Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
I know this has been discussed here before, but I can't seem to find it. There's always a lot of talk about how jury fees are out of hand, and that shows are making money hand over fist with the record number of artists who apply. But what does it REALLY cost to plan, organize and hold an art show? Where do the jury fees and the sponsor money and all the booth fees go when it's all over?
Curious, that's all. Are art shows turning a profit, or are they a zero-sum game?
I was more interested in the general picture, not a specific show. But I agree, most of the money that isn't spent directly on jury expenses ought to go to advertising.
If they weren't turning a decent profit, they wouldn't be having them. For our little show, we make a small profit but we aren't doing it for the money. This is a labor of love for me. I don't think that's the case with most shows. But expenses keep rising quickly. The rent on our indoor location goes up over $1000 each year. Next year we have to hire parking lot people because the crowds are so large. We may have to take out some booths because of the crowds as well. Our jury fee is $20. That covers our ZAPP costs and lunch during the jury and not much else. Booth fee is $145 which hasn't changed for a couple of years. We do charge $5 to get in which helps keep the booth fees down (and pays for Friday night pizza for the artists) but it's hard since I want to spend everything I can on advertising. The rising jury fees drive me nuts as an artist because it's just a huge source of income for most shows and many times not even used for the jurying...
Here is an excerpt from the State College, PA Festival of the Arts, newsletter -- just in case you are forgetting any of the efforts put forth by staff:
This is off the top of my head for a smallish indoor show at a city-owned auditorium in a prime location. There were about 50 vendors. Amounts are approximate. The grand total of costs was close to $9,000.
Facility rental: 3 days (includes load-in day Friday) $6,000
Two off-duty police officers during show hours (amount unknown)
All the other stuff the facility charges for: around $2,500. (each table, each dolly, each chair, each electricity "hook-up",* parking lot attendant,** having the indoor concession stand open, microphone and speaker, and probably other things.
* The facility demanded to see our floor plan with the spaces using electricity marked. It charged $60 for each separate space using electricity. Nobody was allowed to plug into a neighbor's electricity. The facility manager came through and checked all the electricity usage.
** If we wanted vendor parking in the loading dock area, we had to pay upwards of $20 per hour for the attendant who guarded that entrance. There were two other events concurrent with ours who also had vendor parking in the loading dock.
There was no pipe-and-drape and each vendor carted his/her stuff in and out.