ADVOCACIES

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.

The purpose of these documents is to raise the awareness of those aspects of art shows that directly affect artists and to open a dialogue among show directors and artists in order that we may work together to improve art shows. NAIA is dedicated to advocating from the artist?s perspective while recognizing the interdependence existing among us all.

In 1995, NAIA was founded by a group of dedicated artists who believed it was time for artists to join and speak with a collective voice. At that time, there were several key issues for which NAIA chose to advocate. They were listed on the NAIA website as goals and initiatives, and served to guide NAIA in its endeavors. We recently completed a yearlong strategic planning. We have identified through surveys of both our membership and the larger group of art show artists, the desire that we strengthen our advocacy efforts.

NAIA is certain that art fairs and their directors recognize the profound importance and value of the artist?s point of view. NAIA recognizes that art shows have unique and important positions that deserve the same kind of consideration as the artists.

NAIA believes that by considering the perspectives of both the show and the artists and by learning the requirements for the success of each, that we will grow, prosper, and preserve the uniqueness of art shows. Many of us, shows and artists alike, have been involved in providing the public with an opportunity to view art, meet artists, and purchase art for over 35 years. We believe we all should do everything within our powers to continue this unique American phenomenon for generations to come.

NAIA accepts your help in assuming this responsibility. Our interdependence in this endeavor is indisputable.

National Association of Independent Artists 2006 Board of Directors:

Michael Kopald
Richard Carner
Bonnie Blandford
Janet Parke
Sally J. Bright
Paul Germain
Woody Jones
Suzanne Juneau
Bruce Meyer
Sarah Rishel

NAIA ADVOCACIES

Artist Advisors
The NAIA urges all shows to develop an Artist Advisory Committee of artists who participate in art shows to consult on all aspects of the show’s policies.

Application Process Advocacies

Prospectus
NAIA urges shows to create a concise but clear prospectus.
It should include an explanation of the jury process and spaces available.
It should not request Social Security numbers.

Jury Process
The NAIA advocates for a knowledgeable jury panel and a
full disclosure of the jury process and practices.

Image Formatting & Viewing
The NAIA advocates that all shows adopt a standard method for marking slides to enable artist’s use of a slide for more than one application, rather than repeatedly re-labeling slides for each show to which they apply.

For any show that chooses to use digital images for jury submission, the NAIA advocates that the show adopt a standard digital image format, to avoid constant re-formatting of jury images and multiple uploads.

NAIA also advocates that shows adopt a standard method for viewing the images so artists can prepare their images correctly for the exact viewing conditions and thus be assured their images are viewed properly.

Cancellations & Refunds
The NAIA advocates that all 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.

Wait List
The NAIA urges art shows to adopt a clear wait list policy, and state plainly the method by which wait listed artists will be informed of openings in the show.

Hardship Cancellation
The NAIA advocates that art festivals 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.

Operational Process Advocacies

Security
NAIA advocates that 24-hour security be provided at the show site, and to and from parking areas, from the beginning of load-in to the end of load-out.

Load-in/Load-out
NAIA advocates that a systemized process for load-in and load-out be implemented.

Booth Space
NAIA advocates for a minimum 12′ x 12′ booth space for each artist that is free from obstruction and easily accessible in patrons? traffic flow.

Parking
NAIA advocates that free or reasonably priced easily accessible parking be provided for artists? vehicles throughout the duration of the show.

ADA Accommodations
The NAIA urges all shows to be aware of the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act as it may pertain to accessibility by artists and patrons with disabilities. Further, the NAIA advocates that all shows make such reasonable accommodations as will permit artists with disabilities to participate as exhibitors in the show.

Procedural Advocacies

Proxies
The NAIA encourages shows to require accepted artists to appear in person for the entire show. The NAIA advocates that proxies at shows be prohibited except in the most extenuating of circumstances.

Rule Enforcement
The NAIA advocates that an art show?s rules for artists be clear and readily accessible. A show?s stature will be enhanced by fairly and consistently applying the rules.

Copyright
The NAIA reminds shows that artists hold copyrights on their images. Shows should be aware that the use of artists? images beyond any permission specifically granted by the artist is subject to the copyright laws of the United States.

Grievances
The NAIA encourages shows to develop fair and equitable grievance procedures through which artists can voice their complaints without retribution.

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ARTIST ADVISORS

The NAIA urges all shows to develop an Artist Advisory Committee of artists who participate in art shows to consult on all aspects of the show’s policies.

