In March 2011, Artists Space initiated a dialogue with W.A.G.E. about the implications of two recent W.A.G.E. initiatives—the 2010 Artist Survey and W.A.G.E. Certification—that resulted in the formation of a temporary partnership between the two organizations. This partnership will provide W.A.G.E. and Artists Space with a cooperative platform on which to organize a series of symposia/public discussions and strategic think tanks involving artists, activists, curators, grant makers, administrators, economists, sociologists, and the public in an extended conversation about payment practices in the arts.
These events, which began in January 2012, are designed to engage a diverse arts community on multiple levels, and to provide vital dialogue and feedback through which W.A.G.E.'s Certification Program will be developed. W.A.G.E. Certification recognizes and 'certifies' organizations that voluntarily adhere to a best practices model and pay artist fees in relation to the conditions under which artists are involved in their programs.
Using Artists Space's organizational support and budgetary transparency—together with the active participation of the public—the criteria for W.A.G.E. Certification will be collectively developed. At the conclusion of the partnership, W.A.G.E. Certification will be fully established and if compliant, Artists Space will become the first organization to receive Institutional W.A.G.E. Certification. Printed and downloadable resources for artists, produced through this partnership, will include among others: a comprehensive fee schedule, best practices model, and sample contracts.
The first forum, Feeling the Shape of the Arts Economy
, took place on January 9, 2012 and was followed by the W.A.G.E. Survey Release: Presentation and Open Forum
on April 20. Marion von Osten: Be Creative! With responses from Andrew Ross
, originally scheduled for March 27, was restaged on November 8 and included a presentation by W.A.G.E. summarizing recent developments in the conception of W.A.G.E. Certification.
The partnership will continue into 2013 with the goal of establishing W.A.G.E. Certification by June. Future symposia will include: Funders Talk, a discussion between key government and foundation funders about creating a system of accountability between non-profits and their funders to insure the payment of artist fees; Institutional Directors, a discussion between museum and non-profit directors about institutional budget priorities and transparency; and Profit Sharing, a discussion about the problems of support and exploitation between commercial galleries and non-profit organizations in the commissioning, production and sale of art works.