Stories

The text used in the assessment tools are great descriptors, but its stories that bring this work to life. 

Below is a growing portfolio of stories from artists and advocates from across the country that can be filtered on the assessment tools, spectrum, and categories.  You can turn on and off these filters by clicking on the buttons. 

Use these examples to help locate yourself on the assessment tool and see how to move up on the spectrum. Read our Guidebook for more suggestions on how you can use Artists Thrive, putting the tools to practice, and sparking conversations with Artists Thrive.

Have a story of your own to add?   Click here to submit it.

Filter by Tags:

Remove Filters

Rubric

Spectrum

Category

W.A.G.E.

Providers are becoming W.A.G.E. certified to show they’ve made a commitment to operate ethically in relation to artists and wish to have this commitment acknowledged by their communities.

A W.A.G.E. Certified organization signals that it stands in solidarity with artists as part of an equitable community no matter what their material practice or reputation might be.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I work with Artists Artists Thrive Paying Artists

Budgeting for Substantial Artists' Fees

Our organization works with artists in many capacities – we teach artists, we ask artists to perform at festivals and run hands-on activities, we find them opportunities like when we recently booked an act for the City Council swearing in ceremony. They are all local paid artists. We have our monthly third Saturday event here on the center’s campus. Those artists get paid. We actually pay an independent curator. That was actually where the idea for our bigger festival came from. We were hiring an independent curator to curate each event and design the whole thing and that idea of actually paying local artists to be curators was something new for us that started with the one event and now has sparked to the full big festival in March. So, we pay a lot of artists. And then we also pay the touring, national and international, artists for our performing live program, which is our big presenting program. This year’s budget for artist fees is well over $2,000,000. So we’re paying a lot of artists.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I work with Artists Artists Thrive Paying Artists

Integrating Paying Artists Full Wage Throughout Our Work

The story about paying individual artists is critical to our mission –when we do things, especially for our fundraisers, we make sure artists are paid. One of the things the city is known for is the birth of the studio glass movement. The fine art glass movement started here in our community a little over fifty years ago. When we hold events to promote the history of this in our community, we also conduct an exhibition that ends in an auction and in the closing event with that auction, we begin the bidding with the auction price guaranteeing the artist full wholesale value, as if they were to work with a gallery, and then we begin the bidding from there upwards. So the artists are paid before our organization can generate revenue off of the artwork. We’ve transferred that process over to any other auctions that we do, and make it a point to pay performing artists that join us at any of those events. We’ve worked to expand that at different activities where we’ve raised additional funds to make sure that we can hire performers to come out, instead of just relying on them to busk for revenue. We’ve worked to integrate paying artists in pretty much wherever we can through our programming.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I work with Artists Artists Thrive Paying Artists

Paying Artists Throughout the Process

I think a lot of people think, “Oh, you like drawing and painting, you should want to do it for free.” And that’s not something that we want to do. So any project that we’re involved in, unless there has been a reason, we always pay. Part of our process, especially with public art, is that we include a design concept fee. Everyone gets paid for their design. Typically, it’s two to three artists that are selected for that phase. And then with the partner or on behalf of the partner we will select one individual to move forward with in the final design, for which they are compensated. Then they have the opportunity to say, “I want to execute the design” or “I just want to oversee the project and ensure that someone else who is executing the design is doing it with integrity in regards to the style and aesthetic as well.” So, we will pay them for that next step as well. Honestly, I can’t think of anything we haven’t paid an artist for.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I work with Artists Artists Thrive Paying Artists

A Deep Commitment to Paying Artists

Now when I utilize artists for labs, I have them often as mentors and advisors to emerging filmmakers. I pay them $1,000 a day. I make sure when I write the grants to do these programs that the artists get paid because I want the best for the emerging artists coming up. You know I used to work with a guy who worked in the financial inclusion space, and he used to work with these really, really poor people giving them cash grants that they could use to send their kids to school and get them health care. And they would find these women running for office and all these things but they were unconditional cash transfers. And his thing he used to love to say was, “For the poor, nothing but the best.” Because you can’t just give, you know, the pittance of what you have left as a society to poor people. It’s like the bar needs to be high. And so, for me, for artists, I have to model the world that we want to see. And their work is of such deep value, especially now in the political situation that we’re living in. So, I don’t do programs unless I do pay the artists who are running them. 

Rubric Spectrum Category
I work with Artists Artists Thrive Paying Artists

Open Dialogue with Artists to Ensure Equitable Pay

Heather Pontonio, Art Program Director for the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, describes using multiple perspectives, open communication, and trust to create a process that will result in fair pay to artists.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I work with Artists Artists Thrive Paying Artists