The very proactive organization W.A.G.E. (Working Artists for a Greater Economy) sent a very insightful letter to the New Museum in New York City:
“You recently announced expansion plans that will double the amount of space you currently occupy on the Bowery and that you have already successfully raised $43 million of the $80 million needed to do it.
“Congratulations – that’s big news. It could also be big news for the hundreds of artists who supply the content for your programs each year. After all, if you plan to double in size, surely there will be a significant increase in the number of programs being produced, which would surely provide income to more of the artists upon whose work your existence is predicated.
“If you were W.A.G.E. Certified that would certainly be the case, since you’d have committed to paying artists according to minimum standards of compensation.”
To read the letter in full and learn more about the organization, visit
“Some artists adhere to a self-imposed hierarchy of believing that you have to “start small and work your way up.” Other artists believe that their market is limited to their town or city of residence, or that some sort of universal censorship is imposed, illogically concluding that there is no market “anywhere” for their work if they are unable to find a receptive audience in their hometown.” From How to Survive & Prosper as an Artist ©Caroll Michels 2016.
Last year, Artist Jane Richlovsky presented a TEDx talk about how her studio eviction by Washington State’s Department of Transportation inspired her to rewrite the Artist vs. Gentrification story in two ways: In her paintings, she unpacked the mid-century version of the American Dream; and in her life she transformed the stereotypical image of the “starving artist in the garret “into the artist as business person who shares in the wealth they create.
Richlovsky and three other partners founded the company Good Arts LLC which recently purchased the historic Scheuerman Building in Seattle’s Pioneer Square. The renovated space will provide affordable artist studios, a commercial gallery and a retail craft store. Eventually, the new owners plan to restore the basement to its historic role as a performance space from 1972-1982, and as a jazz club during the 1940s.
“We believe that economic development should include the creative class as its beneficiary as well as its catalyst. To that end, we also foster connections between, and promote the interdependent prosperity of, artists and other neighborhood businesses and institutions. “