well as all enterprising people open to creativity. In the EAA vision, ARS could become a kind of oasis of the creative industries that improves the quality of life and work of the nearby residents and workers, and contributes to greater security and diversity in the cultural field and the urban environment.
The keywords production and promotion have a central place in the ARS Art Factory development plan and programme through which the EAA is creating the conditions and opportunities to enable creative people to focus on and present their work, and to exchange ideas and share experiences. One important step along this path has been the Open ARS project. Its aim is to spatially and functionally open up the former art products factory, develop a central promotion and education centre, a project space and a ceramics centre. Open ARS 2 was created to support the vision and principles of Open ARS and to empower creative people and entrepreneurs to achieve their goals. It is functionally connected to the first project and focuses on content-related activities. Both are funded by Enterprise Estonia from the European Regional Fund with a total of 540,000 euros.
An important event for the ARS community was the opening of the communal space 310 in spring 2018. The ARS project space as well as various studios and meeting rooms are available to artists and designers to help them realise creative projects, while the ARS Showroom is at their disposal for presenting and selling works and products.
Collaboration has brought both experts from the Export Academy and young people from the Future Studio programme of the Pallas University of Applied Sciences to meet ARS residents and see their work, and the Open Studios Day and the pre-Christmas Market attracted customers enthusiastic about art. Art professionals have had the opportunity to exchange ideas at the ARS Club and by interacting with international art experts as part of the Connectorium programme organised by Varvara & Mar.
There have been 27 exhibitions in the multifunctional ARS Project Space between 2016 and 2018, involving established artists of international standing as well as bold, innovative presentations by young artists. The two-day ARS Film Festival AFF curated by Indrek Köster and Reimo Võsa-Tangsoo, now in its third year, has also gained recognition and renown. The most recent AFF screened films by 91 artists and artist collectives.
One of the largest initiatives undertaken by Open ARS was the art environment ARS Concept, a pilot project which opened on 22 November 2018 at the T1 Mall of Tallinn, and where visual and applied art by 40 professional artists was exhibited under the slogan Art, Made and Chosen with Intent (Mõttega tehtud ja valitud kunst). The ARS Concept programme included, among other things, thematic weekends called Material with Intent (Mõttega materjal) and the three-month pilot project culminated on 26 February 2019 with afternoon panel discussions with nearly 20 experts on the subject A Market for Art – Art for the People (Turg kunstile – kunst rahvale?).
Naturally, these events are merely the tip of the iceberg in the overall work of the manager of ARS, Indrek Köster, and other members of his team. In addition to administrative work, they are constantly busy with the various everyday concerns of the residents and repair work in the buildings that were built in the 1960s. To ensure that development continues to look to the future and that the big picture is not overshadowed by everyday concerns, the EAA has initiated a development plan for 154 Pärnu maantee. This will mean that the ARS Art Factory vision for the future will have an even more specific functional and visual form.
Buildings, tenants and activities
The Association owns the buildings at 6 and 8 Vabaduse väljak, 2 Hobusepea, and 154 Pärnu maantee in Tallinn, as well as the Uuetalu farm in Nõmmküla on the island of Muhu. The rooms of Draakon Gallery at 18 Pikk tänav also belong to the EAA.
The buildings at 6 and 8 Vabaduse väljak have a total of 39 studios rented out to artists who are members of the EAA on the basis of a personal application and subsequent decision made by the studio committee.
In addition to the artists’ workspaces and the offices of the Association, 6 Vabaduse väljak is also home to Vabaduse Gallery, with the art supplies shop Galerii-G as a long-term tenant. Since 2015, the art platform NOAR is also an occupant, and the editorial offices of Kunst.ee, Estonia’s premiere contemporary art magazine, which is supported by the Association, has operated in the building since 2000.
The building also houses two architectural firms – TT Arhitektuuribüroo OÜ, under the leadership of Tõnu and Tim Saan, and Loominguline Kollektiiv OÜ (Ero Puumets, Anneli Tammik) – as well as Elu on kunst OÜ, which manages Tuum cafe.
In November 2014, the gallery of the Estonian Academy of Arts, EKA Gallery, opened in the cellar, which is accessed from the inner courtyard of the building. However, on completion of the new art academy building this has been turned into a joint exhibition space for the fine art students and curatorial art history students at the academy and is known as Vent Space.
