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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 keep thinking of the French Revolution.....

If I were Les I wouldn't reply in a forum because we've all have been there and seen how vicious some it can be and it generally leads nowhere but downhill fast.  Les is actually a very nice person, as I said I believe his motives are sincere it's just his proposed solution is way over the top and directed at the wrong audience.  Rumblings on the grapevine indicate that he has decided to abandon the project after his meeting last week due to the negative feedback there (and probably elsewhere).



This whole concept of "certification" sounds like a slippery-slope to me.  There is nothing gained by adding another watchdog and regulations ... Eventually, some may view this new tier of protection as being corrupt and once again we start with the same issue (just different level).  You know what elicits change?  The free market AND open debate, organization and publicly informing show organizers (cordially) about infractions occurring at the show.  In fact, they should be alerted DURING the show and not just via "secretive" star chamber meetings.  

I believe most shows / show directors care about their shows, the community and the artists.  If enough artists alert them of an issue, they will listen and take care or investigate the issue.  If they do not, then unite as artists and tell them why you will not be attending next year's show (be clear and cordial).  Also, tell all your fans, mailing list, etc. exactly why and ask them to contact the festival coordinators to share their own concerns with the show.  Basic organization, healthy debate and respectful boycotts will be the impetus to change ... Not another "commission" and more ridiculous fees.

I must admit that I’ve been talking about certifying artists for years now, but it was to their (our) benefit, not detriment.  My idea was that a point system could be devised that would certify artists as having paid their dues.  And, therefore were deserving of honorary slots in major shows once every 5 years.  Maybe 2 majors per year.


You see, I've been doing shows for 31 years now and I have done Cherry Creek once; Fort Worth twice; Sausalito 3 times; Columbus 4 times; The Plaza 5 times; etc.  You get the picture.  I also have many awards worthy of points in my system.  Well, I feel if you've committed yourself to this life style, then you've probably suffered the same ups and downs I have.  It would be nice to know that if you paid your dues and suffered the slings and arrows of misfortune that most of us have, you would arrive at a place where you would be invited to show at some of the major shows in the country once every 5 years.  For example, this year I’d be in Clayton and Bayou City.  Next year Cherry Creek and Old Town.  The fact is that if you or I were to get in 2 majors a year we could thrive out here on the circuit.  Instead of the same folks with the same 3 great images getting in every year we could spread it around some.  Last year changed my life.  Because of the 40 shows I did, I got into 2 majors and between them grossed $37K.  What would that kind of cash do for you?


In NASCAR, if you have a solid record of achievement, you are awarded a provisional starting place even if you didn't qualify fast enough for this weekend’s race.  You are rewarded for your perseverance and past achievements.  Not a bad system.


But, after hearing what this man wants to do with certification, I am re-thinking my whole premise.  His way is hurtful to many.  My idea was to be a boon to many.


Artists create, and when I read his statement about “Only the finest materials have been used, as determined by the Joint Council's Panel of Experts in the artist's specific field” I immediately thought of the most creative work of art I have ever seen.  It was by Pablo Picasso and titled “The Bull’s Head”.  Do you think it would’ve passed the test?


PS. I wanted to shout out a “That ‘a girl” when Lois Songer of Key West chimed in as the first show director to speak up about this.  You go girl!

R.C., I totally respect and applaud your many successful years in the art circuit.  I also totally agree with your "rethinking of the whole premise" of certification -- terrible idea.

However, I must also disagree with your concept of rewarding senior/seasoned artists with "passes" to future shows.  For the most part, the perfect system already exists for award winners.  Most major shows invite those whom won the previous year with a well deserved invitation to next year's show.

But, I believe a talented "first-time" newbie should be judged in the same playing field as a long-time art circuit aficionado.  New artists, fresh-blood, new perspectives and incredible raw talent is introduced every year into many shows.  This fact keeps all artists (regardless of how may shows they have under their belt) on their toes and never complacent about their creativity and art.   Also, although many of us have our own following, visitors like to see new art, new perspectives and not the same thing every year.  Thus, a 35 year veteran should be judged the same as a first year entry ... *May the best art win the invitations.

*Of course, this brings up a whole new issue of the very subjective judging of "art" ... But, there is nothing to be done about that.

Also, NASCAR invites those "old time winners" not because they necessarily deserve it, but because they have a huge fan base (ticket sales, viewership).  So, there is no doubt in my mind that there are some artists out there in each region that are widely known and popular in which committee members "pass through" the judging process just because they know them personally or know how beloved they are by the community ... For the most part, they may also earn well deserved invitations by their own art merits as well :-).

