Archive for November, 2007

Michigan Fairs & Festivals Producers – Your Help is Needed

November 28, 2007

Arts, Beats & Eats

Although Michigan’s cultural sector is a key economic driver, it currently lacks a scientific-based method for measuring and reporting data related to its market. To address this issue, the Michigan Department of History, Arts and Libraries and MSU are developing a Cultural Economic Development Tool, CEDOT.

An important part of this tool is recruiting online panels of voluntary respondents representing various segments of Michigan’s cultural sector. If you are a festival or fair producer you are invited to become a panelist. You will be contacted periodically with online surveys requesting data that will be helpful in analyzing this sector’s impact.

The first step is to register (one per festival or event) so that you will be sent the survey(s) as they are developed. The initial information should take only a few minutes to fill out. The surveys will be emailed to you periodically and may be specific to some of the information you provided for the panel registration.

You can get involved by signing up to the new Fair and Festival Producers Panel at:

Please forward this to anyone you know producing festivals or events in Michigan!

Questions? Contact Carol at


Art Fair Feedback: Zapp

November 26, 2007

Krasl Art Fair in St. Joe, MI

Dear Connie,

As of this email we have currently participated in 47 shows for the year with 3 more remaining. Then we will be exhibiting out west for the winter months and our schedule will start again. We travel quite extensively to shows throughout the US and have met many artists during our travels.

We are not hearing positive things about the new ZAPP application process. We have heard it described as an enormous money maker!

Supposedly, shows are now receiving thousands of applications at say $35.00 to $50.00 per jury process, while the show you might be applying to are only accepting several hundreds of exhibitors.

Artist friends that we know have been rejected from shows they have done for years. For the promoter, this is a good thing having new people with new product. But what happens to the attendees when they attend the shows looking for their favorite artist and they are no longer there? How many jury fees can an artist endure without acceptance? And what about the commitment while the shows itself was growing?

In your forum have you had any contact or comments with artist regarding the ZAPP process? At this time we are going to suspend applying thru Zapp until we hear further on this issue.

Thank you for your time.

Doris A. Guffey

Jody dePew McLeaneHello Doris,

Thank you for contacting me. Zapp has caused a good deal of consternation in the artist community. Here is some further information about your concerns:

First, about Zapp being a moneymaker for organizations: Zapp is only indirectly a moneymaker for art fairs. It is expensive for an art fair to become part of the system, ranging in cost from $3000 to $8000 depending on the options selected and the number of applicants a show receives.

The system is very attractive to an art fair, not as a moneymaking venture, but because

  • it simplifies tedious office procedures such as building and maintaining a mailing list
  • printing and mailing of applications
  • data input
  • handling thousands of slides into and then out of the carousels
  • enabling art fairs to maintain electronic communications with prospective exhibitors

This, in itself, often justifies the expense for the shows. In addition, the number of artists registered with Zapp is very large, probably the largest database of exhibiting artists in the country. This enables them to reach out to all of these interested parties with an easy to fill out application. It gives the art fairs access to many, many artists who will apply because it is so easy and just one more application is only $20-$50, very easy for an artist to justify for the chance to be seen by the jury.

This means that often an art fair will receive more applications than they had under the old system, which does equal more income from jury fees, which then helps pay the Zapp bill. I attended one mid-level show’s jurying last winter. The previous year they had received approximately 200 applications. This year they received around 300 applications. The increase in applications offset the costs of using Zapp and they also saved money because they did not have all the other jurying expenses I listed above.

What does this mean for you? Yes, there are more applicants for some art fairs which means more competition.

I’ve been in this business for a long time. In the early days if you had pretty good work it wasn’t too hard to get into almost all the shows you applied to and we would see our friends at most shows. We all knew (word of mouth) where the best shows were.

Then Sunshine Artist appeared with its top show ratings, followed shortly by Greg Lawler’s ArtFairSourceBook. These publications allowed anyone who subscribed to have access to information that we had been trading behind the booth for some time. Suddenly shows were harder to get into, everyone knew where the top shows were and everyone seemed to apply to the top twenty or so. Competition skyrocketed!

Enter Zapp–now you see the previous magnified and everyone is trying to learn this new system that requires new skills to get into the best shows.

I will answer your other questions in another blog entry. I hope this was helpful.



Mail Art Show – Call for Work

November 25, 2007

My thanks to Al Cohen who posted the following information on his blog, House Press.