The gallery and exhibitions halls at 8 Vabaduse väljak or Tallinn Art Hall, as it is more commonly known, are undoubtedly the cornerstones of its public face and are operated by the Tallinn Art Hall Foundation. The Tallinn Art Hall building also accommodates the Center for Contemporary Arts Estonia and the Association’s visiting artist studio. On the ground floor, there is Tuum cafe (formerly KuKu cafe) and the design shop Nu Nordik, the legendary print workshop Graafikakoda is in the rear wing, and in the cellar below that, Grafodroom, which was established by a group of young printmakers. The legendary KuKu Club operates in the cellar.
Lugemik, Estonia’s only bookshop specialising in cultural publications has been operating in the Tallinn Art Hall foyer since January 2016.
Between 2016 and 2018, the EAA’s visiting artist studio has provided opportunities for a total of 36 foreign artists. It has also been used by numerous local artists preparing work for exhibitions and other projects. The most distant visitors have come from Australia and Canada.
The building at 2 Hobusepea has 29 studios and workshops (including spaces for groups such as Gram, Õhuloss, Sinihabe, Kam, and others) with more than 70 artists working there, some of whom have been making jewellery from precious metals in this very building for over 50 years. This active artist collective organises a popular open studio event each year, where visitors interested in jewellery and printmaking can take tours, enjoy concerts and also purchase jewellery and other design objects.
The building is home to Hobusepea Gallery, which showcases contemporary art, and HOP Gallery, which focuses on applied art and design, both of which belong to the Association, as well as A-Galerii, which is the largest exhibition space in Estonia dedicated to jewellery.
The law office Ignatius also operates in the building, providing free primary legal assistance to members as part of an agreement with the EAA. The interior design bureau Pille Lausmäe Sisearhitektuuribüroo OÜ and the architectural firm Arhitektuuribüroo Studio Paralleel OÜ are also residents.
As of 1 March 2019, the EAA has 97 rental agreements at the ARS Art Factory at 154 Pärnu maantee – over 90% of the tenants are artists, designers and creative enterprises.
In spring 2019, there were 190 valid rental agreements in all EAA buildings. At ARS and Hobusepea in particular, a single space is often used by many artists or creative enterprises, and so the clients of the Association from the creative industries (i.e. residents) number more than two hundred.
Between 2016 and 2018 the EAA galleries (Hobusepea, Draakon, HOP, Vabaduse) hosted 204 exhibitions with 390 artists and curators taking part in solo and group shows. Over the past three years, the galleries have had a total of 170,840 visitors.
The artists and exhibitions hosted by Hobusepea and Draakon galleries during the past three years have been awarded the Konrad Mägi Award (Kristi Kongi), the Kristjan Raud Prize (Art Allmägi, Mall Paris), and the visual and applied arts award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia (Anu Vahtra, Mari-Leen Kiipli). The cooperation that started in 2011 between Hobusepea and Draakon galleries and the Estonian Academy of Arts in awarding the Young Artist Award (Ann Pajuväli, Kristina Õllek, Hedi Jaansoo) also continued. Exhibitions at HOP and Vabaduse galleries were awarded the Kristjan Raud Prize (Nils Hint, Tiiu Pallo-Vaik). The cooperation that started in 2016 between HOP Gallery and the Estonian Academy of Arts in the awarding of the Young Applied Artist Award (Helena Tuudelepp, Katrin Kabun, Sandra Kossorotova) also continued.
Between 2016 and 2018, the exhibition rooms of Vabaduse, Draakon and Hobusepea galleries underwent major renovation processes – the completely outdated facade window of Draakon Gallery was replaced, its windows facing Pühavaimu street were restored, and the heating system renewed. The exhibition halls and to some extent also the workspaces in Draakon Gallery, HOP Gallery and Hobusepea Gallery underwent light renovations. The historic front door of Vabaduse Gallery was carefully restored by experts.
The activities begun at EAA’s Muhu Art Residency in 2015 have continued, with the programme of content being developed and the historic farm complex being fixed under the leadership of Tiiu Rebane and with the participation of artists staying at the farm. The Association of Estonian Printmakers are valuable partners with the week-long international printmaking event Muhu Print. Diverse and international visitors have also been attracted by the Futu Muhu Art Festival, which was launched in 2015. Its aim is to create interest in this historic architectural gem and to showcase the farm complex as a functional environment with interesting potential for the promotion of contemporary international cultural activities. In 2018, the art symposium Painting the Forest (Maalides metsa) took place within the context of the festival. In addition to painters, the symposium was attended by the writer and thinker, Hasso Krull, the journalist and environmental activist, Linda Mari Väli, and many others. In 2019, the motto of the festival is From Art to Village (Kunstilt külale) and the goal is to create a memorial at the centre of Nõmmküla to the legendary but fading culture of fishing on the northern coast of Muhu.
