With a Living Wage for Artists, The ArtsCenter Foresees More Community Partnerships

By Roxana Boyd

During a transformative year, The ArtsCenter in Carrboro became a living wage employer to stay true to its mission and help its employees thrive in their community.

After learning more about the Orange County Living Wage program, The ArtsCenter joined the roster of living wage employers in October. As the county’s largest employer of artists, The ArtsCenter understood the importance of paying employees a living wage and saw it as a vital component of its arts education mission. 

The ArtsCenter’s nine staff members work collaboratively to serve more than 100,000 students and citizens through classes, performances, and art exhibits. Ensuring accessibility for these individuals is another fundamental tenet for the organization, said Deputy Director Mark Bettger. He said accessibility includes removing cost as a barrier and paying employees a living wage.

In providing a living wage, The ArtsCenter hopes these resources will help employees live in the community instead of commuting from further away. For an arts organization, this creates and fosters better partnerships and creativity.

“We all benefit when the employees are invested in their community and want to try and stay and put down roots here,” said Bettger. “They can be better engrained, better in tune, and contribute to the quality of life here in Orange County.” 

The living wage certification has shown The ArtsCenter’s investment in its staff, he said. “I think from a staffing perspective, it’s a very positive benefit.”

The ArtsCenter has experienced a transformative year – “a reset,” said Bettger. After joining The ArtsCenter in the early months of the pandemic, Bettger helped bring in new staff with new perspectives. Together, they are working to take The ArtsCenter “to the next level.”


Listen as WCHL shares the news of The ArtsCenter’s living wage certification!