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I need help with this question from my inbox:

We produce a few local artisan shows at ___ _______ in __________, __. We have been producing them for 15 years. I need help with how to go about incorporating NEW artists while saying good-bye to artists who have been with us for many years. Is there a nice way to do that?

All of us have been in this situation, the new artist who can't get into an established event at a show that has a solid invitational list, and being the old dude who has kept it on her calendar for a long time. But I do understand the dilemma. Any suggestions we can pass on?

Please help. 

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Being fairly new to shows, now in my 4th year, I can already see how some shows get stale for me, and I need to give them a year off. There are two shows in Denver that I did not apply for this year, as it was time to give them a rest. Last year I applied to 22 shows, was accepted to 25, and I did 14 shows; this year I made the decision to drop 5 of them, simply as they were the lowest sales of the 14. One show had an unsafe teardown, and I will not go back. One that I am dropping is the one that I always thought of as the good show to be at; but the numbers told a different story.

Solution found:

As has been said before, time heals all.

Have patience.

As the clock runs, us old coots wil fade away. 

The new, fresh young wipper snappers will fill in the void.

So just wait, it will happen whther we want it to or not  :-)

If it's truly a blind jury, why are all old artists consistently getting in? You'd think it would be the best work getting in regardless of history. 

In the interest of new blood, don't reinvite anyone, not even award winners. 

There are several shows that I don't bother even applying to anymore, as I've learned they are heavily grandfathered. All with a hefty jury fee, too. I have customers asking me why I don't do a particular show, as they know it's good and my work is a good fit. They are surprised to find out the slots are mostly sewn up already; at least in my medium. 

It could be an unpopular thing to do if anyone found out, but you could assign an extra jury point or fraction to new applicants. Though that could mean lesser work got in. 

If it is really a "Blind Jury" yet many of the "old artists" are getting in. Perhaps that is because those old artists are very talented, skillful and diligent with their work. They know how to present it, do the best artist statements, write up of descriptions & booth shots. 

So it is possible they are getting in because they are the best work.

Maybe / maybe not. 

As artists we might tend to be a bit biased thinking our work and view are superior. It is difficult to separate out and see it from a neutral viewpoint.

If the question is "how do we change the demographics of people who come to our art fair", then the answer is in 2 parts. 

1).  Change the way you're marketing the fair...if you want fresh eyes on your fair you gotta shake it up.  Advertise in new ways/places (use that free social media!), change up your logo and marketing materials.  Hire a young person to try new things to market your fair.

2.) Change your roster of every artist every year (no grandfathering!).  If you're not getting any new applicants and the same old artists keep applying every year then you need to work on attracting a fresh crop of artists.  Revamping your show logo and description, and trolling for applicants on Instagram, for example, could attract artists who never thought of applying to your show. Actively seek out the kind of artists you want at your show and personally invite them to apply.


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