The making of mail as art, “mail art” has a history stretching back at least to the 1950s. Mail art has in the past rooted in a rejection of the commerce and exclusivity of the gallery show. The making of mail art, “mail-art” continues to be a common practice in an age dominated by electronic communication. This exhibition will continue to break down the division between the mailbox and the gallery.

To that end, Niagara County Community College Art Gallery is seeking submissions for an upcoming exhibition, aiming to display the myriad manifestations of mail art. Artists working in all media are encouraged to participate. The topic and content of each piece is solely the choice of the artist.

Artists are asked to produce one piece of mail art and send it to guest curator Becky Moda. Your work will be displayed in a cataloged group exhibition in the Spring. After the exhibition closes, each participating artist will receive via mail the work of another artist. “Senders receive,” as mail artists say.

The mail art movement is uniquely populist and non-commercial, involving non-traditional distribution methods and the potential for global reach. Let’s breathe new life into this fascinating movement, which predated and in some ways predicted the artist networking boom enabled by the internet.

It is asked that the artists adhere to the following guidelines:

1. Please send one piece of mail art to: Mail Art, NCCC Gallery, Niagara County Community College, 3111 Saunders Settlement Road, Sanborn, New York 14132-9460 by February 14, 2008.

2. The mail art can take any shape, in two or three dimensions. Pieces can expand when opened, but must be easily re-mailed for less than five dollars.

Email any questions to

Where Have All the Photographers Gone?

November 25, 2007

Bill Coleman

In the art fair business there are two categories that are always bursting with more applicants than the art fairs have room for. Those categories are jewelry and photography.

The good news for photographers is that the competition is lessening because five of the top photographers in the business have retired from the art fairs. The bad news is for the customers who passed on adding this work to their collections. A listing below with some web sites to help you out:

  1. Jill Bedford – known for her ethereal flower images is now doing native landscaping, horticultural work for the Nature Conservancy and studying massage
  2. Rick (Gordon) Bruno – co owner of the Lexington (VA) Art Gallery of Contemporary Photography, doing new work
  3. Bill Coleman – popular photographer of the Amish, no longer doing art fairs but maintains an active web business
  4. Norm Darwish– retired from photography but maintains a website of older images
  5. Lenny Lyons-Bruno – co owner of the Lexington (VA) Art Gallery of Contemporary Photography, painting as well as photography.

Call for Artists: Michigan City in August

November 24, 2007

jeweler at art fairAugust 16 & 17
Lakefront Art Festival

Washington Park
Michigan City, IN

Sponsored by the Lubeznik Center for the Arts

Where is Michigan City? Visit this link at

Why this should be of interest to you:

  • small town art fair in the heart of vacation country
  • a weekend get away place for Chicagoans
  • sponsored by an art center
  • an art purchase program
  • volunteers who understand artists’ needs
  • very reasonable booth fee

These days there is a lot of talk among artists about keeping their overhead down. One of the best ways is to exhibit at local events and the Lakefront Art Festival is in the heart of where a lot of artists live.

Expect a $125 booth fee and a $20 jury fee. When we are all talking about events that seem to forget the artists this is a small show that “gets it”. All of us need smaller shows to keep us going between the big ones. The Lakefront Art Festival could be one of those secret ones that everyone can appreciate.

Advertising will include press coverage, ads, and billboards throughout the area and through LaPorte County Convention & Visitors Bureau. For more information and to download an application click on this link:

Traveling & Need a Good Art Fair?

November 23, 2007

Time to begin your holiday shopping? When Christmas shopping is a bore because all the stores look the same that is the time to visit one of these events where you will find fine art and craft NOT available at a mall near you. Do it with a friend. Surely sounds like fun to me!

November 24 & 25
and again on December 1 & 2
Celebration of Craftswomen
Fort Mason Center
San Francisco, CA
150 Artists

For more info:

November 30-December 2
Tempe Festival of the Arts
Tempe, AZ
400 Artists
For info:

November 30-December 2
8th Annual Holiday Show
Manual Lujan Building at the EXPO New Mexico Fairgrounds
Santa Fe, NM
200 Exhibitors
For more info:

December 1 & 2
Thieves Market
University Of Iowa Memorial Union
Iowa City, IA
10:00am thru 5:00pm each day
A nice mix of fine art and fine craft, with artists from every upper Midwestern state represented
For more info:

December 1 & 2
Tide Fest
Gig Harbor High School
Gig Harbor, WA
200 Exhibitors
For more info:

Out & About Norfolk – a Plein Air “Paint Out”

November 19, 2007

Art Lovers – Mark your Calendars!
November 30th and December 1st

hosted by the Studios at Monticello in Norfolk, VA

Fifty ARTISTS will be setting up their easels and painting all around town on November 30. Check the Studios at Monticello website on the days of the Paint Out for the artists’ locations. Come by and watch their paintings come to life!

