1997 NAIA Artists' Survey Results

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Survey Results:
Show Rankings

General Show Information

Do you often apply to multiple shows on the same weekend?


Should booth fees be due upon acceptance (rather than sent with the slide application)?


Should shows reinvite a percentage of exhibitors each year?


If yes: Just prize winners?


If more than just prize winners, what percent?

Under 10%.........7%

This is the only opportunity jurors have to select from actual work rather than slides, regardless of the quality of an artists slides, they can never give as accurate a representation of ones work as the work itself. Reinviting artists on the basis of the quality of the work - viewed first hand and (hopefully) with great care - insures a core of returning artists who have shown they have the strong work - not only the good slides.

How many shows do you try for the first time each year?


Should shows retain slides?


If yes, how many?



But only from new exhibitors.

An official show photographer should shoot each booth. Shows can use this record for many things-application should state they will shoot booths.

Only if they inform you in advance.

One only for publicity or consistency (3)

Slides are expensive-entry fees are already too high-this just adds to the loss. (4)

Slides should be returned when show has confirmed that all artists have brought the same work they juried in with. (31)

What was the best new idea or improvement you encountered at a show last year?

em>Application and Communications:

Reston-Northern Virginia Art Festival listed last year participants in this years application. Very easy to call artists and ask about the show. (2)

At Art Fest of Scottsdale (The Events Group), several weeks before the show, they sent a complete show map- indicating parking, booth, check in, etc., plus the booth number, plus a description of our display area, including problems. Example: display is grassy, slightly slopes back, a tree to the west, no one behind, electric 150 ft. this was great! It allowed us to plan well, and provide a map and booth number to our patrons in our mailing!"

"Bellevue Art Fair sent newsletter throughout year, told us total sales and media breakdown.


Innovative publicity/promotion: Tie between BHam - with signs in yards of affluent neighborhoods and St. Louis had an actual highway sign flashing at the Clayton exit St. Louis Art Fair - Exit Here

On-line festival-Winter Park. People came to my booth wanting to see the artwork shown on the web. People from long-distances came because they were impressed with the quality!(15)

Web site for Paradise City Arts Festival with low cost to exhibiting artists for an image on their web page.

The Cherry Creek Art Fair published a directory of participating artists with a photo of their work and placed it in a major local newspaper the Sunday paper to the event. This offered the buyers opporunities to preselect the artists they were really interested in. It was used!

Glossy catalog with examples of all artists work-Winter Park. (2) La Quinta Art Festival printed a full color program with a small photo of the work of each artist. Photos were from slides and about that size. Over 200 images by category. (2)

Pocket program - Winter Park

Emerging Artists Program - W. Park

Marion IA Art Fest (50 artists)All artists had brief vita/descriptive critic

The champagne walk in Columbus, Ohio-the artists could buy bottles of champagne at state prices then throughout the night serve their customers in dixie cups. It was a great way to interact with the crowd.

Not new but good-corp/business purchase program at OKC. Really generates interest.

Boston Mills Artfest Wine & Cheese Preview night-people were encouraged to purchase on opening night by advertising it as an opportunity to have first pick of artists work-likewise sales were good-not a social event. (2)

Preview evening at Arts & Apples Festival - good idea but it rained.

"On an admission show coupons good for buck off on purchase of certain level. Crafts person ate cost but thats okay - purchase was made. Many artists grumbled though."

New artists banners ODC

St. Louis ID Banners

Milwaukee, WI 1997; Sculpture garden show allowing sculptors an opportunity to display outdoor large scale works (3)

Last year at the 57th St Art Festival in Chicago, they printed a great book about the history of the fair with pictures and stories. It was their 50th anniversary. Every artist was given a book free.

Its not too new, but Brandywines Art Auction is always fun.

Oklahoma City Arts Festival alumni art tent in which they invited 12 artists who had shown in the past to send work for sale to be shown in a separate tent. Artists not required to attend.


Art in the Vineyard. The fair organizers came to collect commission from us before fair closed--all sales last hour, artists kept all $.

Not new - but I love Old Town (Chicago) taking an auction piece in lieu of booth fee.

Magic City Art Connection in Birmingham, Alabama offered a choice between a small fee & 10% or a larger fee with no added percentage. Since Id not done the show before, I appreciated being able to pay the lower fee (paintings are hard to sell) and since the show was closed on Saturday due to the weather I was lucky that I had.


Better I D Badges

Water/Pop brought to artist

Credit Card Approval

Showing all slides at exhibitors party, CPFA-State College, PA & State St

Having a deli for the pre-ordered food at Winterpark

Faster service in food lines for artists so they can return to their booths more quickly. Box suppers to take home when you leave at the end of the show - Columbus Winterfair

Artists tent with show-long drinks, snacks, etc.

Food runners at Contemporary Craft Mkt-S.M. and S.F.

We like when shows offer an artist line for food/bev. -also artists lounge.

A small nicety: food order taken (and delivered) to booth. (2) Better still: Vail provided a box lunch.

This is not a new idea but I really appreciate it when the neighborhood or community will let an artist stay in their home as opposed to paying hotel fees. (2)

Massage therapists posted at show site, independently operating several therapists, $1/minute-a great refresher! (PMA Craft Show)

Bellevue WA, massage tables & chairs - 15 min. only. What a difference in your attitude during a 3 day 12 hr. a day show.

I have always thought Sausalito excelled in artist hospitality with a great party, and separate artist area for meals and toilets.

La Quinta extended into evening hours. The place was beautiful but the customers didnt catch on. Evening hours in hot climates are really nice. Especially for the handicapped.

