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New survey looking at the impact of low pay at nonprofit cultural groups

Nov 28, 2022 12:45 am

Clarence Fanto reports for The Berkshire Eagle that a group of nonprofit cultural organizations from Berkshire County, Mass., and Columbia County, NY, are looking to hear from current and former arts sector employees who may consider themselves underpaid and unable to support themselves and their families. Backed by the Berkshire economic development agency based in Pittsfield, the Berkshire/Columbia Compensation Equity Project is polling entry-level and mid-level arts and cultural workers in the nonprofit field. The online questionnaire is looking for details on how chronic low pay for nonprofit art professionals impacts the lives of workers and their families and is a barrier to participation in the arts and culture sector. “Passion is not a substitute for livable wages,” the leaders of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Becket, the Mahaiwe [Mah-HAY-wee] Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, and the WAM Theatre in Lenox, Community Access to the Arts in Great Barrington, the Berkshire Arts Center in Stockbridge, and Art Omi in Ghent, N.Y., noted in a joint statement. The survey is open through December 5 and a link to the form is available on the WGXC Newsroom page. The details of the poll are expected to be announced in early 2023. The project is funded in part by the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and was launched by the Multicultural BRIDGE Inclusive Leadership Cohort. According to Art Omi board member Gavin Berger, “new cultural offerings in our region are attracting growing numbers of homebuyers and visitors, while underfunded compensation models for arts professionals, especially entry- and mid-level workers, sustain outdated and elitist notions that working in the arts is a privilege that justifies sacrifice.” Read the full story in The Berkshire Eagle.

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