home resources "The Independent Artist" Issue 6, pg 3

"The Independent Artist"
Issue VI, November 2009

NAIA: Helping Artists Economically
by Cynthia Davis, Photographer, NAIA Staff

Cynthia Davis

NAIA programs that help artists' bottom lines:

Advocacy papers,The Artists Perspective, Connecting Artists and Shows

The True Cost of Doing Shows

Trends Among Artists: The Changing Artistic Landscape

NAIA Discount Programs

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.

From the beginning the NAIA has been concerned about and committed to strengthening the economic success of festival artists. We believe that one of the ways to accomplish this is through positive dialog with show directors about artists needs and issues - things that impact artists ability to make a living selling and marketing their work at art festivals.

Advocacy Positions
From early on the NAIA began developing a list that was first nown as Initiatives and has since come to be known as our Advocacy Positions and is one of the corner stones of NAIA activity. This list was developed as a response to the needs of festival artists and in an effort toward improving the working conditions of artists. This is a fluid document that changes and evolves as necessary. There was a major revision and re-organization of the Advocacy Positions in 2006. Supporting papers were written and the document The Artists Perspective, Connecting Artists and Shows was created.

One thing that artists might not know or realize is that many of these Advocacy Positions are designed to help artists economically when they are utilized by the art shows. Here are just some of the ways:

- Advocating for standardized slide labeling and digital file formats saves artists money and time (and time taken out of the studio is $).
- Advocating that 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.
- The NAIA has been very effective in convincing shows to change their policies. This advocacy has allowed artists more flexibility in scheduling shows and has saved them thousands of dollars over the years.
- Advocating that shows not require Social Security numbers on their applications saves artists the potential of a costly and devastating ID theft.
- Advocating that shows create a concise but clear prospectus that includes an explanation of the jury process and spaces available helps artists make a more informed decision about the shows to which they apply and to hopefully increase their bottom line.
- Advocating that shows 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. Need we say more!
- Advocating that shows provide 24-hour security at the show site, and to and from parking areas, from the beginning of load-in to the end of load-out helps to prevent costly thefts and robberies of artists work and money.
- Advocating that shows provide free or reasonably priced and easily accessible parking for artists vehicles throughout the duration of the show keeps costs down and allows artists to more easily stock their booths so that they are not out of the booth during prime selling time.
- Advocating that shows be alert to the fact that artists hold copyrights on their images and the use of artists images, beyond any permission specifically granted by the artist, is subject to the copyright laws of the United States. Artists can lose money when their images are used without permission and without giving them the opportunity to receive due compensation for their use.

Communication with Show Directors
Developing and writing the Advocacy Position papers is all well and good, but the information needs to be brought to the attention of show directors. The NAIA actively presents the Advocacy Positions at every NAIA Director Conference as well as through email and direct mailing of the papers to show directors.

By improving communications with show directors it will hopefully help them realize what is going on out here economically and encourage them to create artist-friendly policies. Recently an e-communication was sent to all of the shows we have in our database (not just member shows) urging them to reduce fees, put a moratorium on fee hikes, or initiate other ways to help artists. In exchange we would draw artists attention to their show on our web site and in our e-communications.

The True Cost of Doing Shows by Gordon Bruno was presented at one of the Director Conferences and helped a lot of shows realize the true costs artists incur when doing a show. The online link was also sent to all shows in our database. Information like this is critical in convincing show directors that they must keep jury and booth fees in check if they want to keep our venue alive and thriving for all concerned.

Another important paper is Trends Among Artists: The Changing Artistic Landscape by Sarah Rishel and Richard Carner. This paper is based upon a 2007 NAIA survey of 550 artists. We are now finding that many of the predictions in the paper are coming true. Artists are traveling to fewer shows and doing more shows closer to home to cut travel expenses. Others are getting jobs, putting their art businesses on hold, or quitting the art show venue altogether. Again the online link to this paper was emailed to all of the shows in our database.

Discount Programs
The NAIA has developed over 20 discount programs to save our members money. In fact, the use of these discounts can more than pay for your annual NAIA membership.

NAIA Forum
The NAIA forum is where your fellow artists share tips on the hotel deals they have secured for specific shows through Priceline.com or other sources. Members freely give out tips on the best credit card processing service, shipping services and more.