On site packing & shipping at Coconut Grove.

At Birmingham, MI (May/Shain Park) on Sunday show staff WARNED EXHIBITORS of impending high winds & thunderstorm & gave permission for early tear-down at every single booth. Ive been at a show w/a tornado & no warning. Yeah BBAA!!

Artists storage areas at Boston Mills.

Display - Set Up and Tear Down:

Letting Artists have their own structure at Ann Arbor Street Fair.

At Artigras (W. Palm Bch, FL) there is a 5 wide sidewalk behind booths, with 8 of grass behind that, then the fence. The sidewalk is to be kept clear for the staff golf carts to use. This is good, keeping carts out of the crowd. But it is also good for us because we then have uncrowded, therefore a quick route to bathrooms, food, our vehicles, etc.

The electrical system at St. Louis - Clayton is very good - conveniently close and enough power for everyone."

Kansas City Plaza installing electricity for night lighting in booths.

Utah Arts Festival (Salt Lake City) allowed artists to either use their display system or the artists own booths.

Shadyside (Pittsburgh)-Teenagers were available to rent for set-up & knock-down.

"Putting the state you come from on the ID banner - Columbus Art Festival Giving a 10 x 10 booth 2 feet of storage space in back of the booth - Armonk, NY"

"St. George Utah - the staff helps you set up and screws down your tent into the pavement"

"A show where the booth spaces are a long haul from the parking lot - had a whole fleet of golf carts and hearty individuals to drive them helped us to the spaces."

CC Cleveland, OH-having dollies with helpers to load & unload.

Jr. League Colorado Springs-staff helped with unloading with large utility dollies.

*Columbus really worked hard to keep the streets clean-fresh & beautiful through the show."

"Festival of the Masters (Disney) provided weights for artists booths & ferns to camouflage the weights - created visual unity & security for the artists, practical & thoughtful"

"1998-Coconut Grove: fencing was constructed along the back of artists booths on Mc Farlane parkside-great for crowd control & security issues for those artists exp. More shows offered use of communal Visa/Mc for artists who don't have access. Ann Arbor: More artist owned booths on main street - great!"

Artists storage areas at Boston Mills (may not be their first year, but the first time Id seen this as I havent done the show in a while).

Allowing space between spots for a walkway or storage behind booth.

"Peoria wouldnt allow vans in until the artists had fully broken down. An excellent improvement in a congested area."

"Official clearance for packup in difficult access shows. Pack it up Before the van is brought in."


"A lecture tour of booths (featuring one media per tour) - comparing different approaches seemed to generate interest. These were organized by the art show, led by local scholars and helped understand difference in use of media. Two Rivers Art Expo did this (4) and I think Memphis Festival did this too."

High Design area for artists who were producing whole work for the industry that was new, original, innovative regardless of media. These artists were exhibited together in one area and banners earmarked each exhibit as to media by color.

"Collaborative booths where a group of artists create a combined booth show in art in interaction with other pieces, i.e. furniture, lamps, wall hangings, sculpture & wall art. Coordinated by artists, designers, etc. rather than the show promoters."

Demonstration area for artists at the Michigan Guild Summer Art Fair-Ann Arbor.

"Cherry Creek Publication Informing/ Educating the public about the various media categories."

Art for kids-tent at Springfield, IL (Old Capitol) kids only can enter & buy art priced from $3-$5-helps to develop future collectors.

At the Boise Julie Davis Art Show a special area was set aside for children to purchase art. Parents were not allowed in, the price was generally around $2-10. Some artists donated art (a small watercolor, etc.) others placed it there on consignment.

"MN Craft Festival provided signage that stated that work in the booth was one of a kind - made by the artists, etc. Artists could choose to sign it and post it - but it became part of the official show signs and helped to educate the public that this is an important issue." (2)

Show layout:

"Although not new for this show, Cottonwood Art Festival in Richardson Tx has directories posted at every intersection. This idea could be improved by having a highly visible listing of artists, their booth numbers & a map of the festival (like directories in a mall) posted at several locations on site as a valuable tool for the public. That which might exist in a show program is not a good alternative as these programs are lost & mislaid constantly (usually on the ground in your booth)."

Separate areas for packaged food, commercial, community, game, food and all other types of booths rather than intermingled in art area.

Sun Valley-prohibiting dogs from show area!

"Hennepin booth change at the Uptown - set booths in the street & faced the sidewalk plus closed the street to thru traffic for all 3 days."

Street signage using famous artists names (Dali Street, Picasso Avenue, etc.) and imagery to guide patrons down artists rows within city park at the Great Gulf coast Art Festival-Pensacola, FL.


"Give prize to artist whose mailing list brings back the most postcards offering $1 discount for gate - Artrider"

1. Prize for first time exhibitor
2. Prize for exhibitors under 30
3. Reduced booth fee for artists in the first 3 yrs. of doing a show

Peoples Choice award at East Lansing Art Festival (East Lansing, MI-May) lets everyone (customers and artists) vote for their favorite artist/booth- gives Festival staff feedback on what people enjoy seeing (and nice feedback for the artists, too).

"Small Show in St. Louis called AJ Art Affair gives out awards with great fanfare. Dancers & drummers accompany the show promoter & judge as they hand out awards. It was fun and you knew who got the awards."

What was the best peripheral program you saw at a show last year?

Childrens Programs:

"Childrens area in St. Louis"

"Childrens Area at Arti Gras or State College"

At the Cheney Cowel Museum Show they had a large area of hands on art & craft projects for different ages of kids to create their own art. They bought tickets to pay for projects, more complex projects used more tickets.

