11:15 AM – 12:45 PM
Lise Soskolne


Nothing can easily be defined within the perpetually expanding and liquefying field of the arts. This is particularly true of its economy, in which a lack of transparency and regulation has continued to enable the exploitation of cultural labor. Without a precise definition of the labor being supplied by artists, the financial gain it creates for organizations, or the criteria being used to determine compensation, artists and cultural practitioners will continue to accept exploitation as a fundamental condition of participation in the arts.

Working Artists and the Greater Economy (W.A.G.E.) has been raising consciousness around this issue through education and information-gathering since its founding in 2008. In 2010 W.A.G.E. initiated the development of a certification program that would ‘certify’ non-profit arts organizations voluntarily paying artist fees meeting a minimum standard.

Developed over the past 4 years in dialog with artists, arts organizations, writers, sociologists, labor historians, and critical theorists, W.A.G.E. Certification was established as a policy at the 2014 W.A.G.E. Summit. This past January, A.K. Burns, Howie Chen, Andrea Fraser, Alison Gerber, Stephanie Luce, Andrew Ross, Lise Soskolne, and Marina Vishmidt gathered in New York City, along with key staff members of the arts organization Artists Space, which represented the institutional side and functioned as a test case. Over two days, participants debated, negotiated, and arrived at a set of principles and fee calculation that now constitute W.A.G.E. Certification.

Core Organizer Lise Soskolne will present W.A.G.E. Certification, the first program of its kind in the U.S. that establishes a sector-wide minimum standard for compensation, as well as a clear set of guidelines and standards for the conditions under which artistic labor is contracted. The presentation will outline how the program works as well as the research and logic behind its development.

Working Artists and the Greater Economy (W.A.G.E) is a New York-based activist group whose advocacy is focused on regulating the payment of artist fees by nonprofit art institutions, and establishing a sustainable model for best practices between artists and the institutions that contract their labor. Since 2008 W.A.G.E. has delivered speeches, made videos, held open meetings, teach-ins, coffee klatches and workshops, W.A.G.E. RAGING in panel discussions and symposia at museums, galleries, conferences, festivals, schools, summits, and art fairs. Four years after The 2010 W.A.G.E. Artist Survey gathered data about the payment practices of New York City non-profits, W.A.G.E. has established a certification program that publicly recognizes those institutions paying artist fees meeting a minimum payment standard. W.A.G.E. Certification was established as a policy and regulatory tool at the 2014 W.A.G.E. Summit and was launched in October 2014.

Lise Soskolne is a Canadian-born artist and Core Organizer of W.A.G.E. She has 17 years of work experience in non-profit arts presenting and development at venues that have included Anthology Film Archives, Artists Space, Diapason Gallery for Sound, The House Foundation for the Arts (Meredith Monk), Participant Inc. and Roulette Intermedium. In 2007 she founded and managed the arts component in the broader regeneration of Industry City, a 6.5-million sq ft industrial complex on the South Brooklyn waterfront. Its goal was to establish a new paradigm for industrial redevelopment that would not displace artists, workers, local residents or industry but would instead build a sustainable community of working artists in a context that integrated cultural and industrial production.

Working Artists and the Greater Economy (W.A.G.E.) [Artistas Trabajadores y Macro Economía ]
Lise Soskolne

Nada puede ser fácilmente definido dentro del campo de las artes donde todo se expande constantemente y todo se disuelve rápidamente. Esto es particularmente cierto en relación a su economía, en la cual una falta de transparencia y regulación ha continuado permitiendo la explotación del trabajo cultural. Sin una definición precisa del trabajo que proveen los artistas, las ganancias económicas que crea para las organizaciones, o el criterio usado para determinar compensación, los artistas y los practicantes de la cultura continuarán aceptando la explotación como una condición fundamental de participación en las artes.

Working Artists and the Greater Economy (W.A.G.E.) ha estado creando conciencia sobre este problema a través de la educación y recolección de información desde su fundación en el 2008. En el 2010 W.A.G.E. inició el desarrollo de un programa de certificación que podría ‘certificar’ organizaciones artísticas sin fines de lucro que voluntariamente estén pagando honorarios a los artistas siguiendo un estándar mínimo.

Desarrollado desde hace 4 años en diálogo con artistas, organizaciones artísticas, escritores, sociólogos, historiadores del trabajo y teóricos críticos, la certificación de W.A.G.E. fue establecida como una norma en la cumbre del W.A.G.E. del 2014. Este pasado enero, A.K. Burns, Howie Chen, Andrea Fraser, Alison Gerber, Stephanie Luce, Andrew Ross, Lise Soskolne y Marina Vishmidt se reunieron en la ciudad de Nueva York junto a miembros clave del personal de la organización artística Artists Space [Espacio para Artistas], quienes presentaron el lado institucional y funcionaron como un caso de prueba. Durante dos días, los participantes debatieron, negociaron y llegaron a un conjunto de principios y cálculos de pago que constituyen ahora la certificación de W.A.G.E.

La organizadora de base Lise Soskolne presentará la certificación de W.A.G.E., el primer programa de su tipo en los Estados Unidos que establece un estándar mínimo para remuneración en todo un sector, como también un claro set de instrucciones y estándares para las condiciones bajo las cuales se contrata el trabajo artístico. La presentación delineará cómo funciona el programa como también la investigación y la lógica detrás de su desarrollo.


Lise Soskolne es una artista nacida en Canadá y organizadora base de W.A.G.E. Tiene 17 años de experiencia en la presentación y el desarrollo de las artes en grupos sin fines de lucro.