The artist community is filled with artists who have participated in art shows around the country for many years. These artists have a wealth of first-hand experience in seeing both the good and the rough in shows of many varieties: large and small, shows run by non-profit and for-profit businesses, shows organized by community volunteers and professional paid staff. They have experienced weather issues of the extremes, security concerns, and booth layout inequities. They have seen the results of good marketing campaigns, and the shows that fade when sales are poor. Artists add to that wealth of knowledge with each show they do. A wise show can benefit from this knowledge.

Strengths of an Artist Advisory Committee

Producing an art show is a large endeavor. Artists recognize that for many show directors, producing the show is a full-time-plus job. For some directors, it is just one of a number of tasks within their job functions. For others, it is a volunteer effort they may give to their community as a fundraising effort for a larger cause. In each case, the director is focused on the development and operation of their own show, and may not have the time, energy or budget to communicate with or travel to learn from other shows.

Artists, on the other hand, are communicating with and traveling to those shows. As part of their business in participating in shows, they are observing the mechanics of the shows, communicating one-on-one with the patrons at the shows, and sharing information with their fellow artists. As a result, artists develop a perspective on the shows that directors who may be focused on other operational aspects may never have the opportunity to see.

Drawing from the experience and knowledge of artists is a service that shows should not overlook. Among areas that artists can advise may be:

  • Site location and booth layouts What makes a good show site? How do terrain surfaces affect artists and patrons? How can a show create a booth layout that maximizes patron flow and provides all artists with equal and good locations? How might shows address issues with spaces that are not as good as others? How much space do artists need to be able to set up and display properly? How do layouts affect patron enjoyment? What are some of the wind issues that affect booths and booth layouts? How can a show honor artist space requests (such as being near a companion artist, or adaptations due to physical issues, etc.) without causing undue burden on the show?
  • Artistic medium information What are the different artistic mediums and how are they defined? What medium categories might a show want to specify? What does a particular art term or medium technique mean? What are some of the new and cutting edge mediums and techniques that artists are creating? When do medium categories restrict, rather than promote, artistic creativity?
  • Load in and load out procedures and traffic flow How can traffic flow be directed to help the setup and breakdown process run smoothly? How much time does an artist need to safely and adequately setup and breakdown their booths? What are the issues around dollying to a booth and artwork? How do weather issues and security issues affect artists in their set up and break down? How do parking issues affect an artist’s ability to do a show? What are some of the vehicle size issues that artists have when trying to park? What kinds of procedures might a show have to evacuate artists in an emergency?
  • Security procedures, including parking Why is security in parking areas critical to artists? How can shows offer secure parking to artists? When are parking issues a “make or break” factor in participating in a show?
  • Police or security presence What effect does visible police presence have on artists and on patrons? How much security is enough? What are the overnight issues for artists? Why is security so critical during set up and break down, and during opening and closing each day? What are some good, yet cost-effective, security measures that shows can do? How can a show communicate security procedures to artists, and what methods can be used to insure artists are able to quickly contact security personnel with needed?
  • Weather alert procedures What kinds of obligations should shows assume in advising artists of pending adverse weather issues? How can shows quickly get word out to artists about weather concerns? What kinds of procedures should shows have in place to deal with weather emergencies?
  • Event marketing How and why is target marketing crucial to the artist? How can artists assist you in marketing your show?
  • Artist liaison and communication How can your artist advisors act as liaisons between your show and artists at the show, and with artists in general? Why will other artists sometimes communicate better with your advisors, than with the show directly? How does sharing knowledge about all aspects of your show encourage artists to support your show? How can artist advisors help your show’s patrons?

Developing an Artist Advisory Committee

Choosing the artists to be on your committee can be as enjoyable as it is informative. The chances are that artists you invite will be honored to serve.

Considerations in selecting your Artist Advisory Committee may include:

  • Balance: Aim to create a balance of artist backgrounds and perspectives: ethnic diversity, range of mediums, experience in arts festivals (i.e., local/regional/national experience; number of years doing festivals, etc.)
  • A willingness to look at the larger perspective: Seek artists who understand that they represent the larger body of artists, rather than pushing their own personal agendas. Advisors should be willing to share their experiences and use their collective reasoning and ideas to advise and suggest solutions to issues regarding artist needs and wants, as well as the enjoyment of the festival-going public. Additionally, seek advisors who are willing to keep in mind the realities of the festival organization: budgets; event sponsor expectations; city laws; politics and issues; neighborhood concerns; etc.
  • Term rotation: Consider establishing term limits and rotations in order to 1) allow committee members an understanding of the commitment that is expected of them; 2) stimulate new ideas and enthusiasm by bringing in new committee members; 3) eliminate concerns of favoritism or cronyism among artists who are not on the committee. Artists have a vested interest in seeing art shows survive and thrive. By including artists into the production process, shows may fill a gap that may exist between their concept of an event, and the reality as viewed through the artist’s perspective. The result can be an enriched and more successful event for all.

