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"The Independent Artist"
Issue V, April 2009

Page 3

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:
NAIA-Artists.org

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:

IAAdvertising


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

Contribute!

To submit articles, letters to the editor, or ideas for future issues of The Independent Artist, hone 630.244.9406 or email Sara Corkery: SaraCorkery


You can join NAIA today.


NAIA


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

A Letter from the Board Chair

I am often asked why NAIA works with shows and how we do so. Artists, shows, and suppliers of art materials, display products, digital services, etc. are all part of the Great American Phenomenon of art shows. It is in everyones best interest to work together to keep this special world alive and strong.

In my experience, an overwhelming number of show directors care deeply about showcasing the best art their events can attract. They work hard to encourage real art buyers to attend and purchase art at the shows. They endeavor to keep artist fees low and to fund the shows through means other than soley through artist fees. Many strive to keep the reputation of their show high by enforcing their shows own rules. And they frequently face obstacles many artists do not know about.

Show directors and staff benefit from learning more about the artists perspective. At the same time, artists benefit from learning the difficulties inherent in producing a show.

NAIA helps directors make improvements to their shows by collecting information on proven policies and procedures of successful shows and sharing it with as many shows as possible. We accomplish this across many avenues of communication.

Director Conferences

To date, NAIA has hosted eight Director Conferences, or DCs. The ninth will be held in the fall of 2009. During DCs, directors can meet others like themselves and thus develop important networks for strengthening the art show world. The majority of directors have not had the opportunity to visit other shows around the country and so may have a limited view of the art fair industry. The networks these directors cultivate through NAIAs DCs have proven to be lifelines for those who are isolated. When a new problem crops up (i.e., their municipality has decided to charge the show for extra police presence during the event or placed new restrictions on the type of street banners used to advertise the coming show), they can contact other directors in their network for help and advice.

The DCs are always held in conjunction with a show, and participating directors appreciate being able to attend a show they have not seen before. Due to limited exposure to a variety of other shows many directors have a myopic view of the art show business and seeing another show can open their eyes to exciting possibilities. The host show gives a behind the scenes tour of its event, during which visiting directors can see how things work and the actual mechanics of how the host show accomplishes what it does.

During the DCs we give presentations by artists and directors on important issues and solutions to problems. We highlight one or two NAIA Advocacies, explaining why its important to have artist parking nearby so we can restock quickly or why it is imperative to have more than 10 x 10 for each booth so our tents dont rub against each other and wear holes in the tarps. Weve found that once a director understands why something is important to artists doing business in a professional way, he or she is willing to change show policies, such as agreeing to keep music volume low so that artists and patrons can hear each other when trying to have a discussion in the artists booth.

This year we are trying a new method to select the location of the Director Conference. We will be asking the shows to submit an official application, complete

Sally J. Bright

with images sized at 1920 pixels square and a statement of 250 characters.

The Independent Director

Last year we instituted a new formal email publication for directors. Unfortunately, we have only been able to publish two issues so far. Hopefully that will change in a few months and The Independent Director can be published monthly. (copies of the first two issues can be found here)

Communication with Individual Directors

NAIA receives one to three requests for information from directors every week. Questions range from how to hold a competition for artists to design the shows t-shirt image, or what an Artist Statement is, to artist opinions on different types of show application systems. Each request receives a personal reply with as much information as possible. Due to greater visibility of NAIA, we are receiving more requests for information than in years past.

change in a few months and The Independent Director can be published monthly. (copies of the first two issues can be found here)

Communication with Individual Directors

NAIA receives one to three requests for information from directors every week. Questions range from how to hold a competition for artists to design the shows t-shirt image, or what an Artist Statement is, to artist opinions on different types of show application systems. Each request receives a personal reply with as much information as possible. Due to greater visibility of NAIA, we are receiving more requests for information than in years past.

The Independent Artist

Articles in the IA have information not only for artists, but for directors too. We include an interview with at least one director we think can inspire other directors to improve their shows. Show directors and staff can benefit from most all of the information in IA articles as they get another glimpse into the artists world.

Personal Contact:

Before and during shows in which board members participate, they speak with directors to further NAIAs mission.

The NAIA Member Forum:

Our forum is divided into separate areas where different groups have access. There is an Artist Member Only section, a Director member Only section, and a third section for both groups where diector members can read about issues artists are dealing with and voice comments and questions of their owna true dialog between artists and directors. Any director can become a Contributing member of NAIA. At this date we have about 100.

It is this ongoing dialog between NAIA and shows that has made possible the great strides in improving the art show industry. Lest this sounds too rosy, there is always more work to be done. Not all directors aim for the highest ideals and the best art possible and too many are afraid to enforce their own rules. Additionally, show staff changes oftenvery often. In many situations, NAIA has succeeded in encouraging shows to make policy and procedure changes for the better, such as requiring photo ID to prevent proxy exhibitors, only to have a new person step into the director position without a clue on NAIAs Advocacies, why they are important and why the former staff adopted them. So we are often starting over from square one. If we did not have this ongoing dialog, I fear improvements would not occur anywhere near as often as they do now.

As you will see later in this issue (p. 9, NAIA Hall of Fame), because of our outreach to shows, several directors responded to a question from NAIA on whether they have been able to reduce artist fee(s) for the 2009 shows. Not all shows were able to do this, but we felt it important to acknowledge the shows that announced that they would.

Whether you are an artist, a director, or a supplier, we hope you will enjoy this latest edition of The Independent Artist.

Have a good year, and Travel Safely,

Sally J. Bright
NAIA Board Chair

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