Art Fair Insiders

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

Shows have been reaching out to us and refunding booth fees.  Thank you, but that's our money.  If you're anything like me, your main concern is about future shows when things begin to get back to normal, say in August or September and beyond.

My biggest artist expense right now is jury fees!  Some shows are deferring deadlines and/or jury fees, but still want their "cash cows" ponying up!  Why not roll the clock back and lower or get rid of them?

When I started doing shows in 1981, there was no such thing as a jury fee.  Then as time went by, I remember a $5 jury fee.  Then the flood gate opened and it has never stopped.  Can anyone really justify a $50 fee just to see if you can beat-out two or three hundred other artists in your category?  And then, often finding out you failed?  At that point, it is just lost money and no longer "seed money".

Having just filed my 2019 tax return, I can report that I did 40 shows and spent $2,200 just on jury fees.

If the shows really want to help us, what do you think the first step could be?

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Comment by Richard L. Sherer on April 24, 2020 at 12:20pm

I was out about $105 for jury fees for summer art shows in Colorado resort areas, Either I or they have canceled all. One booth fee paid refunded, other will be applied to 2021. Housing deposits of about $2K fully refunded without cancellation fees as I am repeat client. I don't begrudge the jury fees as most shows are produced by local arts organizations or outfits like Rotary. Studio business is OK, orders coming in, and clients paying for completed work. If it holds steady, I will donate to show organizations that canceled. 

Comment by Judy Christian on April 24, 2020 at 11:22am

Some of the shows that I have had cancel, are automatically putting us on for 2021 without going through the jurying for next year. Which should mean (I hope!) that we don't have to pay a 2021 jury fee. That feels fair to me.

Comment by Ron Mellott on April 23, 2020 at 4:38pm

Good point, Mr. Fulwiler!  

Since jury fees are non-refundable and not being refunded, and arguably for many shows in excess of what is needed to actually jury the event, seems at least a part of jury fees could be refunded given what has happened.  How wounded so many of us artists are.  Yes, shows have expenses and need money to survive.  I think what you are saying is that anything that CAN be returned from a jury fee, seems the 'right thing to do' is sto refund it.  That's what us all being 'family' is about.  Helping one another out.

Does make it difficult going forward to pay out hundreds more when there is such uncertainty in the future of what shows will happen and that is money we will unlikely see back.  Maybe upcoming shows could do the jury process with - as you say - a $10 jury fee to cover expenses.  Would buy a lot of good will going forward with such shows and show directors.

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