Art Workers Organize

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Image credit: W.A.G.E.

Art Workers Organize
Panel discussion

Part of Public Exposures: The Art-Activism of Condé + Beveridge (1976-2016)

Saturday, May 28, 2016
OCAD University
100 McCaul St.
Toronto, ON

Free, all welcome

The full Public Exposures symposium schedule (May 27-29) is available here

Making art is not real work. Earning exposure is fair compensation. Breaking-in requires economic sacrifice. And art institutions are too cash-strapped to pay artists. Against these deceits, this panel reflects on strategies, demands, and campaigns for advancing the economic rights of artists and other workers upon whose labour art institutions depend. Lise Soskolne will discuss W.A.G.E.’s efforts to formalize artist fees through its Certification model; Sally Lee of CARFAC Ontario will discuss the artist’s resale right; and artist Joshua Schwebel will discuss his Subsidy project, an intervention in which he transferred his exhibition fee to otherwise unpaid gallery interns. Panel moderators Nicole Cohen and Greig de Peuter will situate these efforts to improve artists’ livelihoods in the broader context of cultural workers’ pushback against precarious work.


Sally Lee is Executive Director of CARFAC Ontario. She has worked with grassroots community-based artist-run centres such as LIFT, Images, and Reel Asian, as well as larger organizations such as TIFF and Soulpepper. She currently sits on the board of the CFMDC, the Advisory of Reel Asian, and the Advocacy Committee of the TAC. She is a 2016 Fellow at the TAC Cultural Leaders Lab.

Joshua Schwebel is a conceptual artist working in Montreal and Berlin. While not confined to a particular discipline or medium, the object of his work is a critique of the discursive identity of contemporary art. He has held several international residencies, most recently at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin representing the province of Quebec for the year of 2015.

Founded in 2008, Working Artists and the Greater Economy (W.A.G.E.) is a New York-based activist organization focused on regulating the payment of artist fees by nonprofit art institutions, and establishing a sustainable labour relation between artists and the institutions that contract them. Artist Lise Soskolne has been an organizer within W.A.G.E. since its founding in 2008 and its core organizer since 2012.