Some come with free luxury housing, or first-class travel, or an allowance for social clubs, as long as business is involved. Many come with deferred compensation and other benefits that can push annual earnings past the $1 million mark. The challenges nonprofit arts organizations have been facing, particularly since the pandemic, have made the job of running one increasingly complex. Those difficulties have also drawn more scrutiny to pay and expenditures, and many arts executives took pay cuts during the pandemic. So what do the leaders of some of the most prominent arts institutions in the nation make?

Here’s a look at their pay and benefits, as drawn from recent tax filings.


Director’s compensation: $2 million
Reported perks included: The director received health club dues and a rent-free luxury apartment in the tower above the museum.
Institution’s total spending: $248 million


Director-CEO’s compensation: $1.9 million
Reported perks included: The director-CEO received a housing allowance.
Institution’s total spending: $98 million


General Manager’s compensation: $1.8 million
Reported perks included: The general manager received a car and driver, a life insurance policy and some first-class travel if business related.
Institution’s total spending: $315 million


President-CEO’s compensation: $1.6 million
Institution’s total spending: $74 million


Director’s compensation: $1.6 million
Institution’s total spending: $62 million


President’s compensation: $1.6 million
Reported perks included: The president received free housing in a luxury apartment owned by the museum and the payment of life insurance premiums. (The figures date from the museum’s 2021 return because the 2022 filing, which showed its departing president, Ellen Futter, received an $11.9 million package, was anomalous in that the package included $10.7 million in deferred retirement income earned over 28 years.)
Institution’s total spending: $189 million


Executive-Artistic Director’s compensation: $1.6 million
Reported perks included: The artistic director was provided a rent-free apartment for 10 months of the year and took a first-class trip to a business event with a companion.
Institution’s total spending: $101 million


Director’s compensation: $1.5 million
Reported perks included: The director received a housing allowance and dues for a social club used for business purposes.
Institution’s total spending: $124 million


President-CEO’s compensation: $1.5 million
Institution’s total spending: $130 million

Director’s compensation: $1.4 million
Reported perks included: The director received a housing allowance.
Institution’s total spending: $419 million


Artistic Director’s compensation: $1.1 million
Reported perks included: The artistic director received payments toward life insurance coverage and upgraded seating is allowed on overnight business flights that take six hours or longer.
Institution’s total spending: $63 million


Director’s compensation: $1.1 million
Reported perks included: The director received a housing allowance of $50,000, a small companion travel expense and $14,000 in unspecified attorney’s fees.
Institution’s total spending: $134 million


Artistic Director’s compensation: $1.1 million
Reported perks included: The artistic director received a housing allowance.
Institution’s total spending: $27 million


Director’s compensation: $1.1 million
Institution’s total spending: $85 million

Director’s compensation: $1.1 million
Institution’s total spending: $164 million


Director’s compensation: $1 million
Reported perks included: The director received a housing allowance.
Institution’s total spending: $77 million


Museum President’s compensation: $972,000
Reported perks included: For the museum president, some business-related, first-class travel is allowed and club fees are reimbursed to the extent they are used for museum business.
Institution’s total spending: $300 million


Director-CEO’s compensation: $883,000
Reported perks included: The director received a housing allowance and travel expenses for his spouse are reimbursed on business trips.
Institution’s total spending: $24 million


Director’s compensation: $816,000
Institution’s total spending: $55 million


Secretary’s compensation: $810,000
Institution’s total spending: $1.5 billion


Director-CEO’s compensation: $796,000
Institution’s total spending: $76 million


Director’s compensation: $780, 000
Reported perks included: The director received a housing allowance and some first-class travel was allowed when business related.
Institution’s total spending: $21 million


President-CEO’s compensation: $778,000
Reported perks included: The president-CEO received payments toward dues for a social club used for museum business and travel benefits for a spouse who is also a museum volunteer.
Institution’s total spending: $73 million


Artistic Director-CEO’s compensation: $687,000
Reported perks included: The artistic director received a housing allowance.
Institution’s total spending: $38 million


Executive Director’s compensation: $661,000
Reported perks included: The executive director received a housing allowance.
Institution’s total spending: $31 million


President-Director’s compensation: $624,000
Institution’s total spending: $28 million


Director’s compensation: $599,000
Reported perks included: The director received compensation toward a health club membership.
Institution’s total spending: $50 million


Artistic Director’s compensation: $567,000
Institution’s total spending: $45 million


Museum Director’s compensation: $548,000
Institution’s total spending: $18 million


Methodology: This list tracks the total compensation earned by top executives at many of America’s largest cultural organizations as reported on their last publicly available federal tax returns. For most of the organizations, the returns cover the fiscal year ending in June 2022, but a few cover 12-month periods that were earlier or later. In several cases, the listed compensation is for an executive who has since left the institution. In all cases, the figures have been rounded. Organizations that have no perks listed did not report any on their tax return.

The federal tax return records total compensation as a sum of all earnings, including salary, any bonuses, housing allowances or other benefits and any deferred or retirement compensation.

For the Perelman Center, the total expenses were taken from its 2023 operating budget because it had yet to begin full operations during the time covered by its last federal tax return. The compensation figure reflects the artistic director’s earnings from last year (2022). For the Getty Museum, the total expense figure is taken from the annual financial statement of the J. Paul Getty Trust, its parent organization. The Brooklyn Museum said its compensation package had been inflated by the inclusion of back pay that had been cut during the pandemic.

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