Aspiring Artists-Gaspirilla

"Childrens Art Center at Lakefront, Milwaukee." (2)

Childrens art area - Scottsdale Art Festival

"Two Rivers in Des Moines always has a great childrens art making area - so does Wausau WI. I love seeing the childrens creations - opportunity to connect with children."

ATLANTA- exhibitors giving art classes to kids 1 hr during the weekdays of show, we signed-up way before the show, and were PAID.

Boise Art in the Park-kids art section, artists donated art for kids to buy.

Childrens art tent at Images, New Smyrna Beach.

Columbus Arts Fest.-Childrens gallery-artists donated pieces -the large tent which housed the works had a kid size door to enter and collect work at their discretion with their kids budget prices. Great idea to get kids to want to collect original art at a young age.

"Childrens art Tent at Springfield, Il. Old Capital Art Fair. Artists submit original works to tent to sell to children only in the $3, $4, $5 range. Prizes and award $ are given to keep the quality high. Some artists are now selling large originals to the children who grew up with this great educational exhibit."

"Petoskey - Art in the Park Childrens Market, where children under 10? can go (without parent only) to buy artwork priced at $5 or less. Artwork supplied by show artists. Proceeds go to artists. Gives kids confidence in their taste in choosing art. Caution - Could be addictive and carry over into adult life." (2)

Young collectors mart-Wausau, WI.

Coconut Grove-artists in the schools. (9)

Art Festival of Atlanta-elementary school visitations.


At garden shows, they have fabulous central gardens which often incorporate artists pieces in their landscape displays. This is the primary draw for the show but featured artists receive additional visibility. Perhaps interior designers, etc. could put together showcase, venues incorporating various artists works so people get ideas on using art in home environments. (Living rooms, gardens, etc.)

Coconut Grove 10 minute spot on the national HGTV network. I found it very informative. They interviewed artist and sculptors like Ted Gaul and showcased the art very nicely.

Celebration of Crafts women (SF womens bldg) gave seminars on being a crafts woman to beginning and disadvantaged women.

ABC show in Atlanta, GA.

The Missouri-Illinois Bi-state transit system has an arts in transit program. St. Louis Art Fair LET THEM HAVE ACCESS to artist slides to pick an artist to paint a bus. My work was chosen and there now exists a bus with my art work on it that travels throughout the city letting all kids of people view the art and advertising the St. Louis Art Show simultaneously.

Free online service for artist to show work-Crafts at the Castle.

"Pacific Northwest Art Fair had a show of participating artists (by invitation and not all artists were invited). The show was set up in a public mall adjacent to the fair site."

Salina, Kansas-Fine artists ( sculptors) creating on-site installations. (no work for sale)

Oklahoma City Arts Festivals pre-show pledge program. I believe they received $300,000 in pre-show pledges. I may be wrong with that number (thats what I remember hearing from one of the staff).

Fund Raisers:

Auctions that benefit the community.

Childrens Hospital Auction the opening evening. Exposure of donated artwork was excellent. A goodly amount of money raised for children! And sales were brisk. Social dialogue between artist/ patron lively!


"The International Program at Denver was the best I saw."

"An Italian sidewalk painter-huge murals!-at Utah Arts Festival-great visual attractor for public & local t.v. stations loved the hook!

Eyes program-showing disability (blind) works of art at CPFA-St. College, PA.

Artist designed bicycle-sculpture at Uptown, Minneapolis.

Artist demos at Ann Arbor and Lakefront.

Collector talks by industry knowledgeable speakers at ACE Atlanta before and during festival.

ART & INDUSTRY PROGRAM Kohler Art Center. They gave the artists tours of the foundry & artists spaces. - Sheboygan, WI

Hands-on art area at Utah Arts Festival, Salt Lake City. They had relatively sophisticated set-ups directed by fine artists.


Scottsdale Art Festival in March- huge indoor stage for dance performances, all music on great outdoor stages, art in the schools...the best celebration of all the arts together Ive seen.

"Ethnic entertainment at the Greektown Art Fair in Detroit - Greek Dancers, gospel singers Sunday morning, blues groups at night - first class entertainment at a small show"

"The Jazz Festivals - Art from local school kids Jazz program at Stillwater MN Fall Fest"

Film festival screenings KPFA crafts fair in San Francisco.

Sun Valley-Sun Valley Symphony accompanies the show-wonderful touch-perfect for luxe mountain setting.

Music & theater at Art in the Pearl-Portland, OR.

Cherry Creek Festival provided roaming costumed people on stilts (great for young-festive for adults) plus incredible artwork on the sidewalks."

What suggestions do you have that shows might implement to better educate and develop their audience?

Artists Demonstrations:

"Do a better job of helping artists plan demos by getting suggestions from artists who have done them before and/or giving outlines to those that do this."

I would love to see either a whole show of the artists demonstrating at their booths, or step by step process of their work. I demo the art of chain making at all my shows and people, especially bored husbands, love it.

Demos. Video Tent-showing craft and art videos.

"Artist demos are great, too- but artists should be compensated monetarily for participating. (It is taking them away from selling at their booths.) Offer artists who can demonstrate their craft a prime location to educate the public, maybe with a generous booth discount.

I thought artist demos might be good, but not too many people show up. Perhaps encourage artists to display information on how they do their art. (photos, notes, etc.)

Demonstrations are good.-using local tv stations to show artists at work in the area before the show.-allowing groups (i.e. students disabled) into shows for no charge-encouraging them to ask questions.

Audience input:

"Solicit audience input and address it directly Invite patrons to indicate what they would like to see more or less of next year, and use this public feedback in the jury process.

