1/13/2020

How California’s new ‘gig-work’ law threatens local artists

"According to the San Fransisco Chronicle, many independent theaters and creative collectives are already feeling the pressure, fearing that they’ll be unable to afford the transition. Opinions appear to be somewhat split among related parties. While national unions like Actors’ Equity favor the bill, for actual theater owners and fundraisers, the law poses significant challenges that could shut their doors or inhibit creative opportunities. While some are eager for more stability in their industry, “others fear that small companies with limited resources could be driven out of business, removing a vital source of entertainment and training,” write Joshua Kosman and Carolyn Said.

From an artist’s perspective, regulators are prioritizing a particular view of financial stability and security over increased institutional/individual freedom and creative expression. The question is whether creative professionals will accept the fruits of the trade-off:
“My concern is that we’ll see a massive creative drain out of the state,” said Susie Medak, managing director of Berkeley Repertory Theater. “What will happen to the small dance, theater or opera companies where there is so little income? That’s why they pay stipends. Nobody’s getting rich.”
Many smaller performing arts companies in the Bay Area say that while they support a fair wage for artists and theater makers, they fear AB5 would destabilize them. They hope for an exemption for nonprofit arts companies or for artists who work minimal hours."