The main building of the farm complex is also the one that is in the worst condition. It is a cottage-threshing barn of 276 m2, with the threshing barn section having been destroyed years ago by fire. Under the special conditions of heritage conservation, preserving the structure of the building is the first priority, with other remaining parts to be maintained until the commencement of restoration works. All the outbuildings require improvements to a greater or lesser extent, and the plumbing throughout needs to be updated.
The EAA participates in revising and formulating laws pertaining to the field, including the development of the Commissioning of Artworks Act, the Creative Persons and Artistic Associations Act, and the Copyright Act, as well as the development of thematic strategies and action plans (including the priority objectives of cultural politics, the development plan of the field of arts, and others).
As the expert organisation in the field, the EAA appoints representatives to various committees, supervisory boards and juries (including those regularly formed under the Commissioning of Artworks Act) at the request of the state and local governments, as well as other organisations.
The EAA cooperates with all the major organisations and educational institutions active in the field of art and culture in Estonia (the Estonian Ministry of Culture, the Center for Contemporary Arts Estonia, the Art Museum of Estonia, the Estonian Academy of Arts, the Estonian Contemporary Art Development Center, and many others) by participating in debates, consultations, communications and joint projects.
With the aim of mapping common perspectives and potential courses of action in representing the interests of creative individuals, developing creative industries, and promoting art education, the EAA has signed cooperation agreements with Tallinn Creative Incubator and the Estonian Contemporary Art Development Center, and on the educational side with the Estonian Academy of Arts, Tartu Art School, Sally Stuudio art school for children and young people, and Nukufilm’s children‘s animation studio. A cooperation agreement was concluded with the village society Põhjarannik in order to plan collaboration with the local community around the Muhu Art Residency. Promotion of the ARS Art Factory is supported by agreements with the Agate Art Mend agency for developing the ARS Showroom, and with the Estonian Ceramists Association for establishing a ceramics centre. The Ministry of Culture remains a strategic partner of the EAA, and collaboration is ongoing with Tallinn City Government, artistic associations, sectoral organisations and cultural institutions.
Enterprise Estonia became one of the most important cooperation partners for the Association in 2016–2018, and not just through directly supporting the implementation of the Open ARS project. In 2018, Enterprise Estonia launched the training and evaluation programme Diagnostics and Practice of Strategy, aimed at development centres for creative industries and key organisations in the sector. In the course of the programme, members of the EAA’s management and creative industries team received valuable feedback, as well as new knowledge and ideas on both organisational management and economic strategic planning. The creative industries expert Ragnar Siil, mentor Ingrid Hindrikson and many other leading business experts analysed the EAA’s economic model and past activities and provided recommendations for future development.
In addition to its activities as an artistic association and development centre for creative industries, an important line of action for the EAA is acting as an expert organisation in its field, including participation through representatives and appointing experts to committees and juries (e.g. cultural awards and grants, art procurements carried out in accordance with the Commissioning of Artworks Act, various competitions organised by public organisations); participating in law making and in the development of strategies and action plans; communicating information relating to the arts field; collaboration with artistic and cultural organisations in Estonia and abroad as well as with the Estonian State and local governments; and international networking on behalf of Estonian artists.
As representatives from the EAA, Vano Allsalu and Elin Kard attended the IAA Europe General Assemblies on 4–5 November 2016 in Berlin and 14–16 September 2017 in Dublin, presenting developments in the Estonian art scene and exchanging ideas and experiences with colleagues from sister organisations.
Members of the ARS Art Factory development team visited Manchester and Liverpool on 20–23 May 2018 with the aim of mapping operating models and practices in creative industries and using British art centres as case studies, and to promote an international exchange of ideas and experiences. A total of seven centres with a different focus and status were visited, and connections were made for future collaborations. The experience and training trip for the EAA team was supported by Enterprise Estonia as part of the Raising Awareness of Creative Industries activity of the creative industries development grant.
Opportunities for completing residencies abroad that have become available for EAA members in recent years are a good example of international cooperation. In November 2017, the Estonian Artists Association launched an artist exchange pilot project in cooperation with the Hamilton Arts Council in Canada. This project involves the organisations reciprocally sending artists to reside in Hamilton, Ontario and Tallinn, encouraging their professional development and facilitating networking opportunities. Marko Mäetamm was the first artist-in-residence at The Cotton Factory, Hamilton’s creative industries complex. In autumn 2018, the Canadian artist Tor Lukasik-Foss resided in Tallinn at the EAA’s invitation, while Peeter Laurits stayed in Canada as part of the exchange programme.