Artists will be finishing up their paintings by 3 pm on Saturday and delivering their framed work to the Studios at Monticello where the art will be hung and an Opening Reception will be held.

Artists will be competing for over $4000 in awards and the paintings will be offered for SALE! Work will be priced starting at $100. You are invited to come to the studios and COLLECT ORIGINAL “Norfolk” ART!

Wet Painting Exhibition & Sale starts at 6 pm on Saturday, December 1st at the Studios at Monticello in the Historic Monticello Arcade, 208 East Plume Street / 211 City Hall Avenue.

Parking is on the street and in the South Lot of the MacArthur Mall, or in the Main Street Garage.

For more info: Karen Kinser 757 286 6210;

Kids Recyling/Creating Art from Scrap

November 19, 2007

Stuck with the problem of entertaining kids in the next couple of weeks? Children getting restless in the classroom as the holidays loom? Then you need to read this article from the Olympia Dumpster Divers blog.

rubyreusableAs the recycling crusade continues to evolve children are listening and becoming champions of the movement. This story about an artist-in-residence who enables this awareness in them is a good case in point of leading by example.

The artist, dumpster diving diva, Diane Kurzyna (Make Art, Not Waste), met with 3rd and 4th grade students and together they created self portraits and historic figures out of trash. Read more here.

Call for Entries: Grand Rapids in March

November 18, 2007

March 1 & 2
Fine Art at DeVos Place

Grand Rapids, MI
Sponsored by the Michigan Floral Assn.
Saturday 10 am to 6 pm; Sunday 11 am to 6 pm
75 Artists
Deadline: December 15

This is an opportunity to be part of a hugely popular event in Grand Rapids, the Home and Garden Show, that is held in a brand new state of the art convention center. The show is celebrating its 29th year (third year at this location) and brings over 50,000 visitors each year who are interested in home, garden and landscaping.

Fine Art at DeVos Place is being organized by veteran art fair organizer, Donna Beaubien. Here are her credentials:

  • Founder and Artist Chair for the Fine Art Fair in Birmingham, MI, for 17 years
  • Founder and producer of Fine Art at the Village in Rochester Hills, MI
  • Additional events which she either co-chaired or produced: Fine Art at Meadowbrook, Greektown Arts Festival, Chaldean Festival
  • Chair of the Michigan Guild’s Art Fair Committee for many years
  • Art fair artist specializing in watercolor and handmade paper for over 20 years

You can see from this background (and, I’m sure there are some omissions) that Donna is firmly grounded in the art fair business, both as an artist and as an organizer at many levels. Both of these events are very low priced. Donna knows the current economic climate in Michigan and wants you to succeed.

What does this mean to you?

  • good cross promotion – meet people who might never attend an art show
  • a buying crowd who is interested in improving their homes
  • Grand Rapids has a large population with no access to a fine art show
  • The dates are terrific for snowbound artists

What else?

Fees: very economical for an indoor event: $15 application fee; 10 x 10 – $265; 10 x 20 – $500

Advertising: on websites of Michigan Floral Assn., Home and Garden Show, DeVos Center and special ads from the art show.

The audience will pay one admission charge and will have access to three events: The Home Show, The Michigan Floral Show and the Fine Art Show. The art show will be listed as a separate entity in all the advertising and the organizers expect it to bring a new audience to the other events.

Sign me up! Applications available at: or call Donna at 248-689-8734.

An Interactive Art Project For You

November 18, 2007

Peace by PieceFlorida artists Kiaralinda and Todd, “The Whimzey Twins” produce unique 3-D work made from plastic and aluminum wire, for fun and profit. Their home and car leave no doubt in your mind that these two are devoted to whimsical creation.

They have just returned from a trip to Myanmar and neighboring countries and felt a need to create their second interactive art house project for Christmas. Their website has instructions on how you can participate in their plan for wrapping their house in prayer flags. This one will be called Peace on Earth: Peace by Piece.

If you are a teacher or work with children, this could be a great project to do with them. Work on this with your friends, family, any group you can bring together. The directions are very simple and an easy way for you to raise awareness for this international message.

Visit their website for information on how you can participate. Spread the word about this project with anyone you can!