Artists Disclosure/Information Statement:

Require an artist statement within the booth-to let audience truly know whether something is or isnt a production piece, an offset print, or developed by the artist, or if the artist has assistants or works solely on his/her own. And have it standardized. (3)

Initiate the Artists I.D. Card idea, particularly method of production-many people just dont know & are afraid to ask!

I like the idea of an artist statement of their choosing. Information on themselves and their work. If we would each place one in our booth more people would leave with additional information about how and what makes up a show.


"Develop better parking or shuttle buses (tourist - open air type) to bring audience from parking lot to show area."

"Shows should send reps (or get together as a group and send reps) to some of the big international art shows such as the Pier show in Chicago and the Sofa shows. Other arts organizations and publications have small booths at these shows and if they would like to establish greater credibility and exposure this is one way to do it."

Have show reps and an invited artist present an information program, about the festival to the local chamber of commerce just before the show. Have show people encourage local PBS stations to interview an invited artist- what art shows do for the community, etc.

Publicity-newspaper articles, t.v. coverage, on-going pro-motion, neighborhood signage, accessibility, purpose, sponsorship, good will, volunteers, community involvement.

Promotion of the idea that a show is not just another festival, but a community event held one time each hear as a special occasion. Some enthusiasm goes a long way to promote sales.

"Local newspapers selecting a handful of artists to interview & have in the weekend or pull out portion of the paper. "

"Definitely pre-press publicity should emphasize the quality of the artwork (not entertainment, food, kids activities) - stories about the artists, their background and accomplishments/ stories about the award winners during the show/ local artists who are doing the show could be interviewed on talk shows - weve done long distance interviews for radio shows; on-site radio programs with scheduled interviews/ TV & newspaper crews on site - should emphasize art & artists."

"In the off season, hold a contest to have an out-of-town artist (an art fair exhibitor but not necessarily) render in 2 or 3 dim. a prominent local landmark. The runners up could be run on TV spots & in the local paper (tied to the art fair) and the winners work would be displayed at the art fair, with much fanfare - award ceremony, etc. Local people would love to see a part of their home spotlighted this way; a new landmark every year, permanently displayed in the city library or schools."

Colorful advertising that uses images of an accepted artists work, as opposed to a design or drawing, can give customers a flavor of the work theyll find at the show. Bring in local guilds with group booths if they agree to do demonstrations.

"Make sure the local newspaper have access to good written & visual materials about the artists who exhibit. Also special attention & emphasis must be placed on the fact that shows are juried. Validate the arena, the event as well as the fact that artists who are chosen are quality & as valid as gallery/museum artists."

In their publicity, the show directors could point up the wide variety of artwork being exhibited-dont always feature a wild 3-D assemblage or raku pot! Show directors should mention the cross-country distribution of their artists; possibly the show experience of the average artist.

Get on t.v. and in papers have ambassadors in the crowds to hand out a flyer, have program that goes to civic groups, chamber of commerce, etc.-in other words, hustle and work hard like we do.

Interviews w/artists who are doing their show past & present in papers/t.v./radio/ preceding show.

I think the way they Milwaukee Museum does an open house showing all the artists slides is a great idea.

When shows do photos (like Winter Park) at shows make photos available to artist.

"I like Ann Arbors in depth articles in programs on 3 artists per show (9 total)"

"Local radio stations conducting candid interviews w/artists before, during and after art shows, broadcasting to the shows area discussing the importance of art in our society and its impact on individual freedoms."

"I like what the Smokey Hill River Festival does - they have a pre-show exhibition at the Salina Country Club the month before the Festival"

Newspaper coverage including the type of information about artists in general as stated in Bannister Popes address in this issue-something more substantial than, they come from far away. Emphasis on the high quality of Street Art-RECOGNITION.

Internet advertising of show and artists prior to the event could reach a huge audience. Although time consuming to the show organizers-I think its something worth trying if they advertise that they are on-line.

A section of newspaper/ program/ advertisement showing photo of 1st slide with artist statement which includes how made education and livelihood past and present. This should be available to attending and potential public. Awareness of background, degrees, and technique seems left out of most publicity.


"Better and smaller workshops (in depth) at show site. Pre registration required...and the artist paid for workshop."

Maybe a central display of many artists work, with knowledgeable persons constantly talking to individuals about the work- the processes, skill, etc. (on second thought this might be too big a task)"

Stress that artists are professionals and much of the work is of museum/gallery quality.

In La Quinta they have small groups of kids taken around to individual artists for a brief discussion of their work. I guess you could do it with adults too.

Program write ups about process & techniques, not just about artist.

The Two Rivers Art Expo idea of giving guided tours is good. Not all artists can give demonstrations on site, and sometimes customers are too shy to ask questions, or they dont know what questions to ask.

Brief descriptions of various media categories and jury procedures/ requirements could be listed in show brochure."

More P.R. work at the artist level to educate people about what they are seeing.

"In the show program & posted on information signs should be a glossary/encyclopedia which provides a brief description of how each (or at least several) of the art forms are executed. This educational material could even address the dreaded issue of reproductions in their many forms and the ways they are created."

"To include in their programs or pre-show publicity the positive information listed under Recognition in Banister Popes IFEA Presentation"

"(Give out along with or in programs) Information on what the process of applying to shows is all about-cost, slide jurying, standards for work, etc. A lot of people have no clue - In fact many believe the shows were in (the high quality shows as well) travel from city to city like a circus. I really think people would have a lot more respect for us - if they really knew what it took to make the work and get it in a show."

