NAIA INITIATIVES AND COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS

The following list indicates the current issues that the NAIA advocates. It can be referenced whenever there is any question about the official position of the organization. The list will be updated periodically as the need arises. If an issue is not on this list, then it is not an official position of the organization. Click on printer icon at bottom of page to print a copy
  1. Standardization of Show Applications
    The design, layout, and content of applications are the decisions of each individual show. The NAIA encourages festivals to incorporate the information presented in the standardized show application available on our webpage. This information has been compiled from numerous applications and incorporates the important information that artists need regarding a show.
  2. Standardized Slide Format
    The NAIA strongly advocates that all shows adopt the standardized slide format indicated on our webpage. This standardized format is a simple and logical approach that allows artists to reuse entry slides.
  3. Booth Fees/Refund Policy
    The NAIA advocates that booth fees be due within a practical time after acceptance, and that reasonable refund policies be established for artists who must cancel. A reasonable refund policy would include sensible time restrictions and moderate charges to accommodate any administrative show costs.
  4. Advocacy with Shows and Show Directors
    It is essential that shows understand and consider the artistsí point of view. In turn, it is incumbent on artists to provide whatever information and assistance they can to the shows. The NAIA encourages these efforts on both local and national levels.
  5. Wait List
    The NAIA advocates that all shows have a clear wait-list procedure incorporated with their jury process.
  6. Hardship Clause
    If an artist is truly unable to attend a show in person due to illness, family emergency, or extenuating circumstances we recommend a compassionate policy be created to accommodate this one time hardship. The NAIA realizes that directors will have to evaluate each situation on a case-by-case basis.
  7. Early Acceptance Notification
    Shows are encouraged to issue early notification dates and, when possible, dates that are coordinated with other shows within the same time frame. Early notification dates allow artists to better plan their show schedules and their work schedules.
  8. Security
    Security is of the utmost importance to artists. Shows are encouraged to maximize their efforts in this area, particularly regarding overnight security for artwork and booths. Additional volunteer personnel serving as observers can greatly enhance the efforts of a few authorized security guards.
  9. Rule Enforcement
    The NAIA strongly advocates the enforcement of rules. All shows should seriously evaluate their rules, change or eliminate inappropriate rules, and enforce those rules that they choose to keep.
  10. Artist Information Statements
    The purpose of an artist information statement is to identify, inform, and educate. It provides important information to the viewer and also helps eliminate proxy exhibitors and misrepresentation, concerns often voiced by both artists and show committees. The NAIA advocates (not mandates) the use of an artist information statement and recommends the guidelines outlined on our webpage so that the same statement could be used for all shows, similar to the suggested slide format.
  11. Category Advisory Panel
    A National Category Advisory Panel has been formed to educate and serve as a resource for show directors and artists. Their names and contact information can be found on our webpage and in this newsletter. The function of the advisors is to provide objective information on technique, materials, processes, etc. pertaining to their category. They also should serve as a receptor of information and concerns of other artists within their category. Under no circumstances should category advisors be asked to serve as rule enforcers or make enforcement decisions. They also should not have any influence or authority over other artists or communicate personal positions contrary to the economic welfare or professional integrity of other artists. The NAIA encourages shows and artists to use these advisors as a resource.
  12. Artists Included in Jury Process
    The NAIA advocates the inclusion of artists who exhibit at art festivals to be included on slide jury panels. Many exhibiting artists have excellent credentials, a deep understanding of our profession, and a high degree of professionalism. They provide a perspective that, when used in conjunction with gallery owners, curators, or academics, can improve the traditional jury panel.
  13. Booth Spaces
    The NAIA advocates a miniumum booth space of 12' wide by 10' deep for ease of set up. It also encourages adequate space allotment behind the booth for storage of inventory.
  14. Proxy Exhibitors
    Art festivals present a unique opportunity for the public to meet artists. The NAIA encourages festivals to require that the artist be present for the duration of the event.
  15. Reproductions (2D and 3D)
    The official position of the NAIA on reproductions is objective education. There is a continuum of festivals including those that do not allow reproductions on one end and those that allow any form of reproduction including buy/sell items on the other end. It is the responsibility of each event to determine where on this continuum they want to place their show. The NAIA will answer any questions, explain any processes, or explain how to identify production methods. It is the showís option to use this information in conjunction with any other input from any other sources to help them with their decision.
  16. Misrepresentation
    The NAIA opposes misrepresentation of any kind and advocates clear explanation of process. Misrepresentation is a threat to the important public perception of the integrity of both the artists and art festivals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is it true that the NAIA was organized by a group of photographers?
A: No. The NAIA was formed by artists in a variety of categories including photography. In the early stages of the organization there were three photographers that were very active. The President is a photographer.