Artists have a vested interest in seeing art shows survive and thrive. By including artists into the production process, shows may fill a gap that may exist between their concept of an event, and the reality as viewed through the artist?s perspective. The result can be an enriched and more successful event for all.

PROSPECTUS

NAIA urges shows to create a concise but clear prospectus. It should include an explanation of the jury process and spaces available. It should not request Social Security numbers.

Prospectus
The design, layout and content of applications are the decisions of each individual show. Artists do not expect nor want all shows to be clones of one another. However, in order to make educated decisions when applying to shows, artists tend to look for specific information in a show?s prospectus. The NAIA has developed a model prospectus to assist shows in developing a complete and comprehensive prospectus, which can be accessed at https://naia-artists.org/work/prospectus.htm. A few specific areas are discussed below.

  • Jury Process
    Artists seek relevant information concerning the jurors and the dynamics of the jury process to be better assured of fair competition among applicants. (Please reference our paper on Jury Process for further information.)
  • Spaces Available
    Artists want to know the probabilities of securing a space in the show, including how many spaces are available in the entire show, how many available in each category, the number of pre-invited artists, and the number of spaces reserved for director invitations.
  • No Social Security Numbers
    In this age when identity theft is a real concern to all, special attention must be given to the accumulation, intended use and destruction of specific personal information. The Federal Trade Commission advises individuals that before revealing any personal identity information they should find out how it will be used, how it will be secured, if it will be shared with others, and how it will be destroyed. Since artists apply to shows as individuals or small collaborations, show applications contain information of a personal nature. Personal data, and especially a social security number, is ripe for identity theft. Only if an artist receives a monetary award at the show should the show ask for a Social Security or Employer ID number. In fact, the show can hold the award check until the artist has given the show their Social Security or Employer ID number. However, it is obligatory to destroy copies of artists’ Social Security numbers after filing appropriate governmental reporting forms.

Please take notice that Federal law forbids any individual from requiring another individual to disclose his/her Social Security Account Number, unless said individual is requesting benefits from the Social Security Administration or is using the number to report income or request a refund. The Privacy Act of 1974 states, “It shall be unlawful… to deny to any individual any right, benefit, or privilege provided by law because of such individual’s refusal to disclose his social security number.” Section 7(a)(1), 5 USC § 552a
(Note – NAIA advises shows to seek legal counsel with regard to use of artists Social Security numbers if they have any questions in this regard.)

  • Define Rules
    In order for artists to select and apply to those shows which best suit their own business policies, all rules of a show need to be listed and defined in the prospectus.

JURY PROCESS

The NAIA advocates for a knowledgeable jury panel and a full disclosure of the jury process and practices.

More than any other aspect of the application process, the jury process is the most critical. It is of primary importance to the artist. The jury is the only means outside of invitation by which the artist is able to secure their participation in the show, and thereby gain the ability to sell their work.

The jury process is the key to setting the overall tone of the show by determining its look, its attractiveness to your patron, and ultimately, your show’s ongoing reputation with the public and artists alike.

Just as the artist applicant has the responsibility to submit his or her most professional and honest presentation for the show’s jury, the show has the responsibility to the artist to insure that the jury process is conducted professionally and employs the highest standards.

The jury application fee is a fee for service — the service of a jury that gives each artist applicant an equitable and equal chance for invitation — and is something that should be taken seriously by both parties. The optimal way to provide this equal chance is through a fair and knowledgeable jury, and a clear understanding of how the jury operates. The proper management of the entire process by the Show Director and staff in addition to the mechanical process of judging artwork by projected image is essential in ensuring that each artist’s work is given the same fair and thorough examination.

Jury Members
Foremost in establishing a good jury process is to ensure that selection of the jury members is carefully and thoughtfully done.

A jury panel that is knowledgeable, fair-minded, well versed in a wide range of artistic mediums, and recognizes that the responsibility of a juror includes:

  • A broad and well rounded knowledge of art
  • An ability to assess art beyond one’s own taste
  • Integrity
  • A non-cynical, open-minded approach to art in general and, in particular, to art, show art and its artists

NAIA advocates that shows disclose the following information to artist applicants about its jurors:

  • A listing of the juror’s qualifications and credentials on the show prospectus or web site where it is accessible to artists prior to the application deadline
  • Disclosing whether members of the jury are working artists who participate in art shows
  • Disclosing whether a new jury is impaneled each year, or whether jurors are called back over subsequent years
  • Disclosing whether show selection jurors and award jurors are the same individuals

Jury Process Disclosures
Certain standards and essential practices are important to the integrity of the jury process. Shows are urged to communicate the specifics used in their jury process to artists in the application.