"Information-Kiosks at festival site & throughout the city before & during the festival. Each on a specific medium with information & visual contributed by festival artists, especially of artists at work! *Anything that focuses on our working process & studio reality. We need to help the public understand who we are - we are not sales people & we have more to offer than merchandise! *We would like to see more quality in the childrens art programs at shows...it makes me ill to see area after area with kids stringing plastic beads & worse. How about offering an

experience with substance and heart."

Common audience complaint is that everything is so expensive. In promotions, rather than responding by saying but wait, there is some affordable work here, the audience needs to be informed WHY our one-of-a- kind work is expensive, i.e. its not manufactured, its created, designed and made by the artists hand-how much per hour do you pay your attorney, your mechanic, your plumber?...etc.

"Let them know that these are not marginal artist but artist that choose to take their art to the public. That a gallery would charge double the asking price of most art shown.

Perhaps emphasize that original art is available at shows directly from the artist, thereby eliminating tacked-on consignment & gallery commissions. ALSO: I wish shows featuring country crafts would not use the art in their title. I got stung twice last year, being the only fine art exhibitor after driving many miles.

More emphasis on an opportunity to view and purchase items not available elsewhere. Concern given to the value of original ideas, and an emphasis on the time & skill needed to make such things would also be nice. Most people seem to be unaware of the high education level of artists.

"Slide show or videos of artists working in their studio. Either during show or prior to show at local library/gallery? ACC Baltimore did this years ago- great success!"

Corvallis Fall Festival and Boise Art Museum Art in the Park both have hands-on kids crafts areas where they make a variety of things. Perhaps one a bit more sophisticated for adults would be a good program. If not with hands on crafts, maybe with demonstrations or other explanatory programs.

The shows Ive done where the public seems to be most aware are those that produce a pre-show publication listing artists and a description of some of the mediums. The booklet produced by Janus for the Cherry Creek Show is another example. I had customers comment on how helpful that was in understanding/ appreciated what they saw.

Media descriptions in their programs-ACC has done this.

I think it might be interesting to have a docent program. People in the arts in the community bring small groups of people into artists booths those who have indicated that they are receptive. The artist could then address the group for 5-10 min. & tell them about his/her work & answer questions. It might even promote sales.

A write-up with show handouts on positive aspects of art fairs: How the artist deals directly w/ the public, what the public can learn by attending. Something more than just a list of artist & booth numbers-bios of selected artists?

Close relationship with schools, universities, media.

More... -art info should be provided in program books or advanced P.R. (newspaper coverage immediately. preceding event) -interesting artist background or (mainly)semi-technical information.

Push the idea that buyers are collectors selecting a piece of art work.

Arrange with artists to do video interviews for use prior to next years show.

Need to promote a better understanding of what fine crafts are- distinguish our shows from the local church bazaar.

Obtain membership lists of upscale community organizations (i.e. Junior League, Museum & Hospital Auxiliary, Open Support, etc. ) for mailing purposes. Provide literature perhaps within the show booklet) explaining the difference between reproductions and original prints.

"It would be appropriate to publish a guide for art fair patrons. What to ask the artist. When to visit the show. What about asking for bargains? How to find out about other shows."

Lecture series could replace things like artist demos if promoters can provide an appropriate facility in/next to the show.

"Literature explaining what artists are truly about in the effort to exist. Issues such as galleries vs. outdoor shows. The fact that we are as professional as any doctor or lawyer, etc. Familiarize the public with artist biographies & what they mean."

"That street artists are as viable as gallery artists. That the art is important We are not transients."

Keep the slides of accepted artist thru the show and present a slide show throughout the hours of the show and hire an educator or retain jury to give a series of talks to give perspective and content to the public. Also have judges present awards with a few words why winners were selected and invite the public to the ceremony.

Children programs are great because they bring in both children & adults to learn.

"Workshops for potential new collectors. More examples of how art works into the home like at Philly Give something back to the community for putting up with a shows. The free childrens area focuses on young talent and gives a family a souvenir from a budding artists."

Educate public about how hard it is on kids & pets that are dragged out to shows.

What was the best small show you did in 1997?

Many of the shows appearing in the show rankings report were also listed by artists in this category. We are limiting this list to shows that are not mentioned elsewhere and do not list them again here.

