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We just had an interesting email from the Cape Coral Festival of the Arts. in Cape Coral, Florida.

Here it is


Tue, January 4, 2011 8:19:45 AM

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  We have received your cancellation on behalf of Amanda Hering-we're sorry to hear she won't be exhibiting this year, but we hope to see her back in a future show.
Unfortunately, once an artist has been accepted to the show, there is no refund of booth fee or jury fee.  This has been our policy since the beginning of the show, and is in our application as well.  I realize this isn't the answer you had expected to hear, and I'm sorry I can't give you a different decision.

Kris Jacobsen
Cape Coral Festival of the Arts
Artist Registration
Here is my reply:
Thanks for the email.  I am very sorry to hear about your policy.
We are aware of the usual policy of shows not to refund jury fees; that's normal and expected.  But we were unaware of your policy of not refunding the show fee; perhaps I should have read the application more carefully.    I thought that informing you of our decision not to attend this year two months ago would give you sufficient advance notice to refund the booth fee.
I will review your decision with Amanda this evening.  This will probably impact on our decision to apply to the Cape Coral show in the future.  Most shows accept the jury fee, but  don't charge  the show fee until an artist decides to attend after being accepted. 
We enjoyed participating at Cape Coral for three years in a row and only our decision to attend the Beaux Arts show in Miami prevented our attending again.  
I will be copying your email and this reply into a blog in Art Fair Insiders, and will consider a letter to Sunshine Artist magazine.  I think the art fair community should be aware of your policy so that other artists are more careful about applying with you in the future.
We're used to paying the jury fee, and then the booth fee once accepted.  Cape Coral is an exception and asks for the two fees at the same time in their application.  I won't make that mistake again, and suggest that if you are considering the Cape Coral show in the future you take this into account.  Your Booth fee will NOT be refunded by the Cape Coral people. 
The show's a good show, despite their policy.   But my guess is that policies like this are one reason why the community is the foreclosure capital of Florida.
I emailed them back and informed them that I would be posting this (and sending a letter to Sunshine artist).  My guess is I won't hear from them again.  But if I do, and if they decide to do the right thing and refund our hard earned $185, I'll do the same and make sure we all know about this.

Views: 192

Comment by Jim Parker on January 4, 2011 at 8:19pm
I had the same issue with Under the Oaks in Vero Beach a couple years ago. They cashed my check before the acceptance letter went out, by about ten days! I asked for a refund, since I'd committed to another show 1500 miles away. Several letters were exchanged, and in the end they told me that their lawyers said they were not obligated to turn the money.

In the end this is a policy that is largely going away with the advent of Zapp. UTO still asks for checks up front, but uses JASV for their online entry platform. As long as you are willing to accept the risk that you may be out a booth fee if you cancel, go ahead and apply. UTO can be a very good show sales wise, so it may be worth it.
Comment by Larry Hering on January 4, 2011 at 9:04pm
hmmm.  maybe we should set up a database of shows which have a no refund policy and which require payment with jury fee so that people will be properly... notified.
Comment by geri a. wegner on January 4, 2011 at 9:13pm

So they take your money before you have been accepted, expect you to wait around and not apply to any other festival that weekend, and if they want you, all is good but if you don't want them, you are screwed?  

I understand that putting on an art festival costs money but to so blatantly stack the deck in their favor doesn't seem fair.

See you at Beaux Arts.  It is early in the week but the weather should cooperate this year.

Comment by Jim Parker on January 4, 2011 at 9:23pm
To add insult to injury, Under the Oaks is run by artists -- the Vero Beach Art Club. It's a nicely run show, but the cash up front policy is archaic. I sure do wish they'd change it.
Comment by Larry Berman on January 4, 2011 at 9:51pm

Magic City required the booth fee up front so I called them to tell them why I wasn't going to apply.

Shows that require the booth fee in advance or have no refund policy need to be told why they're not getting your application.


Then there's the no refund for an emergency medical situation. Bruce Museum refused to refund my booth fee a month before the show when I had to have colon cancer surgery and canceled the rest of my shows for the year.


Larry Berman
Digital Jury Services

Comment by Larry Hering on January 4, 2011 at 11:59pm

time to fire up the excel program.  I'll do it tomorrow and anyone who wants to can list a show that requires the booth fee in advance and doesn't refund.  Connie, if you're out there where can we post this?


You'd think that for a legitimate medical emergency somebody would have a heart and make an exception.  I can understand a no refund policy once you accept.  Shows don't organize themselves and the promotors have expenses.  But give me a break.


I hope the colon cancer's in remission.  My brother has  (had) it, lost his whole large intestine about four years ago, but now seems to be (other than the bag) healthy and works full time again.

Comment by Diane Wright on January 5, 2011 at 12:35am
I was working on Apps today and it sounds to me that the same situation applies to Anne Marie Gardens in Maryland.  It seems to say that once you are accepted there is no refund - I guess they expect it to be your first choice.  I am hesitant to apply.  The Chautauqua show requires money upfront as does The People's Choice in Boalsburg, Pa. People can say what they will about Zapp but you don't have to pay upfront and that is important. 
Comment by Robert Leuallen on January 5, 2011 at 1:22am
A further sense of injustice is that most shows have waiting lists, call up a replacement and double their money.
Comment by Larry Berman on January 5, 2011 at 4:41am

Hi Diane, It's not that they expect it to be your first choice. It's that they have no clue that there are shows other than their's and don't understand that artists do this full time to earn a living.


And to Larry, thanks for asking. Yes it's totally cured through surgery. I've written on all the forums and in my newsletter about the importance of getting a colonoscopy:


 Larry Berman
Digital Jury Services

Comment by Ruth Jellema on January 5, 2011 at 8:54am
Even worse: there are still shows out there that ask for a single check and cash it immediately.  Then  a couple of months later, if you are rejected, you receive a refund check.  The system has been absolutely weighted in favor of the shows and against the artist.  Thank goodness for ZAPP because it has mostly changed this.


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