Gather round and let us tell you a tale. It is a sad one, but true all the same. All over the world, contract workers (like artists, freelancers, and creatives) aren’t paid equally. But by how much? It’s difficult to know who’s getting paid what, when those details aren’t readily available.
Welcome to the age of open information, though, where it’s getting harder to keep a secret. Groups like the Compensation Foundation want to make the pay-grades of artists visible to the public. Just this week we’re seeing the debut of their Bay Area Artists Report, an online survey that asks artists about which organizations pay creatives. This is a big deal: It’s the first survey of its kind on the west coast.
The website just went live this weekend, so there aren’t any visualizations available yet. Once five artists have mentioned an institution, that information will go live on the site. So what this means is if you’re an artist living in the Bay Area, you really need to TAKE THIS SURVEY. It’ll help out all of us.
After all, it’s surprising how little data we have. The last major poll on payment in the arts was in 2010, when WAGE (Working Artists and the Greater Economy) put together an impressive, wide-ranging survey focused on visual and performing artists in New York, with the results shown in charts and pie charts illustrated by William Powhida.