Art Fair Insiders

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

Hi to all,

I am writing this to make all Artists, crafters and vendors aware of agreements/contracts issued by show promoters.  In talking with several other artists, it seems that a lot of them do not really read the fine print.  I can not say strongly enough that you need to read and understand what you are signing.  If you are not sure what it says, ask your lawyer.  It is very important. 


The shows that I am talking about are in the Chicago suburban area, but this could occur anywhere.


I just received the second solicitation from a promoter that I have never heard of before.  The first solicitation to participaate in their show indicated that this is  a first show for them.  (red flag)  Show was going to have over 300 booths.  (red flag).    Cost of booth was between 250 to 700.  (red flag).  Show had an admission fee of $5.00.  (red flag).


Let me explain my impression of the red flags.     A first show;  What is the size of their data base to attract customers to the show?   Over 300 booths;  Filling that many spots with a first show could result in "sponsors" or buy/sellers to fill the spots.  Booth cost of 700.00 for a 10X10 means that these would be corporate or sponsors most likely.  A 5.00 admission could keep a lot of buyers away.  It is unknown if there is a parking fee. 


Then I received another solicitation from this promoter for a remodeling show coming up in a week.  Saying that they had 16 booths available for arts and crafts at the show.  Cost was 200 plus 200 for electric.  ????  Like I am sure that someone going to a home remodeling show is going to buy some art.  LOL


OK that is what has been received from this promoter.  The application and agreement that they want you to sign is included and of course there are no refunds if you dont do the show.   Now let me get to the meat of this blog.  In reading their agreement I noted the following:


Distribution of samples and printed matter of any kind, or any promotional material, or staff associated with your company is restricted to the confines of the exhibit booth. No noise makers or anything not in keeping with the character and high standards of Show Host may be distributed or utilized by an Exhibitor in the exhibit area. Orders only may be taken at the show; no individual sales with exchange of money.  (emphasis added)


I re-read that several times because I could not believe it.  After seeing that on the first solicitation, I wrote via email to the promotor and asked if that was true.    She did respond timely, and answered my questions but said she would have to get back to me on that point.  Now she is the promotor and cant answer this question????    Like I am going to pay $400.00 for a front section booth to pass out brochures.   LOL    In your dreams.  Well as of today, which is 24 hours later, no reply to my selling question.  Then I received the second solicitation for the home remodeling show at Arlington Park and it has the same agreement. 


So if you get an application and agreement from a promoter be sure you read it carefully and fully understand it before agreeing to it.   I know a lot of artists that would be terribly upset to find out that after they stock their booth, they could not sell their product. 


B. David Kruser

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Comment by B. David Kay on October 22, 2012 at 1:16pm

Thanks Kathleen

Comment by Kathleen J. Clausen on October 22, 2012 at 11:04am

I appreciate the alert, David.  I've been guilty of skimming the fine print, especially on line when I'm trying to get the application in and have other things going, too.

Comment by B. David Kay on October 22, 2012 at 10:33am

Oscar, the purpose of my posting was to alert artists to read their agreement.  It was not to point fingers at any one promoter or to vent about the promoter.  The point that I was making was that this one sentence was hidden in the fine print.  I have talked to many Artists and find that a lot of them just glance over an agreement.  My point is that you should read and understand the agreements.  If you want to know the name of this promoter you can certainly contact me off list and we can discuss.   Thanks for your inpuut.


B. David Kay

Comment by Oscar Matos Linares on October 22, 2012 at 10:23am

David, I understand your point but the name of the promoter will good to put up. With out knowing the name of the promoter this really does not help us. It sounds like your are venting.

Comment by Debbie Ditton on October 19, 2012 at 12:43pm

Thanks for all of your feedback!

Comment by Larry Berman on October 19, 2012 at 12:31pm

Hi Debbie,

It's standard that by submitting you agree to the terms. If you want artists to submit a signed paper agreement, you'll rarely get artists to submit an application. Shows use ZAPP for ease of use for both the show and the artists.

Larry Berman

Comment by Debbie Ditton on October 19, 2012 at 12:14pm

The application is online on Zapp and they actually don't "sign it" it just says that by submitting the application they agree. 

Comment by Connie Mettler on October 19, 2012 at 11:46am

I'm assuming they are signing the application and agreeing there. To my mind that should be sufficient.

Comment by Debbie Ditton on October 18, 2012 at 1:00pm

It actually has the Hold Harmless agreement on the initial information and says that by submitting the application they are agreeing to the terms of the agreement.  The actual paper one is a redundancy. I personally think that it needs to be signed as they accept admittance into the fair, even if it is already in the application materials, but I realize that adds a step and a stamp... thoughts?

Comment by Steve Cebula on October 18, 2012 at 11:58am


Does the online information state that accepted artists will be required to sign the hold harmless agreement at check in? If so, does it further state any actions for failure to do so? Just a few thoughts to avoid a messy scene at check in.

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