If I were Les I certainly wouldn't reply now but think how different this would have turned out if all of these opinions had been expressed before the idea was so concrete.    If forum posts had gone out on the various forums asking for input the idea might have been different and we would have felt involved rather than kept in the dark.

I applaud all the great points everyone is making.  Totally in agreement.  Glad to see artists .... finally .... getting riled up about how dysfunctional things are.  Saddest part to me about this ..... is this is another 'allged' ex-artist (in this instance, Les Slesnik) attempting to do this to fellow artists is some woefully misguided effort or thought his plan will in some way improve anything. .

First, there has to be a discussion because it affects us all.  And to even THINK of PROPOSING this level of absurdity WITHOUT a group discussion at least amongst artists, even better amongst artists and show promoters (sorry, here again the whole system leaves out the patrons, the buying public 'cause it's obvious not much of anyone gives a hoot about what THEY think) ...... is apalling, pathetic, absurd, insulting, injurious, egregious, disgusting, revolting, nauseating ..... etc. etc. etc.  Shame on Les, and any of his "newbies" that have already signed up.  They are showing themselves to be lining up to be the next good-old-boy system.

This IS a show promoter issue, at least the buy-sell part. It is part of the show rules THAT THE SHOW DIRECTORS THEMSELVES WRITE into their show prospectus, that they give us and we sign saying THESE ARE OUR RULES.  And they expect US to follow their rules - no exceptions.  

Historically, this has been an issues for at least 10-15 years and perhaps longer with the proliferation of cheaply made products overseas or in factory-style conditions here.  Cheap products, made overseas:  screw the conditions under which they have to live and work, right?  This is not a social conscious issue.  This is about money .... not living conditions, health conditions, fair wage, American jobs, etc. etc. etc.  But I digress.  Nobody seemingly cares about those issues any longer - it's just about money - a cold, hard business decision.  Okay.

Shows have been wrestling with this for a while.  Well, at least some.  Okay, maybe a couple or so.  It has been a premier topic at NAIA Director's conference for at least 2 years running .... correct Connie?  Yet what has come of director's efforts to resolve this?  What decisions have actually been made?  What implementable-action points were arrived at?       Nothing.      Merely - a cautionary note to all of us to be vigilant and artists report to show directors people they think may be buy-sell.  Stunning.  However, at that point even the NAIA-Director's concluded in the Fall 2011 issue, and I quote: "Director should take responsibility to deal with the issue."  So ....... who does?  Some of this figuring out admittedly it is harder to but much of it is far simpler to solve.  Some if it ties into the issue of creativity and ..... what's that elusive word/concept ..... ORIGINALITY?    

If this God-forsaken crappy plan is implemented, just on the first point of this Les Slesnik Manifesto, you know who is in the hottest of the hotseats?  Those that would actually DO the certification. Assuming they are not bought-off by big buy-sell groups, THEY are the ones that would be not only empowered to make those decisions but have to live the with consequences of those decisions.  And of course being artists they would NEVER be suspected of not certifying anyone they do not like or compete against.  Perish the thought.  

But think of this ..... should they inadvertently, because of inexperience, inattention, or any other such factor screw up and certify a buy-sell person or operation ..... they blew it.  Big time.  And now the shows have an even MORE difficult time kicking anyone out BECAUSE THEY ARE LES-SLESNIK APPROVED AND CERTIFIED.  Holy cow - a decided turn for the worse.

So much more but for now this is my contribution.  Sad enough any artist or ex-artist or human being feel so empowered as to make this decision for a group of people WITHOUT EVER DISCUSSING IT WITH THOSE VERY PEOPLE WHO WILL BE IMPACTED BY THE CONSEQUENCES.

God, this is such a screwed-up proposal.

PS:  Just a last thought to promoters/directors:  If it is so hard to identify buy-sell through the electronic jury process, is it not reasonable to think a solution might be to implement onsite jurying as it provides a much better option for jurors to go in, see, touch, feel, ask questions?  You cannot escape a electronic-style jury process to some degree, but you can certainly make conscious decisions to minimize its effects.   

Where is the "LIKE" button :-) ... Rather, the "HOLY @^#& I really LIKE this comment!" 

I did an interview with Les yesterday. Here's a link to the interview on my web site:

I'll also be starting a new thread about the interview also..

Larry Berman

Gentelmen and ladies:

Mr Slesnik is forming a group to try to stop buy/sell bait and swich and to improve in many other ways this business we are all part of it. 

You may be invited to join or not. Les decides who will be in this group during the formation time. It is his group, his idea and his calling.

