Over the past week, arts professionals — including museum, gallery and nonprofit workers — have been contributing salary information, job titles and other demographic information to a Google Spreadsheet that documents art-world pay scales.
The document, which was started by Philadelphia Museum of Art assistant curator Michelle Millar Fisher and her colleagues, is a step toward radical transparency in the arts sector. Ms. Fisher said that the document comes out of conversations she had with colleagues about salaries and paychecks across institutions. These discussions were inspired by curator and Black Contemporary Art founder Kimberly Drew’s disclosure of her own art-world salaries.
As of now, more than 1,600 positions are documented in the spreadsheet, with some museums named outright, and some institutions identified simply by their type, region, or state. Collections managers, associate curators, assistant gallery directors, curatorial fellows, conservators, and other Texas arts employees have added themselves to the list, reflecting an array of institutions (and salaries) across the state.
Since the information in this spreadsheet has been entered anonymously, it’s nearly impossible to fact-check the data. A recent study, however, which was conducted by the Professional Organization for Women in the Arts, will show a more nuanced picture of the arts sector once it is released later this month.
A second tab of the spreadsheet uses museums’ 990 tax document to find the top salary listed; some institutions currently on the list include the Brooklyn Museum, the Menil Collection, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, MoMA, and others.
Although the spreadsheet is currently locked to preserve its data, new entries can be submitted via this Google Form.