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How to Get Certified

Organizations wishing to be W.A.G.E. Certified must meet the following requirements:


1. Include "Artist Fees" as a line item in both operating and exhibition budgets.

2. Provide Basic Programming Costs and Services for artists who contribute to their programs.

3. Ensure that the coverage of Production Costs is negotiated between artist and organization and that their coverage is not treated as a form of payment.

4. Meet minimum standards of compensation for artists who contribute to their programs.

5. Organizations with total annual operating expenses at or below $500,000 must pay fees at floor level.

6. Organizations with total annual operating expenses above $500,000 must pay fees scaled up from the compensation floor according to a fixed percentage of their total annual operating expenses.

7. Organizations with total annual operating expenses over $5,000,000 must not exceed the Maximum W.A.G.E. which specifies that fee for Solo Exhibition must be no than more the average salary of its full-time employees.

8. Provide documentation annually to demonstrate that they meet these standards.

If an organization can demonstrate that it has met W.A.G.E. standards in the past fiscal year, it will be listed by W.A.G.E. and may list itself as "W.A.G.E. Certified." If an organization did not meet W.A.G.E. standards in the past fiscal year but commits to meeting them in the current fiscal year, it will be listed as "W.A.G.E. Certified Pending" for up to one year until it can provide documentation that it has met W.A.G.E. standards. If an organization does not meet W.A.G.E. standards within one year its "Pending" status will be revoked. Documentation must be submitted annually for re-certification.

There are now four annual deadlines for applying to become W.A.G.E. Certified: March 1, June 1, September 1, and December 15 (Please note the December deadline has been extended).


Organizations with total annual operating expenses below $500,000 should submit the following:

• A letter of intent detailing the organization's interest in W.A.G.E. Certification;
• a list of all fees paid out during each fiscal year being applied for using this downloadable template (please note: organizations may apply to be certified going forward, in which case no history of fee payment needs to be submitted);
• a closed out operating budget for each fiscal year being applied for with "Artists Fees" as its own distinct line item;
• projected operating budget for current fiscal year that includes "Artist Fees" as its own distinct line item;
• templates of any contractual agreements drawn up between artists and the organization;
• financial record of fees paid to artists;
• most recent 990 tax form.

Please send the material listed above, as well as an email that includes: the organization's fiscal year dates, its current total annual operating expenses, and the fiscal years for which it intends to apply for certification (whether prior, current, or upcoming) to info@wageforwork.com.

Organizations with total annual operating expenses above $500,000 should submit the following:

• A letter of intent detailing the organization's interest in W.A.G.E. Certification;
• a list of all fees paid out during each fiscal year being applied for using this downloadable template (please note: organizations may apply to be certified going forward, in which case no history of fee payment needs to be submitted);
• a closed out operating budget for each fiscal year being applied for with "Artists Fees" as its own distinct line item;
• projected operating budget for current fiscal year that includes "Artist Fees" as its own distinct line item;
• templates of any contractual agreements drawn up between artists and the organization;
• financial record of fees paid to artists;
• most recent 990 tax form;
• for organizations whose total annual operating budgets are over $5,000,000, a calculation of the average annual salary paid to full-time staff.

Please send the material listed above, as well as an email that includes: the organization's fiscal year dates, its current total annual operating expenses, and the fiscal years for which it intends to apply for certification (whether prior, current, or upcoming) to info@wageforwork.com.
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