It`s obvious that Nels post has struck a nerve with all of us on here. As of this post, it`s been viewed over 2,300 times in just 5 days. It`s very discouraging to work so hard doing what we love to do, only to have to struggle against so many obstacles. There`s weather (this year has seen some bad storms), the economy, booth location, public apathy or ignorance, and yes, of course the necessary evil - the promoters. We can all agree that the promoters are going to make alot of money from each show they put on regardless of how we do at the show. Th majority of them have become complacent and indifferent to the artists, lining their pockets. They take more than their fare share. WE CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS. Let`s not be complacent. I myself have sent scathing emails to promoters who have raised their fees, not caring if I get black listed, because I won`t shell out more money for their show anyway.

We have all seen the email calling for I think it`s the 4th call for entries for the Reston show in Northern Virginia. Not only is their jury fee higher (because it`s through Juried Art Services), but now they also want $50 extra. You may not want to pay that, but I bet there are plenty of artists who will do it. How many times will they extend their deadline in order to be able collect more fat jury fees and pocket the late penalty application fee? Every time we get an email with an extended deadline, you just know that either they want to try and get more jury money and/or they can`t fill their show BECAUSE THEIR BOOTH FEES ARE TOO HIGH.

SOLUTION: They can`t black list everyone. Without us, they have no show. No show = no money for them. Shows do disappear. I say, we (alot of us who are fed up) contact the extra greedy promoters and voice our disapproval about their booth fees. If they are going to be indifferent to us, why show them the courtesy of handing over our money without question? They should get paid for the service they provide. In my opinion $200 to $350 should be the fair range IF they do a good job promoting. Those charging alot more, should be boycotted and/or chastised for their greed. No more deadline extensions as a means of extracting even more money from us. THEY NEED US. That is our voice. "Occupy Art Shows". End their greed or make them go broke. See how they like it!


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  • OK, my science background is kicking in big-time after reading the original post by Eve.  The overriding ASSUMPTION being made is that promoters are making a lot of money.  And that they are greedy.  To which I would ask, "How do you know?"  For any given show, in order for the assumption to be proven true, you would need to know ALL of the promoter's expenses and compare that to income.  Basically, you would need a peek at the balance sheet for the business.  Last time I checked, private businesses do not have to release such information in the United States of America.  Thank goodness!


    And what is wrong with making money? Don't you want to make money? I sure do, and I run my business in a way that allows me to support my household.  The payment of any jury/application fee and booth fee is done VOLUNTARILY.  If you don't like the fees or the promoter, then don't apply.  You may not like the deadline extensions, but I bet there are artists out there who are thrilled that they still have the chance to apply.  They have free will and can choose to pay the extra fee if it seems like the right decision for them.  It clearly isn't for you.  So don't pay it.  I make my decisions based on whether I think the show would be a good fit for me; the actual booth fee is a secondary consideration. I don't "like" paying higher application and booth fees, but it is a cost of doing business.  The cost of my materials has skyrocketed in the past few years, but I can't exactly boycott those prices either. They are necessary costs in order to run my business, and they are eventually reflected in my own pricing structure for my work.

    • Jan, I too am a silversmith and am very well aware of the costs of doing business. What would you do if a venue that was good for you in the past, doubled their booth fees in spite of diminishing sales? What if that case was becoming the norm? You consider booth fees (never mind jury fees) to be "secondary"?! Don`t you factor all the fees when considering your r.o.i.? And as for simply raising your prices to a public also feeling the pinch - well, good luck with that!

      Since you don`t mind non-artist friendly shows, high booth fees or jury fees for that matter, you might find it fun to do the Howard Allen and Amy Amdur shows. I sure they would love to receive your application fees.

      • Eve,

           My best show this year was a Howard Alan show.  It was a good ROI for me.   It was well run and had a great buying crowd.  No, it did not have any frills and I did have to set up at 4 am but I did not find it artist unfriendly.  Everyone was very pleasant and helpful and I would do other of his shows in a heartbeat.


