Art Fair Insiders

Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

We all know the economy is a bit weak right now. Artists are struggling to make sales and shows are trying to enforce their own rules. Everyone needs some help. I'm writing a booklet to help everyone recognize buy/sell, help show directors oust production studios and help artists and shows stop imposters from taking our spaces and competing for our sales. I need your help. If you see something fishy out there, take a picture, get a card, write down a name. You can do it anonymously if your worried, I'll take the heat. I'll do the research. Call me (941) 266-6434, e-mail me: SwayzeArt@msn.com, or say hi at a show. It's time for us to stand up together and protect our livelihoods! Together we can make a difference.

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Yes the economy sucks. But that also means exhibitors are getting out. So many promoters are merely doing what they must do to survive. Sell real estate.

Now I completely agree about the B/S merchants. But production studios? Does that mean if Louis Comfort Tiffany were still around you would have his studio evicted? Or Gustav Stickley?

I am a firm believer in competition. That's what makes us better exhibitors. We see success and want some of that. We don't eliminate a studio that has artists working there. You learn to compete with them. But today it seems we should punish success and hard work.

If you don't like what the promoter is doing, you merely cross them off your list. It's a lot less aggravation. There's no need to go looking for a fight. 

In no way am I suggesting that we create the rules for the shows. I carefully read a shows perspectus before I choose to apply. What I am saying is that when a show states " no buy/sell, no production studios (individual artists only), that they enforce their own rules.
I am all for success in our marketplace, I think fair competition is good for all of us. It keeps us fresh and striving to create.
There are other venues for production studios. When a show states "hand made by the artist" it means just that. One person makes the work, the same person shows and sells what he or she makes. Tiffany, or Dale Chihuly would have a hard time getting into a lot of our shows because they were/are designers. Great masterful designers but do they belong in a show that requires the artist who actually makes the art to be there with their work?
There are a lot of artists and a lot of shows who are very concerned with the issues that I am researching. I have nothing to do with the rules of a show, I'm just doing some research.
I'm at the Zapp Conference in Atlanta for the next couple of days if anyone is looking for me.
I believe we are talking about the shows that are created for artists and artisans to sell their work. We cannot "compete" with a production house nor should we. There are many venues for high quantity producers to sell. Catalogs, retail, shows that are not "artist must be present". 'If you don't like it cross them off your list' is not a solution to keeping a unique sales venue viable for independent artists.

If a show states "no buy/sell, no production studios and artists must be present" then the shows should be brought to the attention of these rule breakers.

 

Also to add to the mix is when it says the artist should be present, then an artist making up stories about family emergencies in order to send siblings, parents etc so that they can also do another top notch show should also be included in your research.

 

Christine Hauber

artist, webinars, workshops

http://www.meetup.com/matt-suess-photography-workshops/

If we're going to go after the promoters, we must make sure we read the entire contract.  I've seen a lot of contracts in my time and the newer ones have all these rules and regulations about no B/S or whatever. But at the bottom is a disclaimer that in essence says they can disregard the above at any time. And we agree to that when we sign it.

So before you go after these promoters, make sure you read the entire contract. Top to bottom. If the disclaimer is there, they can do whatever they want. If there's no disclaimer, go for it.

But let's say the promoter is violating his own rules. And you bring it to his attention. What are you expecting him to do? Of course you're expecting him to stop. But what if he doesn't? Then what? Are you going to say "I'm not coming back!!"?

And someone else will be in your spot next year.

This has been an age old complaint. Probably since shows started.

The bottom line as far as I am concerned is that if I don't like the way a show is run, I don't do that show again.  You can not tell a show promoter how to run their show.  If you think that they missed recognizing a buy /sell and you want to tell them - fine but if they don't do anything about it then you have your answer.  Vote with your checkbook.  Times are tough and promoters are looking after their bottom line the same as we are.  I also think it depends on the promoter - If you get to know the promoter, you can get a sense of whether they are approachable about the subject.  Are they on site?  Is it lots of buy/sell or is it just one or two that got thru the cracks? There are so many shows out there to choose from that if I don't like the showI go elsewhere.  Also, I do one or two shows with buy/sell vendors and do well because I am handmade.  If I stop doing well, I'll stop doing the show.

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