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"The Independent Artist"
Issue IV, October 2008

The Independent Artist is a publication of the National Association of Independent Artists (NAIA).

NAIA was formed following dialogue that began at the Old Town Art Fair in Chicago in June of 1995. The groups purpose is to enhance the economic well-being of people who exhibit their work at quality outdoor and indoor art and/or fine craft shows, encourage creative expression and artistic excellence, and expand public awareness, appreciation and acquisition of fine art and fine craft.

The NAIA actively works to be a valuable resource for not only artists, but also the organizers and directors of art shows.

To learn more, visit our website:

Many thanks to the artists, collectors, merchants, service providers, and other professionals who generously took time to write articles for inclusion in this publication.

To advertise in future issues of The Independent Artist, contact:

This publication was edited, designed, and produced by Sara Corkery, NAIA Communications Director.

To submit articles, letters to theeditor, or ideas for future issues of The Independent Artist, phone 630.244.9406 or

You can join NAIA today.

See page 8 for more information about how NAIA serves as a collective voice for the art show artist.


Hello, Artists and Directors

Welcome to the fourth issue of The Independent Artist newspaper, produced by NAIA. We are very proud of the fabulous success of each issue and hope you will enjoy this one just as much!

What does NAIA do, you ask?

The NAIA is the only organization working for artists who participate in art and craft shows as part of their business. Responding to our members needs and problems, the NAIA leadership works to improve art shows for artists, show producers and even buyers and communities. As you know, our art festival industry has experienced several challenging years due to the poor economy. We need to work together to prevent the Great American Phenomenon of Art and Craft Shows from disappearingor devolving into carnival events with little or no connection to art. Therefore, we all need to work cooperatively, in unison. Artists need shows and shows need artists. Together we can keep these celebrations and markets of art alive and thriving.

How does NAIA work toward this goal?

Here are several ways:

Our Member Forum keeps artists connected between shows. We ask questions of each other such as about shows we are considering applying for, the best hotel deals or how load-in really works at a particular show, technical media questions, credit card processing, booth lighting batteries and much, much more. This is a fabulous resource which includes eight years of archived discussions on our member forums. Of course, because we are a population of independent creative people, new discussions are started all the time.

We produce a Director Conference nearly every year where professionals come together to share viewpoints, share solutions to problems in producing shows, share safety information, and more. Our last conference featured Bruce Erley, an expert in sponsorship of events. Bruce showed directors how to find more financial support and more appropriate advertisers for their events, which saves artists money by keeping jury and booth fees low. We advocate artist needs through the Director Conferences, monthly newsletters, and direct communication with show directors all across the nation.

We represent individual member artists to resolve policy or procedure problems with an individual show that are contrary to the NAIA Advocacies. The member artist can choose to remain anonymous in this work through our NAIA Action Line.

And we produce this fine newspaper which brings to you articles on important issues of interest to festival artists and directors.

Of course we have the NAIA website which is overflowing with useful information on all sorts of topics such as: health care options for artists, digital imaging, a complete list of art industry suppliers, and more. However, it needs to be redesigned and updated. Soon we will start a capital campaign to raise funds for a new website.

Another item we continue to work on is our Advocacy Response Project. This is a system set up on the website, accessible for all, where directors can show prospective artist applicants how artist friendly their shows are. They communicate this by listing each of the NAIA Advocacies they have adopted or embraced, such as a fair show layout without dead spaces or respecting artists copyrights in every promotional use of artist images.

Shows are not ranked by any criteria. There is room for the show to comment on each Advocacy and note reasons why they are prevented from adopting any of them. For instance, some shows cannot allow day-before-set-up because of their local governing agencies, ordinances, or merchant groups. The Advocacy Response Project can be an extremely valuable resource for artists as they choose which shows to apply for.

Sally J. Bright

Artists have benefited during the past 13 years as NAIA has instigated major changes in the art/craft world. A few examples:
standardized slide labelingthe famous red dot
standardized digital formatting
most major shows no longer require your space fee sent in with your application
most major shows use a waitlist
security is better
most major shows have day-before set-up

So far, only a few shows have shown their support for artists by filling out the form. We hope to increase that number as time goes by. To view the project go here and click on the left column links.

Other things that the NAIA is working toward are:
- Fundraising, to keep NAIA dues low.
- Keeping the festival industry a strong, viable way for artists to sell their work and make a living.

We are trying to develop a valid system in which the membership of NAIA votes for the Board Members. This has been a goal of the NAIA board for several years. It is not something that can be set up in a week as there are questions to answer and research to complete to set up the best and most cost effective system to accomplish this vote across the country. Frankly, we have run out of resources to finish the task his year. It is absolutely critical to do this next year, so we are looking for 2009 board members passionate about getting the best system launched.

NAIA is not out to make all shows the same.

We simply want a fair chance to compete for spaces, standardization of some aspects of this competition (such as slide labeling or digital requirements), equal visibility for all spaces in a show and a civil, dignified atmosphere in which we can transact business.

Come join us! Support the work of NAIA.

To do more, we need more resources. More volunteers, more money and more members. Help the organization that has worked for these changes continue to help shows make more improvements. Youll find all the information you need on page 8 of this newspaper.

I invite you to be part of the solutions.

Thank you,

, NAIA Board Chair
Sally J. Bright


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