I completely agree with the National Endowment for the Art’s sentiment that
…arts workers are real workers who are part of this country’s real economy. They earn salaries, support families, pay taxes. Artists are also entrepreneurs and placemakers, who revitalize towns, cities, and neighborhoods – both the economies and the ethos of them.
Unfortunately, this principle isn’t put into action. The NEA is showing no scruples about asking RFQ respondents to submit a proposed design in black and white, and color, with no compensation. They are operating on work on speculation, what the AIGA defines as
work done for free, in hopes of getting paid for it
The NEA justifies their position with the sentiment
We wanted a process that was open to students, designers, artists, companies, private citizens, and pretty much anyone who agrees that “art works.”
But that just means that the NEA is willing to exploit and waste the time, talent, and work of all but one of the “designers, artists, companies, private citizens, and pretty much anyone” who responds to their call.
This is really one opportunity that should be missed.