You may be in favor of groups like that or not, it is your prerogative. If you don't like the idea don't apply or ask to be included.

Nobody is forcing this on anybody.

What is of poor judgement is the personal attack on Les.  I took the liberty of copying Warrens idea of cut and paste, thank you Warren, and do my own cut and paste. I'm sure it will educate many bloggers about the person and his accomplishments.



International Grand Award Winner, M.I.L.K. (Moments of Intimacy, Laughter, and Kinship) competition (2000; website,           

Individual Artist Fellowship, State of Florida, 1999          

Cherry Creek Art Festival (Denver, CO): Merit Award, 2006; 2nd place overall, 2004

St. Louis Art Festival: 1st place, 2006, 2005, 2003; 2nd place, 2004         

Kansas City Plaza: Jury Award, 2005; Photography juror, 2004; Juror’s Award, 2003          

Winter Park (FL) Sidewalk Art Festival: Best of Show, 1994; Morse Museum Award, 1999; 1st place, 1998, 1996; 2nd place, 2006, 2005, 2003; 3rd place, 2000; Award of Distinction, 2006; Merit Award, 2004, 1997, 1995, 1993, 1984    

Magic City Arts Festival (Birmingham, AL): Best of Show, 2005, 2004; Spider Martin Award, 2003; Merit Award, 2002

Gasparilla Arts Festival (Tampa, FL): Best of Show, 2001; Award of Distinction,1994; Friends of Library Award, 2002; Merit Award, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997,1996, 1995    

Smoky Hill River Arts Festival (Salina, KS): Best of Show, 2005, 2003; Merit Award, 2004

Artsplosure (Raleigh, NC): Best of Show, 2004; 2nd place, 2003; Honorable Mention, 2005; Award of Distinction, 2006

Ocala (FL) Fine Arts Festival: Best of Show, 2000; Award of Distinction, 2003, 2001, 1997, 1996; Merit Award, 2002, 1999, 1998

International Print Exhibition of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain: Gold Medal (Best of Show), 1996; Silver Medal (2nd place), 1995, 1997

Winter Park Autumn Art Festival: Best of Show, 1995, 1983; Award of Distinction,1994; Merit Award, 1998, 1996

Coconut Grove Arts Festival (Miami, FL): 1st place, 2006, 1999, 1998, 1996; 2nd place, 1997

Beaux Arts (Miami, FL): 1st place, 1999, 2001; Award of Excellence, 2000

Lakefront (Milwaukee, WI); Invitation to Return Award, 2005         

Original Ann Arbor Art Fair: Award of Excellence, 1998     

Maitland (FL) Art Festival: 1st place, 2004, 2002, 2001, 1998, 1997; 2nd place,2003, 2000       

Festival of the Masters (at Disney World, Orlando, FL): 1st place, 2001, 1996, 1994, 1993, 1991, 1990, 1976, 1975; 2nd place, 1999, 1998, 1997; 3rd place, 2002; Merit Award, 2000, 1995, 1992         

Gainesville (FL) Spring Arts Festival: Award of Excellence, 2006, 2005, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998; Award of Merit, 2003

ArtFest (Fort Myers, FL): 2nd place, 2-D, 2005

Great Gulfcoast Art Festival (Pensacola, FL): Award of Merit, 2005; Award of Excellence, 2003

Virginia-Highland Art Festival (Atlanta, GA): Best in Photography, 2006; 2nd place overall, 2005; Honorable Mention, 2004

Mainsail Art Festival (St. Petersburg, FL): Award of Distinction, 2004, 2001; Award of Excellence, 2000; Award of Merit, 2003

Mount Dora (FL) Art Festival: Best in Category, 2005; Award of Excellence, 2003, 2004; Award of Distinction, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1997, 1996, 1995, 1994; Merit Award, 1998

ArtScape (Atlanta, GA): Award of Excellence, 2000, 1999

Deland (FL) Festival of Art: Judge’s Choice (2-D), 2002, 2001; Award of Excellence, 1998, 1995, 1994; Award of Distinction, 1999; Award of Recognition, 2005, 2000; Award of Merit, 1996

Naples (FL) National Art Festival: Award of Distinction, 2003

One-Person Shows:

Crealde School of Art, Winter Park/Orlando, FL (2008)

Dunedin (Florida) Fine Art Center (2008)

Courtland (Kansas) Art Center (2007)           

Watson Gallery at the Stieffel Theatre, Salina, Kansas (2006)           

DeLand Museum of Art, Deland, FL (2002)           

Thomas Center Gallery, Gainesville, FL (2001)         

