Feb 4, 2020

Arts for LA has issued a statement regarding Assembly Bill 5 (AB5). Read here.

Arts for LA is extremely troubled by the impact Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5) has had on California’s creative economy– a law intended to compel large tech companies to convert their freelance workers from independent contractors to bona fide employees; however, small and mid-sized arts organizations, and independent creative workers across the state have experienced a shocking degree of collateral damage.

Creative careers are nuanced, and each practice area has its own set of operating norms. We’ve heard from freelance musicians who are in the position of being classified as both employers and employees of their bandmates; community based organizations who cannot afford to put workers on payroll lest they shut their doors; and periodicals large and small who are choosing to stop working with California freelancers, under threat of misclassification lawsuits. The examples are legion, and growing every day.

AB 5 ignores the harsh realities of California’s creative economy, and does not leave any room for addressing the problem of under-compensating individual artists who struggle to make a living. The law fails to acknowledge that small arts organizations, while providing work to artists, are inadequately funded and cannot afford to place workers on payroll or provide benefits.

Arts for LA is committed to engaging artists, institutions and their communities as advocates for an equitable, healthy and creative Los Angeles region. We will work with our statewide colleagues on solutions that address systemic and structural inequities in the creative economy, while making appropriate changes to existing law. We look forward to hearing from all constituents — organizations, artists, unions, and others — to try to address conflicting impacts and priorities more equitably. Click here to view Californians for the Arts’ toolkit for responding to AB 5, and be sure to take their survey, which captures data on the direct impact of this law on our field.

We will keep you abreast of future learning and engagement opportunities.