Art Fair Insiders

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

Not meaning to be contentious or throw a bomb into the room.  Just that "inquiring minds want to know" as we artisans have a vested interested in art shows.  It is a question I wish that show promoters and directors in particular would wade in on to explain their philosophy.  We artists out here can postulate, theorize, bloviate, hypothesize and not know if we are close to the mark.  We may not know - but would like to I think.

The question is simply:  Why do shows extend their application deadline?

Every one of us that applied to a show by the deadline, the deadline was extended and we subsequently get rejected from the show scratch our heads and ask "WT.... ???  

It seems somewhat of a given (theorizing here) that jury fees have become a revenue stream for shows.  Jump in and correct me if that is an incorrect assessment.  Just that compared to shows 12-20 years or more ago, jury fees were more in the $10-$20 range with submitting slides and all that entailed with packaging, mailing, orienting properly in projectors, removing, putting back in slide holders and returning to artists.  For $10 to $12.

It is straightforward that a decline in applications provides less money and extending the deadline MAY help lessen that issue if that is the reason.  Though maybe is it done because of not enough diversity?  Not enough "quality"?  Though again all of us rejected having done shows for decades and being in some of the top shows in the country have a hard time accepting this explanation.  What else?  Do tell.  Maybe I am the only one out there interested in the answer but I don't think so.

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I just assumed it was because not enough artists were applying


Why do they do it? Because they can. This is not unusual now. Ever since online jurying made it possible.


A few years ago I was wait listed from a show, only to find it was still accepting applications. Rather a slap in the face. Emails sent for explanation went unanswered. Nor was I called off the wait list. I have never applied again. Since then, though, I have tracked the show, and seen that every year, the deadline is reached, then it creeps ahead…3 days more, 3 days more… it is currently showing a deadline of 10 days after the original date, while the prospectus is showing notifications due on Feb 3. Someone obviously forgot to update that portion. The pattern shows me that however many applications they claim to receive, they aren’t getting them.  


When you see this happening for a show, consider tracking it.


The better shows that have too many applications to handle, don’t extend their deadlines. Even the better shows, though, at times delay their notifications, which can wreak havoc with an artist’s plans.

YES, It is very frustrating on the Artist when you hear nothing even days after the notification date.Nothing said anywhere that they are extending...we are supposed to "assume" this is what is going on I guess.  Other deadlines are always coming, & I am never one to "double book" because I did that once & had to decline as I was accepted to both~I was NEVER able to get in their show again! I would rather not mention the show... I DO understand what Artists are going thru-I feel they should abide by their contract...if they cannot or have a problem~LET THE ARTISTS KNOW!)  I wish the Promoters would be more considerate (especially from a better established show).

I don't know the answer to this, but this has happened to me too: "extended deadline" and then not being accepted into the show/art fair. This has only happened to me in the last 3-4 years as jury fees have gone up. Like you, my guess, though I do not know this of course, is it has something to do with jury fees bringing in a nice source of income for some people. In general, I think respect for the artists themselves is going down the toilet, in many ways, with some art fairs.  I think this is part of that trend.

If a show needs more applicants, it would be considerate to be more specific as to what they are still looking for- what categories.  This way they wouldn't have to collect any extra money for filled categories.

As far as extending application deadlines...There is no QUALITY CONTROL" for applying to a show online...only guidelines.. and after that point it is up to the show promoters to sort out what they feel is a fit for their show and what is not. We all have been waitlisted and flat-out rejected for shows that makes wonder "How Can This Be" because we have done this show in the past and just know that our work is creative, in demand, quality and we have done well there before.

Well, sometimes the shows might just want new work at the shows to keep things fresh for visitors. How many times have you been to a show and seen the same artists there year after year? I know I would like to be at the shows I apply for year after year because that is why I apply and pay those increasing application fees...but  Reality Check ...Life Doesn't work that way unless you have a certain bond/friendship with some show promoters.

The top shows usually do not extend deadlines..

Other shows extend deadlines to get better work

Some shows just want more application fee income

Some shows just do not get many interested applicants


Yes, application fees are higher than in years gone by prior to the online process. I have wondered what the fee split is between the show and the online application processor.

Services such as Zapplication and Juried Art Services have made it tremendously easy for anyone to apply to any show with minimal effort compared to pre-online days. These are valuable time saving services and as with any valuable services in life they are there to make money$.


This also opened up a can of worms because of all the buy/sell vendors who didn't seem to be in shows when applications were not done online...but now seem to be showing up at so many shows. This online convenience also opened the doors for many artists who might not be aware of all the existing shows.


So Sad, but you make sense~very good points including the bag of worms...

Katheen Smith

Great analysis of the situation.  Artists unfortunately have little or no leverage in this situation.  We need to get creative and either change the current system or create our own if we are to survive in this venue at least.  Forums like this are certainly a start as they allow us to creatively question the status quo and communicate.  Now we need to brainstorm new ideas.  There is strength in numbers, somehow our common bond needs to be exploited and we need to figure out how we can make changes in our favor.


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