WAGE

Report Summary

This section provides a summary of the report's findings without data visualization or further analysis. The full report can be found above.

 

What proportion of institutions are meeting the minimum fee?

Of the total 6,398 entries, 15% of payments did not meet the minimum, but 69% exceeded it. The majority of payments for all categories either met or exceeded the minimum fee established by W.A.G.E.

 

Have fee amounts increased since the launch of the project in 2014? 

Fee amounts have increased for some categories and remained relatively consistent for others. Notable increases in fee amounts are seen in the following categories:

 

Commissioned Text for Publication

Group Exhibition, 3-5 Artists

Group Exhibition, 6+ Artists

Performance, Commission of New Work

Solo Exhibition

Solo Project

Talk, Discussion or Workshop with 2 or More Participants

 

Are larger institutions paying more on average than smaller ones? 

There appears to be an inverse relationship between institution size (represented by its Total Annual Operating Expenses or TAOE), and the amount spent on artist fees. The amount spent is calculated as a percentage of the total operating budget. This trend is seen across all years.

 

The majority of institutions have TAOEs that do not exceed $500,000. There are 43 and in total they have produced 3,094 programs. On average, each institution in this category has produced 73 programs. This is the lowest number of programs produced on average, compared to institutions with higher TAOE ranges, yet the total fees paid out by institutions in this category is the highest overall. The total sum of TAOEs for these 43 institutions is $31.5 million and the total sum of fees paid is $2.2 million. On average, smaller institutions have spent 7% of their TAOE on artist fees.

 

There are 16 institutions with TAOEs in the $500,000 – $1 million range. These institutions produced the second highest number of programs. In total, these institutions produced 2,382 programs, with an average of 146 produced per institution. The total sum of TAOEs for these 16 institutions is $41.5 million and the total sum of fees paid is $1.5 million. On average, these institutions have spent 4% of their TAOE on artist fees.

 

There are 7 institutions with TAOEs in the $1 million – $5 million range. These institutions produced the third highest number of programs. In total, these institutions produced 1,045 programs, with an average of 160 produced per institution. The total sum of TAOEs for these 7 institutions is $54.5 million and the total sum of fees paid is $1.3 million. On average, these institutions have spent 2% of their TAOE on artist fees.

 

Finally, the largest institutions in terms of TAOE size, currently or previously certified by W.A.G.E, have a TAOE over $5 million. These 2 institutions produced the lowest number of programs. In total, these institutions produced 335 programs, with an average of 168 produced per institution. The total sum of TAOEs for these 2 institutions is $187.8 million and the total sum of fees paid is slightly under $300,000. On average, these institutions have spent less than 1% of their TAOE on artist fees.*

 

*Please note that W.A.G.E has certified two smaller entities operating within museums with very large total annual operating expenses: SFMOMA and the Carnegie Museum. The fee schedules of these entities are still determined by the museums' TAOE, but because they produce fewer programs, the total annual payout in fees is significantly smaller than what that of a fully W.A.G.E. Certified museum would be. These are 'partial' certifications made by W.A.G.E. to demonstrate that a large museum could meet W.A.G.E. standards.

 

Which fee categories are most common across all institutions?

The fee category most commonly produced by institutions is Event with Presentations of Performances by 2 or More Participants, with nearly 2,000 payments in this category. This is followed by Group Exhibition, 6+ Artists, the only other category with over 1,000 payments made.

 

Which institution type made the largest number of fee payments and in which fee category?

Visual Arts Presenting institutions have made the largest number of fee payments with 4,089 recorded.

 

The most commonly produced programs are in the category Event with Presentations or Performances by 2 or More Participants, representing 26% of all programs recorded. This is followed by Group Exhibition, 6+ Artists, representing 15% of all programs, and Talk Discussion or Workshop with 2 or More Participants representing 9% of all programs.

 

The least common fee categories are Solo Screening with In-Person Appearance, representing 1% of all programs; 2-Person Exhibition, representing 2% of programs; and Group Exhibition, 3-5 Artists, representing 3% of programs.

 

What is the payment range for each fee category? 

Payment ranges vary significantly by category. The largest variation in payment amount was found in fees for the Performance, Commission of New Work category. The smallest variation in payment amounts was found in fees for a Solo Screening with In-Person Appearance category.

 

Notably, 10 out of 68 institutions (15%) in the available W.A.G.E. data set have paid out the highest amounts in fees across all categories. Over half of these institutions have operating budgets under $500,000.

 

What proportion of artists receive recurring fees from institutions and for what type of projects? 

37% of all payment records are payments made to recurring artists. About 18% of all artists in the data set have received recurring payments.

 

The largest number of recurring payments occurred in programs categorized as Event with Presentations or Performances by 2 or More Participants, with 22% of recurring payments made in that category.

 

Are there discrepancies in payments for artists contributing to group projects?

Group Exhibition, 3-5 Artists

78 programs

233 individual artists

41 programs (53%) had sufficient data (at least three artist fees recorded under any one project)

13 programs (32% of 41 programs) had a fee discrepancy among artists contributing to any one project

Highest pay difference between artists under any one project was $13,600

Average pay difference between artists where pay discrepancies exist is $2,370

Range of recurring payments in this fee category: single artist receives 2-4 payments

 

Group Exhibition, 6+ Artists

102 programs

873 individual artists

63 programs (53%) had sufficient data (at least six artist fees recorded under any one project)

33 programs (52% of 63 programs) had a fee discrepancy among artists contributing to any one project

Highest pay difference between artists under any one project was $3,750

Average pay difference between artists where pay discrepancies exist is $2,370

Range of recurring payments in this fee category: single artist receives 2-5 payments

 

What are the certification trends?

The number of institutions certified by W.A.G.E. has significantly increased since 2014 but the rate of this increase has slowed over time. After the first year, the number of institutions certified increased by 67%. By the sixth year, the increase in the number of institutions certified was 19%. This analysis does not include institutions certified in FY19-20.

 

The average time that an institution is certified is 2.5 years. This was calculated from the sum of years each institution has been certified since 2014, excluding certification records for FY19-20 which is still in progress. The range for which institutions have been certified is 1–6 years.