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
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.