As a result of negotiations launched in December 2018, the EAA concluded an agreement with the Swedish Stiftelsen Grez-sur-Loing foundation, enabling one Estonian artist to take up residency at Hôtel Chevillon in Grez-sur-Loing, France, from September 2019.
Within Estonia, the EAA has contributed to debates and studies, including participating in the 2017 study by Civitta Estonia AS on the subject of the internationalisation and export of Estonian creative industries, and being involved in the expert panel supporting the OSKA study of needs for labour and skills conducted by the Estonian Qualifications Authority.
Together with its partners, the EAA presents art awards – the Kristjan Raud Prize (in collaboration with the City of Tallinn) and the Konrad Mägi Award (in collaboration with the Cultural Endowment of Estonia and the Estonian Painters Association). The Estonian Artists Association is also involved in the process of awarding the AkzoNobel Art Award and the Wiiralt Prize, as well as being on several juries and decision-making bodies.
Grants and support measures
Creative grants and scholarships
Grants and scholarships paid from the national budget under the Creative Persons and Artistic Associations Act are undoubtedly the most significant financial resources available to artists and art historians through the Association. In 2016, 32 individuals received creative grants totalling 106,325 euros and 118 artists received scholarships totalling 34,200 euros. In 2017, 39 individuals received creative grants (142,019 euros in total) and 76 individuals received scholarships (25,250 euros in total). In 2018, creative grants were paid to 49 beneficiaries (185,792 euros in total) and scholarships were awarded to 42 applicants (11,000 euros in total).
Support for the activities of the EAA
The support of the Estonian Ministry of Culture and the Cultural Endowment of Estonia contributes significantly to the exhibition activities in the EAA’s galleries – in the years 2016–2018, the Ministry of Culture supported the activities of the EAA’s galleries with a total of 90,000 euros, with the Cultural Endowment of Estonia providing the same amount.
The Department of Heritage Conservation in the Tallinn Urban Planning Department supported the renovation of the facade of Tallinn Art Hall in 2017 with 1,000 euros, and the renovation of the lift in Tallinn Art Hall in 2019 with 1,529 euros; the EAA’s artists choir is supported by the Estonian Choral Association with an annual 300 euros. The EAA has also applied for and received support for various art projects from the Cultural Endowment of Estonia and from Tallinn City Government.
It is important to emphasise that as an organisation, the EAA – a non-profit association that brings creators together and protects their interests – receives no regular operational support, let alone any resources for the maintenance of EAA’s buildings, where its members and other artists operate. The exception is the administrative fee that accompanies support for creative individuals, which is used primarily to cover the remuneration for the coordinator of creative individuals and associated accounting costs. Due to the significant increase in the support for creative activity, in 2017–2018 we supported members in part from administrative funds with grants awarded on the basis of applications received in an open competition.
Any other activities arising from the objectives set out in the EAA’s statutes are funded primarily from our own resources, the main source for which is the rental of the rooms in the Association’s buildings.
Commissioning of Artworks Act
The 2011 Commissioning of Artworks Act continues to be an important source of professional income for artists, as it sets out that 1 per cent of the cost of public buildings must be allocated towards the commissioning of artworks, thereby enriching the public space with art. As of 2018, a total of 77 competitions for commissioning artwork have been held for a total sum of 2,243,000 euros.
Works of art have been commissioned for educational and health care institutions, Estonian foreign missions, government buildings and other institutions. Riigi Kinnisvara AS has held the most competitions. The financial volume of the procurements has ranged from 7,000 euros to 65,000 euros (i.e. the maximum possible). Commissions have included outdoor sculptures, installations, paintings and print works, as well as photographic art.
In accordance with the law, 2/3 of the jury members are appointed by two artistic associations – the EAA and the Estonian Society of Art Historians and Curators. An overview of procurement results, current competitions and instructional material can be found on the websites of the EAA and the Ministry of Culture.
Artist laureate salaries
One of the most important steps in promoting artistic creation and valuing the activities of artists in recent years has undoubtedly been the establishment of the state laureate system for artists and writers, which is based on the acknowledgement that quality and development in the field of art cannot be guaranteed solely on the basis of projects or by focusing on market relations. The goal of the artist laureate salaries is to enable professional artists to focus on their creative activities and thereby contribute in a meaningful way to the development of Estonian culture. In addition to its long-term nature, the difference between the laureate salaries and grants for creative activity is that the former also comes with social guarantees.
