Art Fair Insiders

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

I am a potter and have been fortunate to have been juried in at some prestigious show as well as more local, smaller shows.  Rarely does a judge ask me a question, introduce himself or even come all the way into my booth and take time to view my work.  If I am juried in don't I deserve a fair look by the judges?  Does anyone else experience this?

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A common complaint by artists. Either they never saw a juror or the juror never entered their booth.

The shows countered this by having an assistant accompany each juror and put a colored sticker on your name sign.

Another possible factor is that some jurors walk the show before the jurying starts and already knows which booth or artwork will be chosen.

Unless you're in it for the prize money, it's best to concentrate on how to make more sales and not worry about the on sight jurying.

Larry Berman

I have learned that if I never noticed the judges, or they didn't talk to me, I am not winning anything. But if they all come in and talked to me I have a chance at something.
I don't blame them, art is incredibly subjective. What I like another person may have no interest in.

I don't spend time worrying about it, but I do notice.

True that the point of doing a fair is not to win awards, but lets be honest, when you get that "best of show" banner on the front of your booth, it usually helps sales.

To go to your point about judges coming into your booth again. Realize that some shows are fairly large, and jurors have a limited amount of time to walk the whole fair. They may not have time to talk to everyone, and may only do so if they have a question about something. Many times I am busy with customers I don't even realize they were there, I just notice little round stickers magically appear on my sign.

I never expect a juror or assistant to talk to me as they come around because they have alot of booths to cover, & I'm usually with a customer & really would not appreciate "being bothered!!!"  Sure it's nice to get an award, but if you keep the attitude that you're here to enjoy the customers (some of them anyway~LOL), & to SELL your product, yeah icing would be nice, but if not, so be it!  Many times I've seen people get awards who never sold a THING all week-end, & told me they would have rather made sales.  It works both ways too, because at some shows the people who get ribbons have their booth flooded with customers.  That happened to me in Chicago~I thought "OK, you walked by me before, & now that I have this award, all of a sudden you have to have something from me"  ~~~go figure!  It's just best, I feel to concentrate on selling, rather than "Jurors OPINIONS."

I wouldn't automatically assume they aren't looking at your booth, Joyce.  I've seen people with clipboards come to my booth, and when I notice them I always ask if they have any questions.  Not one has ever asked anything; they just smile and say thank you.  But more often I never see the judges and, as Gregg said, just realize I have a sticker on my booth sign that magically appeared and indicates someone has been by.  I take that as a good sign that I was busy selling something when the judge came.  I'm sure the judges don't want to be obvious, and if they are doing their job correctly they certainly wouldn't interrupt a sale to make their presence known. 

Also, booth awards and media awards are all very subjective, and will vary from show to show according to the taste of the judges.  But no matter what, they rarely have anything to do with the success or lack of success of your sales.  I was recently at a very large show that gives out about 10 different awards, and at least 7 of them went to water colorists.  Apparently that was the medium of choice that weekend.

Each show has its own methods for running the judges for the awards. I'm in agreement with the others here. I was a judge at a show not long ago that requested each of us to introduce ourselves to the artist, this was a really nice idea because at least everyone knew they had been seen. I do believe all shows do their best to be fair. I also attended an awards ceremony recently and it was really interesting to watch the reactions of the other artists when someone won an award. For some there was resounding applause and for others the applause was a strained response. It is all objective, of course, and the bottom line is THE bottom line.


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