While the NAIA is secondary in affecting your actual salesthe economy, your work, your own sales techniques, and the ability of the shows to draw the right audience are the primary factorsthe NAIA DOES help you survive as an artist.
The NAIA is a nonprofit trade organization working for the good of our industry and much of what the NAIA does benefits all artists, not just NAIA members. Please support our work and help us help YOU by joining us now. Join Here.

Corporate Lodging Consultants - CheckINN Direct
The Membership Committee of the NAIA would like to take this opportunity to let ALL artists know about a lodging program that artists are beginning to use: Corporate Lodging Consultants (CLC) CheckINN Direct. We initially brought this program to our NAIA members attention last year. Just another way that the NAIA is helping artists to keep costs as low as possible.

CLC contracts with each individual hotel/motel in their system (they do not contract with the chains) to secure discounts of 30%-50%. Hotels range in quality and price. With CLC CheckInn Direct you are able to select exactly which hotel you want without suffering the anxiety of the bidding wars.

This is how it works. You register an account with Corporate Lodging Consultants. Their web site says that they charge a $9.95 activation fee, but that fee will be waived if you call and tell them that a CLC CheckINN Direct member (me, Cynthia Davis) referred you. I talked with a very nice woman named Linda, and here is her direct line: 1-800-835-4045 x5236. Linda will not only activate your membership free of charge, but she will walk you through the web site.

You will be asked to give them a credit card or debit card number and the number of your valid drivers license. They will make a $1.95 charge to your card to make sure it is valid, and then will credit the same amount back to your card. You will be mailed a membership card to use when you check in.

Once you are registered you can log into their web site and start searching for hotels. CLC CheckINN Direct does charge $4.95 per night transaction fee, but the savings you incur with their program will probably be more than you get from any other program. Once you locate a desirable hotel you call them direct and first ask about availability on the date that you want. If thy have it, then book the room and tell them you will be using your CLC CheckINN Direct card. They may still ask you for a credit card number for reserving, but when you check in you make sure that the room is charged to your CheckINN Direct account. You can use this method as a walk-in as well if it is a participating hotel (they do have a hotel directory you can purchase for $9.95, but they are adding hotels all of the time.) If you have any problems, CheckINN Direct has a 24-hr / 7-day toll-free assistance line.

Check-INN Direct will receive the bill and will check it to make sure you were given the correct discount, then they will add their $4.95/night transaction fee and bill your credit or debit card. Here is an example of a recent stay I had at a Holiday Inn in Clevelands Westlake suburb with 2 double beds/non-smoking (taxes not included):
Holiday Inn Call-in rate: $99.99/night; Holiday Inn Internet rate: $85.99/night; AAA discount rate: $90.99/night; Senior discount rate: $90.99/night; Show discount rate: $77/night; CLC CheckINN Direct rate: $50 + $4.95 = $54.95/night
I heard a rumor that one artist was able to secure a Red Roof Inn room for the Ann Arbor show for $30 per night when most hotels jack-up their rates for the event!

After this issue went to press we received new information on CheckInn Direct. They have changed their policies:

A few months ago we let you know about CheckINN Direct as a source for low hotel rates. We recently learned of some changes in their system.

As of August 31 the published rate that they quote for a hotel on their web site is the rate "for the current week." Their "week" is from Sunday through Saturday and the rate that they have is the rate for that week only. Obviously this is a problem for those of us who like/need to have a reservation further in advance and I explained this to the CheckINN Direct respresentative and told her this might reduce the usage of their service by our members and other artists.

The only solution I see to this is that one should make a reservation first through either the art show's hotel discount if they have one or some other discount program such as Choice Hotels, Red Roof Inn (NAIA benefit discount programs.) Then, the Sunday or Monday before your show check CheckINN Direct's web site and see what the hotels and rates are for your show area. If you can beat what you already have then you can change reservations. Make sure you add in the $4.95 charge that CheckINN Direct charges per night. (This would not work if you are reserving with a non-refundable service like Priceline.)

Obviously, this does not make CheckINN Direct as good of an option as it was, but I still think that it is a potential hotel reservation source for artists.

- Cynthia Davis

First National Processing

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