The first call for laureate nominations was announced on 2 November 2015, after which five artists began to receive a laureate salary for a period of three years from January 2016: Kaido Ole, Marge Monko, Kris Lemsalu, Mark Raidpere and Anu Vahtra. From January 2017, the recipients of the artist laureate salary were joined by Dénes Kalev Farkas, Kiwa (Jaanus Kivaste), Flo Kasearu and Jaanus Samma, with the EAA adding one salary from its own resources to the three state-financed ones. Three artists began to receive the salary in the following year: Tõnis Saadoja, Edith Karlson and Tanja Muravskaja. From 2019, both the size of the artist laureate salary and the number of recipients increased, with the salary being awarded to Jass Kaselaan, Jüri Kask, Marko Mäetamm, Kärt Ojavee and Laura Põld.
The Ministry of Culture increased the budget for the laureate salaries for artists and writers, so that in the future there would be 15 writers and 15 artists receiving the salary every year. In 2016–2018, the size of the artists’ salary was based on the total cost of the average salaries in the year preceding the committee’s decision. From 2019, the salary will be equivalent to the minimum wage of cultural workers multiplied by 1.1.
When selecting the recipients of the artist laureate salaries, emphasis is placed on the future – the candidate’s motivation, three-year creative plan, and the relevance and innovation of their creative objectives are evaluated first and foremost. The recipients of the wage are selected on the basis of applications received by a committee created within the EAA, which, in addition to representatives from the Association, also includes representatives from the major art exhibition organisations (Kumu Art Museum, Tartu Art Museum, Tallinn Art Hall, Tartu Art House, the Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia, the Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design), as well as representatives from the Center for Contemporary Arts Estonia and the Estonian Contemporary Art Development Center.
In 2019, we can say that the artist laureate salary support measure has proved highly valuable so far, and we hope to continue this successful collaboration and to gradually increase the number of recipients in cooperation with the Estonian Ministry of Culture.
Traditions and discounts for members
The membership fee of the EAA remained unchanged between 2016 and 2018: 13 euros per year (special price of 3 euros for pensioners, free for honorary members). From 2018, members who are 75 or older are also exempt from paying the fee. Membership fees account for less than 1.5% of the Association’s own revenues.
The Association’s members have the right to request studio spaces in the Association’s buildings, exhibition dates at the Association’s galleries, and apply for support and grants for creative activity in accordance with established procedures.
From December 2015, the EAA offers its members free primary legal assistance, provided by the experienced lawyer Vahur Glaase (Ignatius law office, 2 Hobusepea). The services include professional advice regarding issues pertaining to the creative field and entrepreneurship (e.g. copyright, contracts related to the commission and delivery of artworks, employment contracts, professional cooperation agreements, etc.), as well as private matters (family, property, rental relationships, etc.). Primary legal assistance involves a discussion of the particular case and advice regarding the most appropriate legal course of action to resolve it. If necessary, an agreement or contract will be concluded between the lawyer and the EAA member using the service. It will set out the rights and obligations of both parties as well as the more detailed content, format and duration of the legal assistance to be provided. The legal assistance provided is discreet and confidential.
A total of 36 people used free legal assistance in 2016–2018. According to Vahur Glaase, while the main subjects in 2016 were related to copyright, advice pertaining to the Law of Obligations Act and contract law was the most sought after in the following year, with a particular focus on questions relating to ensuring the performance of contracts. In 2018, there was a rise in topics related to the taxation of the sale of works in various EU countries. Legal issues concerning people’s personal lives are also important. Many of those needing assistance have sought out the lawyer for repeated consultations, due to the complexity of the issues needing to be resolved.
The Association normally also offers its members assistance with the transport of artworks with the EAA’s van. Accommodation at Muhu Art Residency is available at a reduced price, and all the major sellers of art supplies provide discounts to the Association’s members.
EAA members over 75 years of age celebrating milestone birthdays receive a one-off payment with a monetary value equal to their age in years.
From 2016, the EAA’s sub-associations receive annual operational support in the sum of 500 euros, which can for example be used for organising the annual exhibition, seminars or workshops, transporting artwork and other necessary activities. In 2018, grants were added for sub-association managers, meant to support and recognise their work in developing their specialist field.
Traditional events such as the Christmas reception at Tallinn Art Hall, the reception for seniors and the Christmas party for the artists’ children all continued in 2016–2018. Meanwhile, another tradition has emerged from the change in the “sweet policy” first introduced in 2013, whereby our Santa Claus brings the children of EAA members age-appropriate art supplies instead of treats.
Undoubtedly, one of the EAA’s most important contributions to the creative activities of its members is the provision of studios and workshops.