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

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 agree with your comments totally, Jim. 


I also am of the bent that one should always FOLLOW THE MONEY in anything.  Certainly, this person is setting himself up for personal monetary profit in this endeavor. 


It smells like elitism and reminds me of totalitarianism.  It it walks like a duck, it just might be a duck.

Thank you Jim, you have expressed very well, my thoughts about all of this.   I have viewed his site, read his own words.  This is just the wrong way on too many levels.

Well said Jim!

Pay special attention to the paragraph on certification.

I really think any artist considering hooking a car to this train should consult a good labor lawyer first.

It looks to me (not a lawyer) that the issue would come into play if a show started demanding that artists be certified by a specific entity like jcaafa to apply.

The problem that I have with this, among many other things, is that it does not stop at "certifying" that the work is handmade.  Reference this statement " that the materials used to make the artwork are the finest available".  I use UV resistant glass, am I going to be forced, for certification, to use museum glass - three times as expensive and a b**** to work with.  The materials I use are part of MY business model.  Other photographers have different business models and that is their right.  While I don't like being next to a photographer who is using cheaper materials to sell $5 matted prints it is their right.  And it is my responsibility to educate my customers why my prices are higher.  What about jewelers?  Are they going to be forced to use fine metals only?  

I don't trust his motives.  It looks like he is trying to force people out of shows who don't meet HIS criteria of art and I take that very personally and so should we all.


In his address to the assembled group at Winter Park, Mr. Slesnick told the artists that they were part of an elite group. He appealed to us, using this quote:

Art is by definition elitist. The more you are exposed to it, the better your taste. I use that word in the sense of cultural sophistication, not in any other sense. That sophistication is what makes it worth it for a person to buy an original or unique item from the artist who made it. 

- Artist Ynon Mabat

He went on to tell us that we were the elite and that this certification program was necessary to raise the bar for shows in general. It certainly seems that his intent is to weed out the riffraff, based on a vague set of standards. 

In it's simplest form, the idea that honest artists offer up proof that their work is indeed handmade is not a bad one. What's bad is the idea that one person, or group of people, set the standards for an entire group of artists. This started out as a way to curb buy/sell, but seems to go far beyond that. I respect the right of other artists to use the materials that are right for their work, and I expect the same respect from other artists. 

Jim my friend and colleague, 

It is my quote and I stand behind it especially because of a bank account inspired reason:

If it was not for a degree of elitism, why would someone buy an original art piece? You know, I tried to compete with IKEA and Wallmart and failed....

So I became an elitist!!!!!!!


The first time I posted to this thread it had been viewed about 50 times and had one comment.  Three days later, over 3000 views and over 100 comments.  So happy to see people fired up.

Policing buy/sell should fall squarely on the show director's shoulders.  It is in their best interests to present their shows with integrity and according to their rules.  Buying into this scheme allows them to shirk their responsibilities and push it onto our backs and make us submit to another layer of nonsense to "prove" we are artists.  So eventually we need not apply if we are not "certified", in the end the shows are going to lose out on some really good artists, jury applications are definitely going to descrease and all shows are going to start looking the same because only the same small number of artists are going to be eligible to apply to shows.  Once again we suffer the consequences of this.  I say we take this harebrained scheme, take a stand and tell any and all to shove it where the sun doesn't shine.  It is so damn condensending and patronizing to us.




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