Professional Organization for Women in the Arts (POWarts) Announces Results of First Comprehensive Visual Arts Industry Salary Survey: POWarts Salary Survey

POWarts Salary Survey

The Professional Organization for Women in the Arts (POWarts) is pleased to announce the results of the first US-based survey on compensation, the POWarts Salary Survey, in the visual arts spanning the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. Focused on providing real salary numbers to professionals in the visual arts industry, this data will help inform career progression and salary negotiation for individuals at all stages of their careers. Part of POWarts’ leading role as an advocate for women in the arts, the findings will inform a range of upcoming programs, beginning with a salary negotiation workshop on July 9th.

The POWarts Salary Survey was fielded in 2018 and yielded over 2,500 responses across the for-profit and non-profit visual arts sectors, with a study sample of 997. The results provide detailed data on current compensation, including median starting salaries, salaries by age, and salaries by years of experience in the field. These results are further divided by sector, showing comparable salaries for non-profit and for-profit professionals side-by-side. To enable individuals to find clear, actionable data specific to their position, the results offer compensation ranges for six categories of common job titles, as well as detailed salary data on jobs that are specific to the field, including curators, editors, and auction specialists.

POWarts Salary Survey

“At the heart of POWarts’ mission is a commitment to advancement and transparency in the visual art industry,” said Sara Kay, founder of POWarts. “This salary survey will arm workers of all genders with the information they need to better navigate this opaque field, from helping individuals negotiate more equitable salaries and benefits to enabling employers to measure their competitiveness,” added Kristen Becker, POWarts Steering Committee Member.

POWarts Salary Survey: Starting Salaries & Salaries by AgeThe survey results also feature an analysis of educational attainment in the field, which significantly exceeds the national average. Nearly 65% of survey respondents reported completing a postgraduate degree and 99% have a Bachelor’s degree, compared to 8.5% and 29% nationally. Though 58% of respondents have a Master’s degree, the survey found that this did not have a substantial impact on median salaries (+3.2%) versus a Bachelor’s degree alone.

The survey also asked whether respondents’ employers offered specific benefits. Medical benefits were offered by 96% of non-profit employers and 86% of for-profit employers,dental benefits were offered by 89% of non-profit employers and 67% of for-profit employers, retirement plans were offered by 79% of non-profit employers and 52% of for-profit employers, and paid parental or family leave was offered by 59% of non-profit employers and 54% of for-profit employers. A significant number of respondents did not know whether stated benefits were offered at their place of work, indicating a broader trend in the field that POWarts will explore in a program this summer.

POWarts Salary Survey: Education, Sector & Benefits

See the full results at

The POWarts Salary Survey was developed by POWarts in collaboration with Maricar Mabutas, MS, Research Scientist at the NYC Department of Finance, and Ging Cee Ng, Ph.D., Associate at Analysis Group Inc. Special thanks to Pelham Communications for their support.

About POWarts

The Professional Organization for Women in the Arts (POWarts), was founded in 2008 to champion the professional lives of women in the art world. By offering an active calendar of events, panel discussions, and mentoring opportunities, POWarts helps women learn, connect, and build their careers. POWarts believes that generosity and leadership can, and should, go hand in hand. The organization’s programming stems from the knowledge that art and business are not separate; rather, understanding business is vital to creating spaces for art, and women, to thrive. POWarts is a nonprofit organization run by a volunteer steering committee. Membership and programming are open to women and allies of all genders who are committed to the advancement of professional women across the

For more information or images, please contact:

Kim Donica

Alison Lopez

Molly Kurzius

POWarts Steering Committee

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