home resources "The Independent Artist" page 12

"The Independent Artist"
Issue V, April 2009

Page 12

Karla Prickett, continued from page 11 ....

learn about the art, or get a signature. The program is amazing and is a means of educating our art patrons of the future!

What is your proudest accomplishment for the Smoky Hill River Festival?

I am most excited about implementation of the knowledge I have acquired through networking with artists and show directors, contributing and participating in NAIA Conferences, and visiting other events. As an artist, I look first from artists perspectives and apply that thoughtfully to the administrative and business side of directing the shows. I am most proud of maintaining a level of quality, organization, and presentation comparative to that of most metropolitan shows in the country. My goal is to provide professional show administration and follow my genuine passion for supporting artists, their creativity, and their livelihood. I am proud of the Festivals national recognition and increasing sales through the very successful Art Patron Program.

What is the most challenging aspect of mounting the show?

There are four challenges I see as most important to maintaining a great show: selection of jurors; selecting the show; show layout; and retaining a national presence.

Jurors are selected with expertise in working with specific medium. A panel of four jurors is compoed of a 2-D artist, a ceramist, a metal smith, and a digital/photography artist. Artists images are projected to jurors non-categorically, shifting from 2-D medium to 3-D medium, so that criteria and attention are focused on each applicants images non-comparitively.

The selection of show exhibitors is based on scores from the jury process. Scores determine both acceptance and wait-list status. Each category represents the highest scoring and

quality with attention to variety of expression within the medium.

Layout is important to artists, but also from the perspective of those attending. I purposefully provide a layout that will encourage patrons to walk the entire show experiencing a different medium from booth to booth. It offers interest and discovery on the part of the viewer and does not place any two exhibitors side by side within a like category. Booths are never side by side, sometimes back to back, but always have at least six feet of space on either side to allow presentation from three sides.

Maintaining an active database for application solicitation requires a constant effort in editing mailing lists. Ensuring that show listings are both online and in all resource publications is essential for maintaining national visibility. Getting out to shows, meeting artists, and seeing work all contribute to maintaining a fresh and vibrant venue.

What is the most important amenity any art fair can offer to the artists?

A consistently well-juried and well-run show presented to the highest standards in the profession along with concentrated efforts to build and maintain a vital patron base.

Is there something you wish that artists understood better about producing an art fair?

All shows are presented unique to the mission and goals of the organizations and communities who sponsor them. Shows are directed by individuals from a variety of backgrounds and experience . . . some from the field of art, some from marketing, some from merchandising, etc. What works well in one location may not fit another. A network for communicating standards and practices and sharing administrative applications serves to bring consistency to the core priorities and concerns of both artists and administrators. The NAIA Directors Conferences have provided a forum and collective template for directing shows through implementations that collaboratively address the needs and concerns of artists. Costs continue to escalate in providing the necessary infrastructure for producing art shows and festivals. In most recent years, the transition to digital image management services has increased administrative expenses significantly, changing that expense line from near nothing to several thousand dollars. Although very convenient, these are new costs to absorb. Challenges are continually addressed to adjust formulas and approaches so that we can provide a great venue for both artists and audience.

Digital Application Procedures, continued from page 1 ....

these shows have the option of applying online (for those with faster internet connections) or downloading a pdf application for completion. For those artists who choose to mail their entries, digital images will need to be burned onto a CD or DVD. The online form is the simplest part of allone page. At the top, artists simply enter their contact information. Next, they select their five images utilizing the image selection form. This system is very similar to those encountered on other websites such as eBay, Etsy, or Craigslist. Artists simply click Choose File to navigate their hard drives and find the images they wish to upload. Once the form is completed and the five images are selected, the entry is submitted and, in a final step, the jury fee is paid. By Hand Events accepts ZAPP formatted images, so artists dont have to re-size the files.

After years of traditional slide jurying, the popular Boston Mills Artfest went all-digital in 2009. The Boston Mills process takes the applicant through several steps, the first being to create an account with the ski resort (the site which hosts the event) for the purpose of paying the jury fee. Step two is to enter all information typically required in an application, followed by receipt of the Order Number, which is the unique number generated by the company to verify that the jury fee has been paid. The final step is to email a folder that contains all images.

This differs from other shows, where there is generally either an interface for uploading the images or they are sent via email, one at a time. After the usual re-naming of the image file, users are required to compress the image files for submission in one email. This extra step can pose a bit of a challenge for those who are not technically savvy. To give Boston Mills credit, they do supply a helpful online tutorial for step-by-step instructions on file compression. Once the compression is complete, the entire folder of images is emailed. Fortunately, the image requirements are 1920 x 1920, so there is no need to alter the size.

Demonstrating its ongoing commitment to using a jury of professional artists, the northern Ohio show seats five jurors of varying disciplines to view the digital images. The images are projected three over three, which I think is a real plus when viewing.

In St. Louis, Missouri, the Shaw Art Fair has developed its own system for artists to upload the four images required for the jury. Shaw accepts the ZAPP file size of 1920 x 1920 pixels, and there is no need for artists to make a copy of their images and re-name them before submission. The Shaw system will automatically name the images once they are uploaded.

I found this to be a straightforward process. I think the images were uploaded with all four on one submission page. Supply a debit or credit card number for the jury fee and, if you are accepted, Shaw will automatically charge your booth fee payment when notifications are released. (Personally, I prefer the PayPal option instead. That way I have control over when I pay the booth fee.)

These are a few of the shows I had direct experience with, and it is my hope that more shows will study and learn from some of these other systems if they decide to go it alone. In the interest of fairness, the shows should carefully consider the image size requirements so artists dont have to constantly reformat our images for each and every entry. Staying with the 1920 x 1920 pixel dimensions makes life so much easier for this task. Beyond that, full disclosure of how the images will be viewed and descriptions of the jurors credentials are at the top of my wish list.


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