W.A.G.E. Certification Sets Standards for Compensation of Artistic Labor

The group Working Artists and the Greater Economy, also known as W.A.G.E., has announced a certification program whose aim is to establish “a sector-wide minimum standard for compensation, as well as a clear set of guidelines and standards for the conditions under which artistic labor is contracted,” according to an announcement released by the group.

The policy was proposed at a 2014 W.A.G.E. Summit. There, A.K. Burns, Howie Chen, Andrea Fraser, Alison Gerber, Stephanie Luce, Andrew Ross, Lise Soskolne, Marina Vishmidt, and staff members of Artists Space arrived at a fee calculator and other guidelines which can be found here. For instance, an organization with total annual operating expenses below $500,000 must pay artists at least $1,000 per solo exhibition and $150 per artists talk or reading in order to be W.A.G.E certified. According to a manifesto released by the group, W.A.G.E “advocates for developing an environment of mutual respect between artist and institution.” In the words of the group: “We demand payment for making the world more interesting.”