This is my first year exhibiting as a painter. I've gotten in 3 shows, rejected on 3 more and waitlisted on 2 others. From your experience, what is the likelihood of getting a call? Any idea how many artists are on the waitlist? I'm guessing the Painting category is crowded.



Mike Pintar

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  • I am also in central Florida. First time at Cedar Key was off waiting list. Just accepted there for 4th time now. I'm on Winter Park wait list with no expectations there. Was rejected from Mt. Dora 4X and accepted this time. Rejected from Gasparilla once, accepted once. I've been accepted at Bonita so far and waiting to hear about several more shows. Got called off wait list for Mayfaire several years ago 2 weeks before show and then won a substantial award at same show. I've had pretty good luck being called off waiting lists, except I'm not expecting that to happen at Winter Park as I'm #8 in my category. Don't try to understand it, but good luck and work on that booth picture thing. I like that idea of touching base just before show and letting them know you'll be available last minute. 

    • Jan, is Gasparilla a good show? Accepted there several times but haven't been. BTW, I am also on waitlist for Winter Park, did it last year (2022), how do you know what your rank is on the waitlist?

      Was very excited to get into Winter Park. Planned a round trip from Denver to Florida, with a stop in Alpine TX to do some rock collecting. Loading the truck and trailer, had a little more room than I was thinking, thought it must be due to sellign alot of work at my previous show. Collected agates in Texas, then showed up early on setup day in Winter park, had a good unloading spot, unloaded everything, parked the truck, went back to start setting up. Layed out all of the trimline parts, then went looking for the corner connectors and angle pieces to put the canopy together. Hmm, couldn't find them in any of my boxes, went back and looked in the truck. Uh oh. A sinklikgn feeling: exgra space in the truck=No trimline parts=can't setup. Cr-p. Now what? I went to the show organizers, said, well, looks like I just drove 2,000 miles without all my stuff, so I guess I need to pack up and go home. The show director said, let me make some calls, and low and behold within 15 minutes she found a local artist who had an extra tent, and they brought it to the show! So I set up with an easy up, only lost an hour of setup time, and the show went on. Not my best show, but happy to be there. I was very embarassed, especially I have both an extensioiove show and field service background, but multiple people told me stories of various mishaps leaving tent parts, walls, and other needed items at home before a show. So kudos to John and the organizers there.

      So if anybody ever needs to borrow a part, tool, whatever at a show, and I happen to be nearby, happy to help you out.

      • The Gasparilla Fine Art Festival is well advertised and attended. I was there March 2022 and don't plan to return. Most artists were in the sunny field. I only know that those of us "off to the side" sold little and never saw the famous "judge."  I made expenses. I kept asking myself why I was there as most of the thousands of people passing my booth were young, beer in one hand, food in the other and not interested in what was in all the tents.  Load in and load out were the worst I've ever seen. There is lots to say and I'll leave it at long waits in line, parking .3 miles away. This event is put on to entertain the sponsors, celebrities and volunteers. Oh, and bring your own bottle for water. There's a big jug in a building next to the piles of unappetizing food ... and another wait in line. 

        • Glad I was turned down this year!

  • Thank you all for your replies and encouragement. Since my initial post I was just informed of another waitlist for Old Florida Celebration of the Arts at Cedar Key Festival. Of course, now I'm getting a complex; what exactly is the problem? I think my booth shot is a bit "weak" and wonder if my submissions are good enough to get the jury's nod, is it the booth that's holding me back?? I'm in central Florida and only applying to shows within 2-3 hrs of my home. That makes me available on a moments notice, if that's how the organizers work. I will pursue the 3 waitlist shows I really want to be in, like Mt Dora, as show time gets closer. Thanks again for your insights.



    • My $0.02: My first few shows, I only did shows within 4 hours of home. Which work to bring, jury photos, booth shots, writeups, it is a nevber ending process. "Continual impovement", a concept that isn's just for automobile manufactuerers anymore.

      Try applying to a few shows further away. See what the response is. You may, may not get accepted. Then you can decide if you want to go. Maybe you need to do a small amount of traveling, a night or two in a hotel is not a big deal.

      Since you are aware that your booth shot is weak, retake it. Set up your booth in your yard, garage, or a park, take the photos in morning light, or when it is overcast. 

      Go to an art show, and focus on observing the merchanding, for the moement ignore the art. How is the booth oriented? whagt do the walls look like? lighting? how are price and title tags handled? any visual distractions that have nothing / something / alot to do with the art? How does the artist's statement read? what does traffic flow look like in the booth. Why?

      Look at the top ten art shows. Check out their websites, and see who the artists are, and more importantly, how do they present their work. What do you need to do to make your presentation look like that?

      And of course the rule of 3: Be prepared to spend 3 years getting it right. It does happen where an artist hits a home run at their frst show (I have met 2 in 9 years), otherwise it simply takes a few years, or a few shows, to figure out what to do, how to do it. So expect it, and do not get discouraged. Well, of course that is bull, you will get discouraged, but tomorrow is another day, have a cup of coffee and start again.

      oh, and use a real camera for your shots, if using an Iphone or whateverm use a tripod y=so you can carefully compose your picture.

      See some posts elsewhere on this forum, particularly by Larry Berman, for tips on how to take proper photos. In my previous business I published well over 100,000 photos of medical equipment, so I should know which end of the camera the light goes in, except when I take a booth shot it somehow looks like an X-ray machine. So I hire a pro (Jim DeLutes, Denver area) who in 3, maybe 4 seconds takes a superb shot that I can't get right in a month, his photo just got me accepted to South Lake TX, rated #1 by AFSB, so well worth the money ($150? 125? whatever, so what).

      Another point, which I found surprising at first: almost the entire conversation here is about merchandising, almost nothing is said about the actual techniques of art, is your work any good, what colors, subject material, composition, style. 

  • Just as a followup, in 9 years I have been waitlisted about 25? times, invited 21 of those 25 times, accepted 7 of those invites, won awards at 4 of them.

    Your results may vary.

    So be encouraged, if you get invited, and you want to go, go!


  • I am a painter and I have only been called from the waitlist twice in 13 years.

  • I would agree with Mark's comments.  In my 30 years of doing shows anytime I've been on a waiting list of a show I really want to do I've considered myself in and it's happened 99% of the time.  If the show is nearby or in the area that I am already planning to be in I will show up day of set up and see if there is a spot.  I always tell the coordinators that I plan to be there and that usually puts you to the top of the waiting list because they know they won't have to spend time calling or emailng around.  Some larger shows like Art on the Square in Madison, WI have very complicated yet fair ways of letting people in off the waiting list the day of set up or even the day of the show.  In my experience it is always a good idea to communicate with the show if you really want to be pulled off the waiting list and let them know close to the show that you are still interested.

    Good luck!

  • It can vary; I've gotten calls off the waitlist from top end shows (La Quinta, Coconut Grove, others), if you can make the shows, go, if you can't, or your plan changed, don't go. Depends, if you already have your show setup together, pricing, etc, stock packed and ready to go, and you have the time, go for it. On the other side of it, I've canceled shows, several times during Covid as I did not like what ws going on in the area (rationale, loding a booth fee was less expensive than funeral costs for my estate), other times when I sold out and did not have enough stock to put on a complete show, or it was too far (also La Quinta, Coconut Grove, others). Plan on the shows you have, you might or might not get into 1 of the other wait list shows. So congrats on being in 3 shows!

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