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"The Independent Artist"
Issue IV, October 2008


Recently one of our members, Louise Norrell of Athens, Georgia, wrote in and asked, Is there a connection between the NAIA and Zapp? I was doing a show this weekend and one of the other artists said that Zapplication was started by the NAIA.

Dear Louise,

I am glad that you took the time to ask and clarify this information. Misinformation and rumor is not good for anyone.

No, the NAIA did NOT start Zapplication. Zapplication is owned and run by WESTAF which is an arts consortium: http://www.westaf.org/about.php. WESTAF had the idea and saw a need for a digital application process for art shows. They were already doing something very similar with state arts grants with much success. With the digital camera revolution it looked like regular photographic slide film may be a thing of the past, slide projector companies were stopping making the projectors, and a digital system made sense for the art shows so it could be integrated with their database. WESTAF is located in Denver and Bill Charne, who used to be the director of the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, suggested that WESTAF contact the NAIA for input into the system they were planning for applying to art shows.

WESTAF did contact the NAIA to get our feedback into the Zapplication system. The NAIA board at the time (I was on the board) and Larry Oliverson, who was the NAIA Executive Director at the time, spent many hours giving our feedback on the feasibility and the mechanics of their system. This went on for over a year. WESTAF took many of our suggestions, but not all. The NAIA board felt that it was important to be involved at the beginning of this process so that we could, hopefully, have some influence into how it would work. We knew that Zapplication was going to happen whether or not we gave our input. We chose to give our input. WESTAF continues to have a board of advisors and the NAIA strongly advocated to have some artists on that boardwhich they do.

At the end of the consultation period, WESTAF asked the NAIA if we would like to invest in the project and get a percentage of the profits (if there were any). The board voted to decline the offer as we felt it was a conflict of interest to advocate one system over another. The NAIA board felt that the role of the NAIA should be to educate artists about digital jurying and try to ease them into the process as much as possible. This is why for about two years we held Zapplication digital workshops for free wherever we could. The NAIA purchased the special projectors for this educational purpose at some expense. Obviously, with our limited expenses and volunteer manpower we could not reach everyone.

I hope this answers your questions and clears up some of the misinformation about the relationship between Zapplication and the NAIA. Please feel free to send this information to the artist you spoke with and anyone else whom you think would be interested. Please feel free to call me if you would like to discuss this on the phone.

Warmest regards,

Cynthia Davis
NAIA Membership Committee Co-Chair


You can join NAIA
on-line at:




NAIA Advocacies

The mission of the National Association of Independent Artists is to strengthen, improve and promote the artistic, professional and economic success of artists who exhibit in art shows. We are committed to integrity, creativity, and the pursuit of excellence and we advocate for the highest ideals and practices within all aspects of the art show environment.

The purpose of these documents is to raise the awareness of those aspects of art shows that directly affect artists and to open a dialogue among show directors and artists in order that we may work together to improve art shows. NAIA is dedicated to advocating from the artists perspective while recognizing the interdependence existing among us all.

In 1995, NAIA was founded by a group of dedicated artists who believed it was time for artists to join and speak with a collective voice. At that time, there were several key issues for which NAIA chose to advocate. They were listed on the NAIA website as goals and initiatives, and served to guide NAIA in its endeavors. We recently completed a yearlong strategic planning. We have identified through surveys of both our membership and the larger group of art show artists, the desire that we strengthen our advocacy efforts.

NAIA is certain that art fairs and their directors recognize the profound importance and value of the artists point of view. NAIA recognizes that art shows have unique and important positions that deserve the same kind of consideration as the artists.

NAIA believes that by considering the perspectives of both the show and the artists and by learning the requirements for the success of each, that we will grow, prosper, and preserve the uniqueness of art shows. Many of us, shows and artists alike, have been involved in providing the public with an opportunity to view art, meet artists, and purchase art for over 35 years. We believe we all should do everything within our powers to continue this unique American phenomenon for generations to come.

NAIA accepts your help in assuming this responsibility. Our interdependence in this endeavor is indisputable.

Artist Advisors

The NAIA urges all shows to develop an Artist Advisory Committee of artists who participate in art shows to consult on all aspects of the shows policies.

Application Process Advocacies


NAIA urges shows to create a concise but clear prospectus.
It should include an explanation of the jury process and spaces available.
It should not request Social Security numbers.

Jury Process

The NAIA advocates for a knowledgeable jury panel and a full disclosure of the jury process and practices.

Image Formatting & Viewing

The NAIA advocates that all shows adopt a standard method for marking slides to enable artists use of a slide for more than one application, rather than repeatedly re-labeling slides for each show to which they apply.
For any show that chooses to use digital images for jury submission, the NAIA advocates that the show adopt a standard digital image format, to avoid constant re-formatting of jury images and multiple uploads.
NAIA also advocates that shows adopt a standard method for viewing the images so artists can prepare their images correctly for the exact viewing conditions and thus be assured their images are viewed properly.

Cancellations & Refunds

The NAIA advocates that all shows establish a reasonable period of time during which accepted artists may cancel and receive a booth fee refund. Engaging in the application process should be considered only a commitment to jury; not a commitment to show.

Wait List

The NAIA urges art showsto adopt a clear wait list policy, and state plainly the method by which wait listed artists will be informed of openings in the show.
Hardship Cancellation
The NAIA advocates that art festivals adopt a policy that addresses artist cancellations due to an emergency or unusual hardship, with clear guidelines for receiving a full or partial refund of fees.

Operational Process Advocacies


NAIA advocates that 24-hour security be provided at the show site, and to and from parking areas, from the beginning of load-in to the end of load-out.


NAIA advocates that a systemized process for load-in and load-out be implemented.

Booth Space

NAIA advocates for a minimum 12 x 12 booth space for each artist that is free from obstruction and easily accessible in patrons traffic flow.


NAIA advocates that free or reasonably priced easily accessible parking be provided for artists vehicles throughout the duration of the show.

ADA Accommodations

The NAIA urges all shows to be aware of the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act as it may pertain to accessibility by artists and patrons with disabilities. Further, the NAIA advocates that all shows make such reasonable accommodations as will permit artists with disabilities to participate as exhibitors in the show.

Procedural Advocacies


The NAIA encourages shows to require accepted artists to appear in person for the entire show. The NAIA advocates that proxies at shows be prohibited except in the most extenuating of circumstances.

Rule Enforcement

The NAIA advocates that an art shows rules for artists be clear and readily accessible. A shows stature will be enhanced by fairly and consistently applying the rules.


The NAIA reminds shows that artists hold copyrights on their images. Shows should be aware that the use of artists images beyond any permission specifically granted by the artist is subject to the copyright laws of the United States.


The NAIA encourages shows to develop fair and equitable grievance procedures through which artists can voice their complaints without retribution.

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