Jury fees, the math

Maybe I'm just in a bad mood this morning, but I'm feeling a bit annoyed.  One of the many shows I've been rejected from recently replied with their sincere apologies, and all the numbers involved. We sincerely appreciate your interest and hope you'll apply again.

Here's what got my attention:

# of Exhibitors: 240
# of Returning Invited Artists: 27
# of Selected Artists: 213
# of Applicants: 1391

So, each artist pays a $30 non-refundable jury fee before even being considered.

1,391 x 30 = $41,730

This is before the $395 booth fees to be paid by each exhibitor. 

395 x 240 = $94,800

That puts this show at $136,530 in revenue before a single dollar is made by an artist.  What am I missing?  How expensive is it to run an art show, really? 

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  • Joel, here is an excellent discussion of this topic that should be helpful to you from our archives: Just got my latest rejection: http://www.artfairinsiders.com/forum/topics/got-my-latest-rejection...

    Some great tips on figuring out whether or not to apply to a show.

    • Good info, Connie.  Thanks!

  • I agree....they should refund if not accepted,,,,,i dont want to keep throwing my money away...

    • Then read your application before sending in your money. If you see they do not refund jury fees, don't apply.

      • Producing and exhibiting at art shows are businesses. Jury fees are simply a artists' cost of doing business. Lower your expenses by critically examining the probability of your art being accepted. If you don't do this, continue to gripe about jury fees. 

      • Well of course we KNOW we will not get refunded...All Im saying is it would be nice , or even a portion.....I just got a full refund from one for not being selected. It is a risk we all take, but just sayin...on the giant ones where there are over 100 applicants....it would be nice.


        starving artist

      • This made me laugh. In a good way.

        • lol me too ......in a perfect world ...right

  • That puts this show at $136,530 in revenue before a single dollar is made by an artist.  What am I missing?  How expensive is it to run an art show, really...

    Well, there would be salaries for paid staff, rental of equipment and tents (for show management purposes), insurance, rental of location, parking, food and drink possibly, promotion of the event including advertising-flyers-posters, security, bathrooms (as Richard said ... ), awards if any ...

    some shows put a lot back into the show itself, some less.

  • I would highly recomend that you take some time and put together a mock business plan for such an event. Be sure to include the fact that most venues are rented as well as take a percentage of the gate plus you need to guarantee a minimum gate. I was self employed for over thirty years and the one thing I hated most was having employees talking about how I had it made!
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