[B-SIDE Podcast] Protecting artists and valuing creativity


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Jennifer Lee-Bonto, executive director of Artists’ Welfare Project Inc. (AWPI), speaks to BusinessWorld reporter Beatriz Marie D. Cruz about pursuing your passion while paying attention to the practicalities of life.

AWPI was founded in 2007 as a help desk for artists who, prior to the founding of AWPI, had to pass the hat every time the aches and pains of performing would catch up with them.


The ‘starving artist’ cliché is dangerous and should be thrown out.

Ms. Bonto called for end of the stereotypical view of freelancer artists suffering for their art.

“We just need to stop the notion that we are ‘Bohemian’, [that] we are ‘starving artists.’ … We have to stop ‘starving’ —  it’s not fashionable,” she said

Insist on a contract.

Contracts protect both sides by defining the scope of work and deliverables as well as terms of compensation.

“If you hire them [artists], don’t think that it’s a hobby for them. You have to value them as professionals,” Ms. Bonto said. “Give them a proper contract and pay them on time.”

Digitization is both blessing and bane.

Technology paved the way for more job opportunities outside the 9–5 office setup but, at the same time, created issues surrounding copyright, intellectual property rights, and more.

“The digital world is part good, but we still need to address some respect and protection issues,” said Ms. Bonto.

Recorded remotely in January 2023. Produced by Joseph Emmanuel L. Garcia and Sam L. Marcelo.

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