      • Eve, you misinterpret my statements.  I do consider all fees when considering a show, but the very first thing I evaluate is whether I feel that particular show is a "good fit" for me.  Only then do I decide whether I feel the fees are not worth paying.  There are definitely times when I have chosen to apply to shows with relatively high booth fees because I feel that my particular ROI will be positive if I am accepted.  


        And as far as raising my prices goes, I HAVE had "good luck" with that.  Good enough, anyway!


        And when did I ever say that I "didn't mind" non-artist friendly shows.  I never said that nor implied it.  I made statements about making Business Decisions. Period.

        • This thread has turned from being supportive to one another to an expression of hostility and defensiveness. And this business, which began from loving the creative process and wanting to share that with the public, has turned into a struggle to survive while dealing with a multitude of obstacles along the way.

          When I first began doing this 22 years ago, I never would have imagined this occupation would feel similar to pushing a huge boulder up hill, on a running loop. I still love the creative process. But all the wishing in the world won`t change how the shows have morphed into an often stressfull, juggling act, from the application process, to dealing with (let`s face it) often times indifferent promoters, weather, costs of materials, costs of traveling, the physical demands - which are plenty, and hoping to supercede the realities of a population fearful of the future of their well being and ability to make a living (just as we are). It would be great to take a year off and spend in a remote place to reflect on all of this. 

          • Well Eve, I am about to do some of that. We are dropping many of our current shows, and, going to walk a lot of new/different shows/venues next year. It's going to be financially difficult, but, it's something that I feel we need to do. Our sales have tanked, so it's time to re-evaluate, re-invent, and, just plain think out of the box--in terms of my creations, the material I use, the approach, and the medium itself. It's going to be hard, painful, exciting, adventurous, and, hopefully go into the awesome and profitable land of opportunity. It's time for that 'leap of faith'..........   :-)

            • You have the right idea, Ann. I wish you a wondrous re-invention and revitalization!

    • Well said Jan!! Most of the shows we do are run by the local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, non-profit orgs or volunteers who put on one show per year.  When their booth fees increase we know it's because their show expenses (security, permits, etc) have increased. 

      We're now looking at several shows in CA for next year and while more of those shows seem to be run by the professional show promoters, their booth fees / application fees seem to be in line with the fees for the shows in the regions that are run by the non-profits, volunteers, chambers or rotary organizations.  So unless a show is really out of line with other shows in the area for similar quality and attendance, we "vote" using our jury fees on the shows where we feel like we're going to achieve the best return regarless of who is running the show.


  • This type of discussion has been going on since I started out in this business, so it's not new by any means. The poor struggling artist verses the mean, greedy promoter. And I also had that opinion. Until I became a promoter in order to make a kazillion dollars.

    We promoted a number of shows for about 5 years. And I will tell you that if you think it's easy, just try it for yourself.  We never made a lot of money promoting, so we went back to exhibiting. Plus we had to deal with all kinds of Prima Donnas. Everybody was trying to tell us how to run a show. And when we would suggest they help out, they disappeared.

    I remember a while back where some were talking about unionizing. Yeah, right. That went far. I can just see a promoter wanting to host an event and Moe Thackery shows up with "artist demands". Bye bye shows.

    We are all independent businesspeople here. Some are disgusted with the way things are going because they aren't making 10 times that $500 booth fee anymore. But somebody will always be willing to take your place and be thrilled to make 4 times the fee and go home with $1500 and pay the mortgage and some bills because they lost their job.

    Occupy art shows? That's got to be the stupidest thing I've read in years! Just how are you gonna do it? Shows are private events and all the promoter has to do is call the police. So who will you hurt? That exhibitor who needs the money desperately and may go home with $1000 instead of $1500. And fewer bills will get paid. S/he is the real 99% in this business, and has no sympathy for you.

    • Well Chris, it appears you`ve honed your cynacsim to a lovely jagged edge and don`t mind dolling it out with an acid tongue either. It also seems clear that a lack of compassion toward artists who chose to make this their profession is your m. o. Consider not complaining on this forum the next time you shell out good money for all the associated fees for a show that doesn`t pan out. I doubt you`ll get much sympathy/empathy. You`ve jaded nicely!

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