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In art fair circles for years there has been talk about buy/sell and reps showing up with someone else's work. I found this meeting mention in The Orlando Sentinel:

Artists participating in the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival are set to meet Friday evening to discuss forming a commission that would set standards for work displayed at art festivals. The purpose of the commission would be to certify that work in an artist's booth was in fact created by the artist, according to photographer Les Slesnick, who is organizing the gathering. The meeting will happen in the Rotary Beer Garden just south of Morse Boulevard just after the festival closes at 6 p.m.

Does anyone know anything about this? Or have any suggestions we could share with Les?

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I know about it. Les is giving me a call after the meeting. Until then he prefers to not have it discussed on the forums.

Larry Berman

Not having it discussed on the forums is one of the reasons I can't support it.  I don’t care what it is.  It needs public debate.  It needs vetting by large numbers of artists, not by a handful of selected ‘elites.’ 

Who's in the meetings?  How many artists?  Just the ones that have already been given their so-called certifications?  How do you get one?  Right place, right time?  Quid pro quo? 

I am stunned more artists are not up in arms about this whole proposal, but then again, very few of them even know about it don’t they?  And that’s what the good ol’ boys want, they want the masses blissfully ignorant and eager to accept their pre-ordained visions without dissent.  They want the majority of us to consider ourselves lucky enough just to be given a place at the table, not to have any real input or power.

Given that many artists are more worried about their Facebook likes, I don’t know why I continue to be surprised at the lack of a sense of urgency and passion toward reversing the downward spiral of this art fair dystopia.

Sad.  Very very sad.


I am one of the original members of this idea/group. After reading your comment I felt a reply was neccessary. Contrary to your assertion "that's what the good ol' boys want",the issue here is not "elites" but rather a place to start in dealing with these issues, buy/sell, bait and switch, and in general those individuals that are not selling their own work. Even the final framework has not been fully decided and I am surprised at the lack of understanding or concern that you are exhibiting over the real problem and it certainly is not an elite group trying to control all the other artists.

Before this is done I anticipate at the very least 1-2,000 legitimate and credentialed artist participating. Each one doing their own work regardless of the quality. The concept is not to create an elite group, it is merely to certify that the artist in question does their own work nothing more.

Except for a small number of the top shows, buy/sell can be found in every show. There were even several artist in that catagery at Winter Park over the wekend. When it gets to the point where even a show like Winter Park has it, it's time to take action.

If our member body gets to the 1,000-2,000 point, it certainly becomes a game changer in keeping the Art Fair circut a lot freer of buy/sell & bait & switch. 

If this does not bother you then don't concern yourself any further. If it does bother you, welcome.


It is about time this issue is addressed,,,unfortunetly untill the shows themselves start to do something about  this (even when they are told they do nothing) I am not sure what we can do about it.

How about this as a starting place, Becky? How do you propose we get everyone together to discuss this?

Well, we’re already together here Connie and I think I did make my proposal to discuss the issue, so to speak.  This post has already been read a dozen times just in the last few minutes.  I’d love to see some artists chime in here.  Are people even aware what’s going on?  Are they afraid to speak out or is the real problem apathy.  Some people are content to trundle along unnoticed while others take the brunt of the sword in these debates.  Others don’t speak out until the dust settles and there is a clear victor to suck up to.


This blog written back in December previously went right over my head:


And the topic is raging on

Go see for yourself.  Ain’t no golden silence there.


Take a stand, right or wrong, but don’t just bury your head in the sand and pretend it will all go away.  It won’t.

Unintended consequences - I was pretty much behind Les' new method of judging despite the fact that I have never even gotten a second glance, much less an award when his system is used. It looked good on paper. But then I read this from a judge that I respect on AFI (paraphrased) - Any judge who cannot step up and support their views about who should win an award to the other judges has no business being a judge. Then I read that apparently judges under Les' system are giving middle of the road marks for everyone and then giving high marks to those they want to win. This opens the door for cronyism of all kinds while removing the need for a judge to defend their decision. I don't think Les meant this to happen. I believe he was trying to make things more fair. But I shudder when I see how many shows are now using Les' system.

I support removing buy-sell but until I see the criteria being used and how certification is going to be determined I am a little worried.

Especially when you tell me I can't discuss it.

As I understand this article it is NOT about Les' system of judging -- it is about fraud in the business -- buy/sell, reps in the booth, etc. Let's not confuse the topic.

What I was trying to say is that Les' other initiatives have had unintended consequences and while I believe his heart is in the right place, this initiative could have unintended consequences as well.

Good point, Alison. Sort of like everything else in life.


While this may have started as one of Les's initiatives, ask yourself who will it benefit if you get involved. I guarantee that if we the artist community become less concerned about who is trying to start it and more about whether this can become a good starting point in dealing with the fraud that is now occuring with increasing regularity on the Art Fair circut, it can have a huge impact.

I recently did the La Quinta Art Festival and it was amazing. The glass sculpture artist across from me had a phenomenal show. He even took a major order from a new casino in LA to do their entryway piece. The show in general was fantastic, not one buy/sell. Every artist was as they were represented to be. It also had reported sales in excess of $2,200,000.00. Do you think the Casino owners wanted a piece of glass made in China? NO! They wanted a true artists creation made by the artist in the both that they dealt with.

I did Winter Park this past weekend where unfortunately there was buy sell. When it becomes easy for even a show like Winter Park have it slip in, who does it affect in the long term? US! The more it happens, the more it degrades the show and that has a direct effect on the sales. Some like Winter Park had people going through it and deciding who won't be back, but some shows don't.

Do we worry about another Les initiative or do we look at the idea and say " Yes, this is a good place to start". I realize that there definitely needs to be more discussion and I told Les that he needs to have those of us that are already on board discuss why each one of us decided to join the initiative. I joined because I am tired of seeing work in peoples booths that they do not make. I am tired of the bait & switch on applications. When Les presented his idea in Charlotte, I said yes. There is a lot of work to do but there has to be a starting point and this certainly is that. It is up to us, the artists to fine tune it and make it work. It really is in our best interests to make it work.

I'm repeating what Les asked me to post. I don't have any details until he calls me after the meeting.

So, isn't it speculation until he states his ideas at the meeting?

Larry Berman


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