Craft Shows & The Jurying Process

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I recently received this e-mail from a subscriber to my noozle. The issues she touches on have been debated as long as art fairs and craft shows have existed. We all get paranoid sometimes, sure that one event or another has “blacklisted” us.

I remember one fine sculptor (I refuse to mention names, but you know who you are) years ago who added a $30.00 item to his booth (for a little cash flow) who was sure, for quite some time, that every time he didn’t get accepted into an art fair it was because the committee knew about his low-end product.

Here is Nancy’s message. I would welcome any comments, as I am sure she would also:

Hi Constance,

We have received your messages for awhile. We would like to find out about shows that are looking for artists who design and handcraft jewelry. My husband has been doing this for almost 40 years. We are finding it very difficult to get into the better craft shows because they always have the same people year after year.

There seems to be no room for someone other than their usual people. What is a real con is that they charge money to be juried into their shows when they already know that most of the spaces will be filled with their regular people. To be fair they should return the jury fees to potential artists when they already know that those areas are already filled and they already know this. By collecting this extra money from the artists who are applying in good faith, these vendors are not jurying in good faith.

Most artists can’t afford to constantly have to pay this extra fee especially when there is little likelyhood that they will be juried into these shows. Why don’t you bring this fact up to the people that tell you about their shows and get an honest response from them.

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