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"The Independent Artist"
Issue VI, November 2009

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, phone 630.244.9406 or email Sara Corkery: SaraCorkery


You can join NAIA today.
Cick Here.

NAIA


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

Sally J. Bright
Artists: Why do you participate in art shows?
- To earn a living
- To meet the people who choose to live with our work
- To gauge the response to our new, even experimental work
- To enjoy the camaraderie of other artists when so many exhibitors are otherwise isolated in their studios
- The charmed lifestyle

Show Directors: Why does your organization produce art shows?
- To raise funds to support the local art center or other cause
- To expose the public to art in an informal and non-intimidating way
- To give the public a chance to interact with living artists, the actual makers of the works

Obvious answers you say?
Yes, of course, but hold that thought . . .
The art show venue has been a very successful business model for 30 years or more. Artists have bought houses, funded their childrens college education and carried health insurance. But as we all know too intimately, things have changed over the past few years. Certainly the bad economy is the largest cause of many recent problems, but the changes I am referring to here affect the very essence and lifeblood of the art show industry and are twofold:
- The influx of many buy/sell, even imported products into shows
- An attempt by retail chain stores to offer better design (sometimes copied from artists that exhibit in shows) than they used to, in mass-produced products.

How can we improve our plight?
This is where the mission of the art show industry at the beginning of this piece comes into play. In our marketing, both artists and shows can consider why we have shows and deal with the new problems from that perspective. Whether artist or director, the reasons are to earn money and show art to the public. Not just any art, but art made by hand, art not mass produced and art exhibited by the actual artist or craftsman who created it. This is what makes the venue special and attractive to the public. So how can we highlight these special aspects of our work? How can we retain and increase our audience, our customers and our patrons?

During the September 2009 Summit Conference for Artists and Show Directors we began a project to create a national marketing campaign to encourage the public to buy Hand Made from artists at art shows and to market shows as the place to buy Hand Made work. If all of us, artists and shows alike, use the Hand Made term frequently and in all of our marketing the campaign can take hold.

I am writing this piece in August, a month before the conference so I cannot report what happened at the conference here, but we have a webpage set up to do just that. As time goes by we will report how this and other projects from the conference are coming along. Here is the link, I hope you check it often.

On another note, term limits require that I step down from the NAIA Board of Directors Chairmanship at the end of the year. Its been a great ridea little over three years as a board member, then three more years as Chair. I learned my limitations but also learned of skills I did not know I had. Though I had previously served on three other non-profit boards the NAIA boards have been unlike the others. Never have I seen such dedicated and selfless volunteers, always working for the good of the industry. I am proud to have been a part, but now it is time for new blood.

If you are not a member of NAIA, I hope you join today to show support for the fine work the organization has done and continues to do. It takes money and volunteers to advocate for artists. The larger our membership the stronger our voice.

Best wishes and Safe Travels,

- Sally J. Bright
Art Fair SourceBook
Upper Arlington

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