VACE’s Statement on Pay Standards for Arts Workers

The Visual Arts Coalition for Equity (VACE) is committed to working towards a wage minimum for arts workers within our organizations and beyond. We recognize that the creative labor of artists and arts workers has been historically undervalued and aim to build a landscape that values our work. As a first step in promoting greater equity across the arts sector of Pittsburgh, we are making a commitment to pay the following wage minimums or higher for arts workers employed and hired by our organizations, by or before January 1, 2024.

We’ve created these minimums through research among our own organizations, peer orgs within the region, and research by arts worker advocacy group W.A.G.E for Work, and the Art/Museum Salary Transparency 2019 google doc.

While we are a coalition of small arts organizations with a wide range of operating models, most of us rely on contributed revenue to continue operations. So, we understand the inherent challenges that we face in order to achieve our goal.

Some of our organizations are already meeting these, but we are all committing to meeting these minimums across our paid roles. To do so, we may need to raise ticket prices, art sale commission rates, or other offerings that impact our audience. We will push those who support us to recognize the importance of these wages and adjust their contributions accordingly. Creating meaningful and enduring change to the status quo will require sustained efforts and persistence.

Our next steps include creating stipend minimums for artists, curators, and arts writers that we bring on for exhibitions and other projects. These would build upon the work of WAGE and reflect the reality of our organizational structures and economic landscape.

Nine peer arts organizations in our region have joined VACE members in publically committing to these wage minimums: Artist Image Resources (A.I.R), Assemble, Boxheart Gallery, Here gallery, Pittsburgh Glass Center, Protohaven, Prototype, Radiant Hall and Touchstone Crafts.

We invite other arts organizations in our region, large and small, to commit to meeting these wage minimums and to share pay information more transparently. As Pittsburgh’s larger gentrification process continues to grow and as inflation rises, we must make steps to ensure pathways for the individuals and organizations of the arts community to exist. This kind of transparency and advocacy is critical to building those pathways.

Below is a description of the roles and wages we are committing to meet by January 1, 2024. These roles and numbers are based on our current organizational structures, which mostly employ part time staff at an hourly rate. Some of our organizations rely on volunteers or do not employ these positions, so each of us commits to these rates for the positions we are currently paying. These numbers will be reevaluated on a semi-annual basis to make sure they remain equitable.

Gallery Attendant - $15/hr
This role covers a number of duties, from helping guests find information on the exhibit or artist to ensuring that works of art are secure and protected.

Art Handler - $20/hr
This role is often responsible for packing and unpacking art, installing and deinstalling art in exhibitions, and moving art around the exhibition spaces.

Arts Administrator - $20/hr

This role can cover a number of duties including developing budgets, planning events and exhibits, outreach and audience engagement. For many of our organizations this role can even cover marketing tasks, grant writing, or artist communications. It may include managing volunteers but does not include managing other staff on a regular basis.

Marketing Administrator - $20/hr
This role can cover a number of duties within the realm of communications including content creation and execution with social media, email campaigns, print media, and events. For many of our organizations this role can fall within an overall administrator position.

Management - $21/hr
This role would include administrative and operations tasks while also managing other staff members or volunteers regularly.

Executives- $56k/year before benefits or $26.92/hr (for organizations operating with budgets over $250,000)
- $45k/year before benefits or $23.07/hr (for organizations operating with budgets between $100k- 250,000k)
This role is the senior operating officer or manager of the organization. It is responsible for steering the organization and managing its operations. In our organizations, this role often includes taking on any task that can’t be met by other staff to ensure the day-to-day operations continue.