Appleton Museum, Ocala, FL (1997)       

Tupelo, MS, Museum of Art (1995)       

Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA (1993)     

Ormond Memorial Art Museum, Ormond Beach, FL (1993)          

Brevard Museum, Melbourne, FL (1988)         

Maitland Art Center, Maitland, FL (1985)          

Light Images Gallery, Winter Park, FL (1984)

Valencia Community College, Orlando, FL (1982)

Boris Gallery, Boston, MA (1981)          

Gallery 121, Winter Park, FL (1981)           

Church Street Station Gallery (Council of Arts and Sciences), Orlando, FL (1978)

Group Shows:      

"I Love Your Profile" (12 pieces in 15-person show) (2010) University of Cadiz Galleries (Cadiz, Spain); and Espacio Menusuno (Madrid, Spain)

M.I.L.K. International Exhibition, Vanderbilt Hall, New York, NY (July, 2001; also, London, England; Sydney, Australia; and other venues since 2001)           

Orlando City Hall Biennial Exhibition (w/award, 1994)           

International Print Exhibition of The London Salon of Photography, London, England (1992, 1993, 1994, 1996 w/medal)           

“Photo Review” National Photography Competition (several)           

“Deepening Concerns and New Impulses” (Amerika Haus, Cologne, Germany December, 1992] and Camberwell College of Arts, London, England [January, 1993)           

Savannah College of Art and Design (1992)           

Daytona Beach Community College traveling exhibition (“The Florida Document”) (1998-89)          

Cornell Fine Arts Center at Rollins College, Winter Park, FL (“Eight Florida Photographers”) (1988)          

Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando, FL (several)         

Maitland Art Center, Maitland, FL (several)           

Crealdé School of Art Gallery, Winter Park, FL (several)          

Light Images Gallery, Winter Park, FL (several)           

Annual Juried Southeastern Photography Exhibition at Crealdé School of Art, Winter Park (Orlando), FL (1st place 1994, 1997)          

International Print Exhibition of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain, and its accompanying traveling exhibition (each year since 1991)


Major contributor, “Family: A Celebration of Humanity” (Wm. Morrow, publisher, 2001)

“Friends” (20-piece body of work in 3-person show), Crealdé School of Art Gallery, Winter Park, FL (1993)

Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain, Bath, England (21 pieces, 1993)           

“The Springfield Project: A Town Sees Itself” (project and accompanying exhibition, Savannah College of Art and Design, 1992-93)           

“Trispectives” (16-piece body of work in 3-person show) Seminole Community College, Sanford/Orlando, FL (1989)”


Philadelphia Museum of Art           

City of Orlando, Florida         

Central Florida Community College         

Numerous private and corporate collections in the U.S. and U.K.

Personal Accomplishments:

Work and Process featured in textbook "Making Connections" (ISBN 978-007028159-2) (2011), Chris Bates,, McGraw-Hill Australia          

Featured in "RPS (Royal Photographic Society) Journal" (published in England), February, 2005           

Featured in "PhotoWorld" magazine (published in China), November, 2004          

Work and Process featured in textbook "Photo Portfolio Success" (ISBN 1-58297-210-9) (2003), John Kaplan, Writers Digest Books           

Fellow, Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain since 1993          

Publication of article in “People in Camera” Magazine (published in England) July, 1993           

Established photography program in rural Effingham County, Georgia, High School (spring, 1993)           

Featured in “People in Camera” Magazine (published in England) January, 1993           

Featured in “Amateur Photographer” magazine (published in England) March, 1991, and May, 2001           

Founding member of the Photography Co-Op Group of Central Florida, Inc., and of the Co-Op’s Light Images Gallery in Winter Park (1980).  Also served as its Managing Director, Public Relations and Press Director           

Founded the Students’ Best program and annual competition at Light Images Gallery          

Created the first color darkroom in an art center in Central Florida (at Crealdé School of Art, 1976)           

Major contributor in Family, a celebration of humanity; Publisher Harper Collins/Wm. Morrow, ISBN 0-6-620969-2


Member, Society for Photographic Education, since 1992          

Adjunct professor in photography, University of Central Florida (1998)          

Member, Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain, since 1991           

Member, National Association of Independent Artists, since 1997


I'm not speaking for Les. Just for myself. This reminds me of the mob that attacked Nels for no real reason a few months ago. 

This sometimes appears to be the way to ventilate bad vibes for some artists.

There is not much we artists can do about the buy/sell etc. problem. This is doing something.  

I think it is the best idea because the one I heard the other day is not plausible. 


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