Constance Mettler

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

Show sends email saying they will refund, then only refunds 50%-BEWARE

I received an email some weeks ago from the Valley Art Center in Chagrin Falls, which is Cleveland area, OH, saying that we would receive a refund if the show was cancelled.

That relieved me so much that I posted it here on this forum.

Today- they have officially cancelled the show, which is in June-- and only refunding 50% of booth fee.

SO EVERYONE, PLEASE BEWARE OF WHAT THE WORD- REFUND- ACTUALLY MEANS.

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Take them to small claims court. You are in Ohio. You have it in writing. They think that they can get away with this because they didn't say how much of a refund they would give. Check out their wording. It may acutally say full refund. If not, there is a reasonable expectation that refund means full refund. It always bugs me that you people will accept any condition a show will throw at you. Fight for what you deserve.

Oh, Barry, please do not be bugged by me- I am not a "you people" when it comes to my money.

My husband and I were just discussing where I should start first because I definitely won't let it go. 

Their wording says refund, but as you said, that is the expectation of a full refund. That was sent in an email weeks before the money was due. The email was to assure us that we should send in our booth fees as we would be covered if the show cancelled.

This is an affluent town in my area; there is plenty of money in Chagrin Falls. I'm not far from them and I won't be going away. 

and that is a good point, Judy. I know I tend to think of others as having the same size pocketbook as I do ... when in fact, we all know about the economic disparity across our country. Many non-profits do have solid financials. Non-profit does not mean no one is making any money. A recent art center that did not refund to artists does in fact, have very full pockets. You can find this info at GuideStar.org. So, you are right, Judy. It just depends on how that organization wants to disperse its treasury. Do they value their art fair? Is the board forward-thinking? Somewhere I heard "follow the money" -- that is where their heart is (especially if they have money!)

whoops I just looked at GuideStar.org. You can get some basic information about the financials of a non-profit, but if you want more details there is a fee of $125 per organization.

Don't take it personally. One of my crusades has been to get artists to respond to shows and directors when they take away things from us. It started when in 2008 me, and many other art fair artists, lost their income because of the housing crash. Art Fairs responded by doubling booth fees and very few artists complained to shows about it. One particular response was that they weren't going to say anything because they might get blackballed which drove me up a wall. I was part of a group that wrote to shows suggesting changes to their shows that were artist friendly. Some things did change, like greater transparency as to exactly how many spaces were actually available after all the invites. Mostly, I got a reputation as a troublemaker. On the other hand, it's over 10 years later and at every show I do, someone comes up to me and thanks me for my efforts.

I didn't mean to make you feel bad. I was just venting and forgot about it after I posted. Good for you about not letting go. I hope this doesn't happen to me because I dread having to fight for my booth fees back. One thing I did was get in writing that I was going to get a 100% refund if I gave them my money. At least then I would have some recourse. It's easier for me to suggest that someone do this instead of doing it myself if I have to.

Yes, I always like it when someone else does the work. Thank you for fielding a lot of this, Barry, it is a great help to many people. I won't like it when you get back to making money.

Barry,

I didn't take it that way at all. We need some of those smiley faces to stick on posts. 

I admire you for sticking up for us. This is the only booth fee that I have paid so far, because I don't want to lose any money. 

It is also a pet peeve of mine when people step over others as far as their money is concerned. Many years ago I did a little freelancing for the Crafts Report magazine and wrote an article on how artists could collect on bad checks.  That's funny- that's before we even took credit cards!

Yes, Connie, I agree. There are nonprofits with plenty of money. For some reason we don't seem to associate the two together.

got that  letter in my inbox as well - their not the only one

doing this ,got a email from another fair whos been holding off

with the bill who stating a couple of days ago we will get a refund (if its cancelled )

-which means probably half -which is sad -as an artist were taking the hit twice with no income

and non returned booth fees -

The fact that they promised a refund BEFORE booth fees were due would imply "full refund" to any reasonable person. If they said "partial refund" at that time - which in reality is what they are trying to do now - how many artists would send it in?

There were  several shows I applied to before the corona virus was much more than a blip on the horizon. But it was looming larger by the time invitations were sent out. All of those specified FULL refund if you sent the fee. I have not sent in any fees since: because I am not too hopeful that there WILL  be show season, at least until fall. 

I think you are right to be upset and I am sure the other artists feel the same way. Is there any way of finding out who they are? 

 

Thanks Tony and Linnea, always good to hear that people agree with me.

I sent an email to them late yesterday and got one back at the end of today, explaining that they have financial problems too. 

And, at the end, stating this, their bold type:

The Valley Art Center board has heard you and made the decision to offer all Art by the Falls artists a full booth fee refund.  Any artist who does wish to donate a portion of any refund to help continue VAC’s work (and we thank those who already have!), we will gladly and gratefully accept.  We apologize for any ill-will and hope we can be together as a community in some fashion in the days to come. 

 Good to see things working for us!

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