Q: Why do some people have the misconception that photographers formed the NAIA?
A: Perhaps this misconception came about because photographers held a specific category meeting shortly after the formation of the NAIA. When information was reported pertaining to this photography category meeting some people may have confused the two occurrences. All this information is clearly outlined in our early newsletters but the membership was smaller then and fewer people had accurate information. Somehow erroneous rumors spread throughout the artist grapevine and, to this day, some artists still donít understand that the organization was started by artists in a variety of categories. In fact, an artistís category is far less important to the organization than an ability to consider issues beyond his or her personal career.

Q: Does being a NAIA member help an artist get accepted into a show?
A: Being a NAIA member should neither help nor hinder any artistís chances of being accepted into a show. The quality of an artistís work should be the determining factor.

Q: Is there any truth to a rumor regarding some sort of blacklist and/or a preferred list?
A:
The NAIA has absolutely no say in determining if any artist is accepted or rejected from a show. There is no blacklist or preferred list of artists.

Q: How do you respond to the fact that some artists have referred to the NAIA as an elitist organization?
A:
If one looks at the requirements for membership it would be extremely far fetched to interpret those requirements as elitist. A review of the issues that the NAIA advocates also does not indicate elitism. The organization has emphasized the pursuit of excellence in our individual members and in the venues where we exhibit. Perhaps some individuals may interpret this as elitist, but we view the pursuit of excellence as a positive endeavor.

Q: How do you respond to those who say that the NAIA does not represent all artists?
A: The NAIA has never maintained that it represents all artists. We represent our membership which we feel is composed of artists concerned enough about our profession to become active and involved. The input of these members guides the organization. This does not imply that there arenít well intentioned, concerned artists who are not members. It merely means that those who recognize the value of having a collective voice and an organization to represent them have found the membership valuable and it is these artists that we represent.

Q: Could you elaborate on the issue of reproductions?
A: Long before the NAIA existed, various art festivals made the decision to include or exclude reproductions from their show. These decisions were based on the direction the show committees wanted to take their event and an assessment of the community that would be supporting the show. These same factors need to be considered as shows reevaluate their efforts. Because of conferences like the International Festival and Events Association and the Art Festivals and Artists Conference hosted by the NAIA, shows are now communicating more with each other and sharing information about the successes and failures of their attempts at improvement. In some cases, shows are modeling themselves after successful shows on each side of the reproduction issue. In all cases, the triangle formed by the artists, the community, and the show committees needs to be a good fit in order for the event to be successful.

Q: If the position of the NAIA on reproductions is objective education, how do you explain the non-objective comments of some of the board members on the members forum?
A: The comments were expressed as individual opinions and not those of the organization. This is a crucial distinction. There are eleven artists that comprise the board of directors. On any given issue all board members do not necessarily agree. To expect total agreement from any board would be truly unrealistic. Therefore, it should not be surprising that comments or feelings of an individual board member may differ from the position of the organization. However, each individual board member still has a right to his or her personal opinion just as each individual artist has that same right.


The intention of this article was twofold. The first purpose was to provide a concise overview of the NAIA and the policies it advocates. This should prove helpful to anyone who is unfamiliar with the organization or who has not followed its progress. The second goal was to address the misconceptions that exist regarding the NAIA. The organization, through its newsletter and webpage, has been very open about communicating the actions that it has taken. We have worked positively and constructively with a variety of shows, including shows with policies on both sides of the reproduction issue. In the future, we will continue to pursue many of the same objectives as well as new concerns that arise. The NAIA has made significant accomplishments in a relatively short period of time but much more remains to be done. Hopefully, some of the misconceptions have been addressed and everyone will have a clearer understanding of our organization.

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