  • 43rd Street Art Festival-Richmond, VA (2)
  • Anna Maria Island Winter Fest.
  • AOFTA (Williamsburg)
  • Art Explosure - Norfolk VA, Bayou City Art Festival Houston
  • Art Fair on the Square-Bloomington, IN
  • Art in the Park, Birmingham MI (3)
  • Art in the Park (Blowing Rock NC)
  • Art in the Park-Birmingham, MI (fall show)
  • Art in the Pearl, a new show with lots of spirit, in the Pearl District- Portland, Oregon.
  • Art on the Lake-Excelsior, MN (a one day show)
  • Art on the Mall-Toledo, Ohio
  • Audrey Levys Ann Arbor Winter Art Fair
  • Barrington Area Arts Council Art Fair
  • Beaver Creek, CO
  • Beaux Arts in Miami
  • Best of the Northwest-Seattle- only open to artists from OR, WA, ID, MT, AK
  • Beverly Hills-Affaire in the Gardens, CA
  • Billings (Yellowstone Art Center) Summerfair
  • Birmingham A/A Fall Bluff Park, Birmingham AL
  • Brighton Art Festival-Brighton, MI (August)
  • Bruce Museum-Greenwich, CT (2)
  • Bucktown- poor sales but best atmosphere.
  • Cambridge Pottery Festival in Cambridge WI
  • Canton, OH-Chriskendl
  • Celebration of Crafts women in San Francisco
  • Charlevoix, MI-nice location, upscale crowd (2) Chesterton, IN (3)
  • Coeur dAlene, Idaho College Hill Arts Festival-Cedar Falls, IA (2)
  • Cottonwood-Richardson, TX Craft Art: Tampa, Fl & March on Art - Pasco Co.FL
  • Crafts at the Castle (2) Boston Crosstie Arts Festival in Cleveland,
  • Mississippi Danforth Museum of Art (crafts only) Duluth Park Point, MN
  • Edina Art Fair (2) MN
  • Evanston, IL-Lakefront , early August
  • Flint, MI
  • Forkland Community Heritage Festival-Danville, KY
  • Fourth Street Art Fair, Bloomington, IN
  • Gainesville, FL-Spring Arts by Santa Fe College
  • Houston & Austin Jacksonville-St. Vincents Artworks
  • JCC of Cleveland Eton Square
  • Jubilee Festival, Daphne AL
  • Kentuck (Northport AL) (2)
  • Kings Mountain Art Fair-Woodside, CA
  • Kohler Art Fest-Sheboygan, WI
  • L.O.C.A.L. 14-Portland, OR
  • Lake Geneva Art Fair (WI)-terrible weather but those that came wanted to buy-generous size spaces.
  • Lake Wales Art Festival
  • Las Artistas-El Paso, TX
  • Laumeier Contemporary Fair-St. Louis, MO
  • Lubbock Arts Festival
  • Mainsail-St. Pete, FL
  • Marion IA Arts Fest. Shaw Park Art Fair - St. Louis
  • Marshfield WI - Mothers Day Show (by the New Visions Gallery-Marshfield Clinic)
  • Maude Kern in Eugene Or
  • Millburn NJ
  • Minn. Fiber & Metal Show
  • Morning Glory Craft Fair, Milwaukee
  • Mt. Gretna-PA
  • Naperville, Il , Riverwalk (2)
  • Oconomowoc Festival of Arts-Oconomowoc, WI (3)
  • OPA Ceramic Showcase
  • Palm Springs, CA - 4 day spring show
  • Park Forest, IL (but I feel it was definitely a fluke)
  • Petoskey, MI
  • Port Townsend, WA-Tucson Artfest
  • Rockbrook-Omaha, NE
  • Ruidoso NM
  • San Antonio Fiesta Arts Fair is fun!
  • Saratoga Rotary
  • Seattle Christmas Show, best of the northwest
  • Sedona, AZ (no sales, but great setting, & you get a back massage after you set-up!)
  • Shaw Park Art Fair -St. Louis (2)
  • Sierra Madre, CA
  • Sisters Harvest Festival-Sisters, OR (from cost/sales reference)
  • Southwest Arts Festival of Indio, California A pure pleasure to do with knowledgeable patrons. (Numbers arent everything!)
  • Spring Valley Junction West Des Moines
  • St. Augustine Art Festival
  • Telfair Museum Show-Savannah, GA
  • The Great Christmas Hall/Ft. Collins, CO-modest crowd, but wonderful considerate organizers.
  • Thousand Oaks Art Walk was a good show but I didnt make much money.
  • Thunderbird Artists Carefree (AZ) Fine Art Festival
  • Toledo -Crosby Gardens
  • Two Rivers Art Expo - Des Moines
  • Uncommon Objects, Oberlin OH
  • Washington Square Art Show NYC
  • Wausau, Wisconsin (about 25k to 30k attend)
  • Woodstock, IL (Only did one-I do well, but not the rule of thumb)

Any other Comment?

Random Ideas:

"Along the lines of the International Program in Denver it may be interesting to have a U.S. program - i.e. Landscape Painters of New England or Glass Blowers of MN"

The best new angle idea promoters could do is to treat shows like a business! great sales = great artists = great reputation Art festivals as educating the community is a dead end road!

It doesnt seem to matter be it Cherry Creek, Baltimore, Philly Museum, The Grove, Ann Arbor and art show is an art show is an art show-outside is the elements- the crowd ranges from bright knowledgeable to dull and loud-so in the end with the best shows sales will be good-its just how the promoter/ committee treats the arts-like a treasure or a commodity.

In addition to Art Shows, there are many other show venues certain artists could avail themselves of. Garden shows (big ones like Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, etc.). Also certain prestigious Antique/Folk Art Shows are a possibility if you have the right kind of art. Many people think of art as a luxury, while an object for the garden or an heirloom is much easier to justify.

I enjoyed Banister Popes words from the IFEA convention. He hit it all. Thanks for the reprint of it.

Larry O. & Bannister, excellent job!

Cherry Creeks new policy on inviting only 1st place winners back is HORRID! Some artists are judged good enough for 2nd or 3rd place but not good enough to be invited back? Come on!

Some of the best shows keep getting bigger-bigger is not better. I see a lot of fine art shows that allow trendy crafts in and I feel that lowers the quality of the whole show.

Show fees keep getting higher while more booths are added. Promoters are making more money, exhibitors are not. Id like to see more artist run shows. Fourth St. Festival in Bloomington is artist run. The fee has not changed for several years and there are never more than 100 exhibitors, and its a thriving show!

Booth fees seem to have skyrocketed (10-20%+) in 98. Numerous well established shows are now in the $500 and up range. Add in travel costs and this is pushing artists without employees, right out of the market-a shame, since this is where most of the exciting/ innovative work stems from.

"Pensacola Great Gulf Coast & St. Pete Mainsail show both take your jury fee and ask how many years you have been in their show, if youve been accepted too many years you are outed but they keep your jury fee. Why call it a juried show, if it isnt.

