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Artcaffe Exposed For Offering Coffee and Exposure As Pay For Artists

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Popular restaurant chain Artcaffe on Wednesday afternoon August 5 found itself on the receiving end of wrath of many Kenyans on Social media after suggesting exposure and cup of coffee as a reward in their latest art and design competition.

The competition was announced in due to the need of restructuring their current design of takeaway cups for their new and best designs.

Winners in the competition as per the announcement made on Tuesday August 4 will be rewarded with an exhibition opportunity of their art in one of the Artcaffe’s restaurants or alternatively an opportunity to intern with the chain’s creative team as well as a year supply of coffee redeemable at a cup in a day.

Since the announcement, the Artcaffe have fuelled a storm on the long duel and bitter fight between the creatives and employers, with many calling the move nonsensical and forcing the Artcaffe to issue a rejoinder and explain themselves severally.

We do not undervalue the artists ” reads the tweet from the Artcaffe team after widespread backlash from the social media users who could not reconcile exposure with the work done in the designing of the takeaway mugs.

The creatives among them designers, musicians, artists believe they are undervalued and their work taken for granted and “exposure” reward will never pay their bills but rather cash reward as other professionals are paid is long overdue and well-deserved.


The debate on the exposure as a way of reward is a reminiscent of the storm that the Nailab Sam Gichuru CEO created in April 2019 that ignited this long running feud with creatives. The backlash that his views gathered after stating that the exposure the interns received in his company was enough without monetary compensation.

The Kuhustle Co-founder made a long thread on twitter of reasons why interns shouldn’t ask for payment from the companies they are working at and Kenyans on Twitter weren’t having any of it.

“Let’s talk about paid/unpaid internship.” Read the tweet which elicited massive public opinion which the founder was heavily criticized with his tweets long after attracting vile and negative comments referring with paying interns with exposure.

The Nailab has actually weighed in on the latest debacle with Artcaffe terming the idea ‘terrible from experience” obviously referencing the outrage from April 2019

Since the uproar, many Kenyan companies have made payment of interns a necessity, a term 254News.co.ke ‘s writer and content curator Marvin Chege agrees with all too well.

“We’re not a developing country. There are so many people whose main motivation of working, internship or job, is to earn something to better themselves and to foot the bills. When you sent interns payment, essentially you’re not just denying them a chance to learn how to earn something monetary from their work, but you’re also inviting corporate slavery”. he rages on.

He points out to companies in media such as Standard Media Group who have the notoriety of either not paying interns or paying them the least compared to other employees.

“Standard have the same thing and no one talks about it. UN don’t even pay their interns. Most of these things really are for a specific target audience, the rich among us who live with their parents in palatial homes where they’re afforded everything. And that number is small. An intern is just like any other employee, that deserves to be paid at the end of it all.

“My advice to any upcoming interns, know what you want at the end of it. Companies must pay you to do the work you’re doing for them. Exposure is good but let’s be honest, it won’t put food on your table. If they’re not up for it, you have the right to walk out and look for companies that will actually pay you.” he concluded.

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