Restaurant chain Artcaffe bore the wrath of Kenyan creatives Wednesday after inviting artists to take part in a competition dubbed #ARTofthecity where winners would be paid in exposure.
The initiative requires creatives to submit a design for the restaurant’s takeaway coffee cup, with the best designer set to win free coffee for a year and exhibition space for two months OR an internship with the design team for a similar period.
With the restaurant unable to stand the heat from Kenyans on Twitter, it came out of the kitchen and revised the reward system which was deemed exploitative.
Artcaffe is now offering the overall winner of the content a remunerative package that includes Ksh100,000 cash prize OR free daily coffee for a year at the artist’s choice, a paid internship with the Artcaffe Design Team for 2 months, and an opportunity to exhibit and sell their art in one of the restaurant’s chains for two months.
The best artist’s profile will also be shared on Artcaffe’s website and all its social media platforms. They will also have their artwork and name printed on the takeaway cups.
The first and second runner’s up are also set to walk away with cash and exposure prizes.
While the mighty Kenyans on Twitter have since shown Artcaffe the error of their ways, one notable creative, Wambui Collymore, has gone a step further and offered free consultation services to the restaurant on matters art.
In a Twitter post, the founder of online art gallery, The Art Space, stated that art is meant to be bought.
“This is precisely why we need to stop using the words, ‘support art’. “Art is made to be bought unless the artist offers to do it for free,” she wrote.
She added: “Artists live on the money their art makes. Refusing to buy art actually kills the industry. Exposure is refusing to buy art. We don’t need exposure. We need investment in the arts.”
“For free, @ArtcaffeKenya I can consult with you on how you can invest in art. Please DM me,” she concluded.