"Im beginning to not apply or seriously reconsider applying to shows which ask for application fees over $10/$15. I do not apply to shows which ask for booth fees (if over $100) with the application. Questionnaires of the patrons attending the show is very important, many shows are losing attendance & need to know their patrons opinions."

I am concerned about escalating exhibit cost when it appears that a lot of shows do little to advertise: take Oakbrook this year. ACC shows are really expensive & so far (Columbus, Baltimore, & St. Paul) sales have been poor.

Show food is almost always awful. The three important categories (in my humble opinion) are sales, quality of exhibition, and promotion. High marks in other categories are icing on the cake.

Too many shows in some area-example: Howard Allen-Las Olas show defeats the purpose of the Museums Las Olas Show.

We need more high quality, (uniquely market to right collectors), indoor shows.

A lot of shows are becoming like carnivals with too many clowns & magicians. I feel these draw the juvenile crowd-and people will stand in one spot too long. Either the spot light should be on ART or put on a country fair! I do favor sophisticated music like jazz or chamber music.

One other comment regarding all shows is the number of exhibitors compare to the draw. A huge show must draw the numbers or it just dilutes the available dollars. Any given area can support only so many exhibitors, and the sponsoring organization should have a feel for that. They know their area better than the exhibitors, but sometimes get greedy and expand too much.

1. Music, peripheral programs etc. attract people who clog up parking and other facilities that should be available to people who came to see the artists.
2. Florida shows should judge the whole booth, not just one piece.

On MLF-admission for public too high-should be 2 days not 3-drop Friday. Coconut Grove 1998 info claimed one million in 3 days. I doubt they had 250,000.

Weve been addressing the important issue of show refunds, but we havent addressed the responsibility of artists to cancel a show when they first know it is necessary in order to give their fellow artists a fair opportunity to take over their space early enough & plan their show season. Im disgusted with some artists (even friends!) who intentionally do not notify a show because they have an attitude that they paid for the space, so its theirs (Hopefully, this kind of attitude would change if their fees were refunded!)"

When listing shows in any best list, it might be good idea to qualify the high ratings with across the board mediums-New East Side in Chicago was perhaps the worst show in my 30 years of exhibiting-though its listed in 200 Best in Sunshine Artist. I think respondents are stretching their sales results-and/or the list people take high sales from one jeweler and one clay guy and presume its show-wide.

"Many West Coast Artists never travel east of the Rockies. The predominance of eastern artists will skew your results."

"I would love to see the Show Ranking by Sales disappear. Ever since SA started theirs it is a crap shoot to see who gets in for the few spaces left after invited artists get their spaces. 2000 apps per show so maybe 200 apps per category are the judges still able toe see app #200 and rate it the same as #1, doubtful. Word of mouth worked for me."

Top 9 things I look for in a good show: 1)Attendance 2)Sales (one usually implies the other) 3)Prize money 4)Professional application form 5)Day before set up 6)Van access to space 7)Top notch security 8)Return booth fee if cancel with enough notice (one month) 9)Artist parking close to show.

Volunteers need to be better trained in food booths to be considerate of artists (allowing coolers to drain in streets)! Volunteers at gates sometimes dont let us in at stated times. Award breakfasts are too hard-they would be more of a celebration at night.

"I am an artists full time - depending on show income for my entire existence. The field is becoming more competitive with the influx of weekend artists. I would like to see extra point scores as jury scores for full time artists - if that would be possible to prove."

"All Shows generally seem to need to do more advertising and promotion. The Atlanta Show Formerly in Sept moving to June seems about the worst idea ever. Application fees are too high, probably no hope of change I think it outrageous that photographers dont have to have a limit on production-not only that but most dont even print their own photos. Just phone home and have few more thousands sent out."

"Health Insurance - What about it? In general it seems the staff of NAIA have made a great effort to see this through and their efforts are respected and appreciated. I hope my few comments are of some help."

I was almost arrested at Beaux Arts this year-and am going through an extremely inconvenient and possibly expensive struggle now to deal with it. Is it possible to address the reoccurring phenomenon of over-zealous police officers directing traffic? I know this has happened at other shows to other people.

Thank you again so much for what you are doing-the direction you are going in general and specifically is wonderful. Street artists are the most generally capable group of people that I know of, so the more input from us, the better.

"Allow artists professional growth opportunities - permit a small percentage of artwork to be shown that is outside the jurying category (perhaps 25%) as long as the work is 1. Original and 2. The same 2D or 3D as the juried category. We all must have opportunities to grow artistically. Otherwise we risk doing the same old thing for years. If show committees are going to permit offset reproductions, they must begin to be flexible regarding expanding the media that an artist is permitted to exhibit. Perhaps the applications might require the selection of one jurying category. Many of us are proficient in a variety of media but have no opportunity to obtain market feedback or interaction. Audiences would certainly benefit from viewing an artists versatility. Shows would be enhanced by an upgrade in professionalism."

I know artists that have joined NAIA that really operate a production studio with employees making the work that the artist goes out to sell. I find it frustrating. I know everyone can use studio help, but when you have a manufacturing business, applying to every show, and bumping out artist who truly make their work, it makes me crazy!

It seems that the burden is always placed on the artist to meet the level of the audience. I see very little indication that the shows efforts at promoting the show address the issue of trying to recruit an audience to reach up to the level of the art. I believe promoters need more urging in that dept. It would be nice to have a partnership between the artists and promoters i n educating the public. Why should it be only up to the artist."

