As this COVID-19 pandemic has swept through the country, we've all found ourselves with a lot on our plates and very little cash in our wallets. With many of the art shows canceling or rescheduling, we find that trying to juggle time and distance with energy expended and profits lost. But, in actuality, this situation could work towards our advantage.
Over the last few years, most of you have been aware of the rising cost of doing these shows. Not only have the booth and application fees gone up, but the artist's amenities are disappearing. I think that this may be the time for all of us, in this industry, to take a long, hard look at what we want and begin to form ourselves into an organization. An amalgamation, of artists that will work together protect the artist, their money, as well as their intellectual property rights
And, it is to that end, I feel that we need to have an Artists Bill of Rights!
This is where you all come in, take the time to state what's on your mind, speak directly to an issue. Which shows either wouldn't give you a refund or offered to forward your booth fees to next year. With the average age of an artist doing these shows being over 62, it becomes harder to envision that after a year like this, we would want, or be able to do their show next year. Anyone that's been doing these shows for years can attest to the amount of work, effort, planning, packing, making hotel reservations in January, for July. This is before you figure the driving, gasoline, and other expenses that go into this. All it takes is one bad show and, you are playing catch-up for the rest of the season.
As we all get older, is this how we want to proceed? If one of our kids said that they were getting ready to do something like this, wouldn't we ask them about all of the things that I mentioned before? I'm not saying that we need armed insurrection but, I am saying that we need better communication and organizational skills. I can understand that some of you feel as though there may be reprisals from various shows and events. Isn't that only more of a reason for the artists to come together and unite!?
Below, you will find a few of my ideas, why not take the time and, start by adding some of your own?
(1) Artists should be put together by talent, 2D artists, jewelry, sculptures, pottery, etc. No more of this helter-skelter method that has a painter or potter next to someone selling plants, or worse yet, vinyl siding.
(2) If a show is canceled for whatever reason, all booth fees should be returned. If a show is canceled at the last minute due to weather, a minimum of 60% of the booth fees should be remitted back to the artist.
(The days of promoters canceling a show and keeping the money needs to end.)
(3) The amount of time for an art jury to deliberate needs to be shortened. In accordance to when the application was submitted, there should be a three-tier judging process. If we submit our applications early (first tier), we should be notified within weeks, not months. This would allow us ample time to apply to another show if we are waitlisted or rejected.