Compensation Proposal for the Director and Curator of the Coors Western Art Exhibit & Sale

Rose Fredrick

February 12, 2023

 1.  For more than 25 years, I have been the Director and Curator of the Coors Western Art Exhibit and Sale at the National Western Stock Show. I have performed my duties as Director and Curator at an executive level of responsibility for all aspects of the development, management, and operations of the exhibition. I have grown the exhibition from a small, 32-artist event with gross sales of $62,000 into a well-respected art venue and charitable fundraising event generating in excess of $1 million per year in revenue. The exhibition attracts the foremost contemporary artists and renown members of the business community.


2.  As Director and Curator, my compensation should be commensurate with my education and experience, time commitment, and executive level responsibilities. Based on a comprehensive review of the compensation of comparable executive level managers, my compensation should be $100,000 per year.


3.  To date, I have been paid as an independent contractor, without any benefits, with a $31,000 base fee, plus a commission based upon sales goals established by the NWSS. My responsibilities require my fulltime work commitment, with a round-the-clock effort in the run-up and follow-through of the annual event, and less time commitment during the summer. I do not receive any overtime, comp time, paid vacation, or sick pay benefits. I do not receive any health insurance or pension or profit-sharing benefits. On average, over the last several years, I have been paid less than $60,000 per year. My existing compensation has remained relatively the same for several years and has not kept up with inflation. My compensation is substantially less than comparable directors and curators at other organizations.


4.  Based on best practices it is not appropriate for the NWSS to compensate me as Director and Curator of a charitable event based upon commission on sales goals.


    *   It is vital that non-profit organizations maintain transparency regarding their management and administrative fees, so that donors are assured that their contributions are directed toward the intended beneficiaries. Commissions on proceeds of charitable events can obscure transparency.


    *   To develop and maintain a well-respected art exhibition, the artists and art collectors must trust that, as Director and Curator, I will maintain the integrity of the exhibition and the quality of the art. The commission structure creates an inference of economic motivation that undermines the trust in the exhibition.


    *   My duties as Director and Curator do not change with the total sales of the exhibition. I have a full-time work commitment to the exhibition, and my compensation should not rise and fall with sales goals. The exhibition is an important cultural event in the community and bestows upon the NWSS an intangible benefit of casting it as philanthropy.


 5.  My responsibilities combine several different roles, including Director and Curator. Starting salaries for curators at the Denver Art Museum are between $80,000 to $100,000 per year. Salaries for curators increase based upon experience levels; I have over 25 years of experience. My responsibilities as curator, however, are only a portion of my responsibilities for the exhibition.

In addition to acting as curator of the art exhibit, I am also responsible for the management of the organization. 


 6.  As Director of the exhibition, I am involved in all aspects of the development, administration, and management of the exhibition.


    *   I have a marketing degree, and I have used my art gallery experience in developing a successful art exhibition and sale. My marketing efforts have included the expansion of our space on the third floor, the addition of art in the Club, and the silent auction of which we receive not only our 30% commission, but all amounts bid in excess of the retail price–sometimes two and three times their starting price.


    *   I manage and administer all of the staff, volunteers, committee members, patrons, and supporters of the exhibition. I coordinate operations and sales with the NWSS. I’m responsible for promotion, acquisition, unpacking, set-up, lighting, security, take down, and shipping of the exhibition.


    *   I have developed a loyal following of the best contemporary artists in America. Each year, I have more applications for new and superlative work to offer at the exhibition based upon my many years of developing positive work relationships with the artists.


    *   I have built strong community support for the exhibition. I have invested in relationships with volunteers, committee members, patrons, and supporters of the exhibition to build a positive image of the NWSS. I work year-round with our supporters. I have created numerous events to generate interest in the exhibition and generated significant table sales and sponsorships.


    *   I have engaged in innovation to make the exhibition successful, including the use of technology for sales and web events. I interview each artist on recorded Zoom calls that are posted on our website for collectors. I have been told numerous times that those interviews convinced collectors to buy.


    *   I supervise and manage our staff and vendors to coordinate their schedules and efforts. I oversee design and write our promotional and marketing materials, as well as negotiate better rates with vendors.


    *   During COVID, under my direction and leadership we pivoted from an in-person exhibit to one totally online; we grossed over $500k, with nearly no expense.


 7.  Under my leadership, the exhibition has become an important philanthropic art event, and many years the top contributor to the Scholarship Trust. 


8.  An art dealer or director of a commercial art gallery who is paid by commission would receive between 10% to 50% of the sales price of a work of art. Based upon the $1 million of sales proceeds from the exhibition, a 10% commission would be equal to $100,000.

9.  My strategy for the future of the Coors Show is to develop a plan to seamlessly transition our exhibition and events into the Legacy building and to make the most of the fanfare of the launch to attract collectors, patrons, sponsors, and artists on a greater national and international level. I believe that with the new facilities, the exhibition will become more successful and that we have an incredible opportunity to build the event for the benefit of the NWSS. 

10.   I am requesting the NWSS restructure my compensation to $100,000 a year for the next five years, which would be commensurate with my education, experience, and duties, in parity with other curators, directors, and senior managers.

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