Show Mechanics:

"I like shows that have some seating areas for the audience - shows, such as the Uptown, Minneapolis, where people have to sit on the curb to eat, have absolutely no ambience, or good atmosphere. That show also has too many booths."

Small booth spaces-with no breathing space between booths. All booths should be at least 12x12 and if clustered all could be corner booths. Shows that measure 10x10 abutted to each other should be eliminated.

"My no. 1 problem is lack of space to store my works within easy reach of my booth. I can think of 3 solutions to this problem: 1. Supply generous space behind booth. 2. Provide parking within one short block of booth. 3. Provide nearby storage areas."

"The Marion Art Festival (Marion IA/Cedar Rapids area) is a good example of doing everything right: Great Informative Brochure Nice 1 day show Limited to 50 artists (just right for space/crowd) Good location Booth sitters - Nice snacks Purchase Awards Enjoyable crowd Judged food Great Community Event."

Booth location/ show layout is becoming an issue for me. As shows grow to increase revenue artists are in danger of doing poorly because of show geography. This did not used to be an issue (at least not often).

"No map to shows location. Why is exhibitor parking made to be so difficult for restocking ones booth? Food vendors are allowed to park in an area that allows them to maintain inventory. Security is too lax at many shows. Exhibitors are at a show to sell their work. Often it seems a committee is prejudiced against exhibitors who sell too well."


Lets really separate factory artists & individual artists. So much work at shows are represented to be made by artists who see their work for the first time at shows-made by their employees. And...lets have artists on all juries!

Less or NO buy & sell crap. Promoter seem too money hungry & the artists who make original art get killed at shows; i.e. made in Taiwan, Mexico, etc.

"Clearer rules regarding offset reproductions of paintings. Two shows were vague about this, so I assumed no prints, then found that most artists had prints and were not being challenged. (I shoulda called...) ENFORCE RULES! ENFORCE RULES! ENFORCE RULES!

Shows should require artist to be present-no reps. Cottage industries & major studio operations dont belong in shows its misleading to the buying public.

"More photo IDs . Too many people using stand-ins/agents"


Restrooms for artist only would be good.

Early (night before) set-up is always appreciated by those of us who work alone. Artists only restroom facilities (like at South Haven Summer art Fair, South Haven MI-July) are a godsend...at the very least, running water should be available for washing up at every show. I wish everyone (artists and public) would leave their dogs at home-they dont belong at art fairs!

"There are a lot of vegetarian/vegan artists - wed like shows to consider this when planning menus at brunches, dinners & when choosing vendors."

Application & Notification:

Please move the jury notification closer to the application deadline; and please, please provide notification when you say you will.These long lag times are driving us mad- we cannot plan a sensible schedule.

In light of the fact, we must apply to multiple show per weekend-I would like to see major shows that fall on the same weekend coordinate their notification and refund dates. Shows need to understand this problem. I also am concerned about application abuses like multiple applications and proxy exhibitors.

"Alternates! Scottsdale AZ did not use their alternates even though they were on hand & they had several cancellations ahead of time. Where does an artist Stand. You cant make waves or you will never be in the show. Shows need to stand by their word or not have alternate lists. Also-Artist should be present. Require ID"

"Small shows with little pressure can be very good - not breaking into the numbers of the big ones - but if some more of the small shows do things right the sales can be there!"

"Shows that send out participating artist lists with artists acceptance letter offer these artists a chance to share lodging expenses. For those of us doing shows mostly by ourselves, it is a welcome opportunity to associate with other independents and also saves considerable expense."

The applications are still lousy, no dates on 1 I got. Very hard to find deadlines & other simple info, I dont need all the redundant garbage-JUST when, where, and how much.--- Too many people have a view that we are beyond the fringes of society and close to being charity cases and for one weekend they will be our savior and they can view all this art?? And impress their friends and it will make them feel good about their responsibility to the down trodden. But then when you look at many of the artists and their overall appearance can we blame them. We had better get our own house in order before we demand more amenities from promoters. I dont want bananas & donuts, I want a crowd who knows why Im there!!

I would like to see my scores on the decline notices how many accepted, how many applied. This is not universal. I would like to know my application was appreciated. Park City sent back my slides unprotected with only a receipt for my check period. Pretty cold. In awarding prizes, dont put W.C. in with oil & acrylic. Even the best doesnt stand a chance. The degree of difficulty is 100% different. Think about it."

Show applications-include how slides are projected. Also shows should describe what purpose and weight booth slide hold in the jury process.

Tell who are jurors.

Use artists for some jurors.

"Jurying by slides only does a disservice to both artists & shows. Applications should give more space to describe artistic process, provide brief bio/resume. Show juries should then read that information."

"I recently did the La Quinta Arts Festival in La Quinta CA. I was unsettled by the 20% commission on top of the booth fee ($250 for standard). Also, there was an $8 gate fee w/ an estimated crowd of 25K. I won 1st place in Sculpture & was awarded $300. My comment - no show is worth having to pay a booth fee & a percentage!! Either or... and if a gate fee - bigger award purses."

I think jury fees are way out of line today. Certainly $10 or $15 should be tops. If necessary, promoters should raise show fees to cover costs, not jury fees. If we have to pay $20 or $25 to jury in, at least we should have our jury scores returned to us!


Photography must be separated from images manipulated on computers. Sausalito did not do that and photographers suffered. Any manipulated image must be shown as computer art. I will not attend this show again or any show that does not spell this out. Also b/w and color need to be judged separately. Judges at Sausalito said oh photography, computers are ok. Who cares how they arrive at the final image. This is a clear slap in the face by judges not in photography. I know this was said because I was at the judging.

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