  • Instructions and criteria the show communicates to the jury for scoring.
    • The charge to the jury should be understandable and the responsibility of the task clearly stated.
  • Specifics as to the use of the booth slide in the jury process.
  • The method of image projection (i.e., slides, digital projection, monitor viewing, etc.)
  • The order of image projection, and approximate length of time each artist’s images are projected
  • Whether all jurors will view artists’ images together in the same room at the same time
  • Whether a Slide Information Statement submitted by artist applicants is read to the jury
  • Whether discussion is allowed or the jury is conducted in silence
  • The number of spaces available to be filled by jury
  • The number of spaces filled by invitation or director’s discretion
  • The show’s policies for artists who are exempt from the jury
  • A breakdown of spaces by medium or category
  • The process by which artists can be informed of their jury scores, and the relation of the score to the cutoff score for invitation to the show

A well-juried show is a tremendous asset to itself and all who participate. It gives artists the assurance to apply secure in the knowledge that their application will be fairly and thoroughly considered. Just as importantly, the show is secure that it is providing the highest quality exhibition and sale of artwork of which it is capable.

Jury Process Recommendations
Historically, the jury process has been wrapped in mystery for the artist since little information about it has been shared. For this reason, the NAIA chooses at this time to advocate only for disclosure. As shows begin to disclose their jury information in accordance with this advocacy, it will present the opportunity for NAIA to conduct a collective analysis with an eye toward developing jury recommendations in the future.

IMAGE FORMATTING AND VIEWING

The NAIA advocates that all shows adopt a standard method for marking slides to enable artists’ use of slides for more than one application, rather than repeatedly re-labeling slides for each show to which they apply.

For any show that chooses to use digital images for jury submission, the NAIA advocates that the show adopt a standard digital image format, to avoid constant re-formatting of jury images and multiple uploads.

NAIA also advocates that shows adopt a standard method for viewing the images so artists can prepare their images correctly for the exact viewing conditions and thus be assured their images are viewed properly.

An artist?s entry into a juried art show is based upon one overriding factor: a strong presentation of his or her artwork that informs the show?s jury in the best manner possible. In these days of strong competition at art shows, artists often turn to professionals to render their images to most accurately represent the artwork under specific viewing conditions. However, to be able to do so, the artist must know ahead of time the exact specifications for how the jury will view the images.

Informing the artist about viewing specifications is the responsibility of the art show. Submitting the proper images is the responsibility of the artist. It would be fair to say that if either party falls short, then both parties are hurt. The artist, for lack of good images of their work, may lose an opportunity to participate in a show that they are otherwise well qualified to do. The show may end up with a pool of applicants, and subsequently exhibitors, that reflect the effort, or lack of effort, the show may have made in informing the artists.

Slides
While technology is shifting to digital images, the NAIA wishes to remind shows that they should not feel pressured to accelerate a move to digital formats. In fact, unless and until a show feels comfortable and conversant in digital processes, it is perfectly acceptable (and preferable to artists) to continue to request slides. Almost every artist still maintains a set of slides.
In order to reduce the burden of an artist needing to continually re-label slides to meet a show?s requirements, the NAIA advocates that shows adopt the NAIA ?red dot? slide labeling standard, more fully described here.

Digital Images
As art shows do move over to digital images, artists are increasingly challenged by the introduction of digital cameras and the various software programs that are taking over what were formally dark room activities. The introduction of these changing technologies implies that entirely new procedures must be utilized both by the artist/craftsperson in preparing the images, as well as the prospective shows as it pertains to viewing these images.

The anxiety and false starts may go away with time, but the transition from slides to digital images will not be reversed. Therefore, it is in the interests of both parties, artists and shows, that there is a clear-cut method that governs these procedures.

The reasons for this are readily apparent. This new technology has been filled with questions, confusion, and anxiety for those wishing to apply to shows, and for shows themselves. Artists must contend with a host of issues including scanning slides of work, resizing images that have been converted electronically, and other formatting issues. Shows that are making the transition from vast piles of slide carousels to organizing data on sophisticated memory card readers or databases are often as equally challenged. Organizing files and sizing images so that they are projected properly are just two problems that come to mind.

The prerequisite concern of the NAIA is that as shows make the transition from jury by slide to jury by digital image, that they avoid the temptation to develop their own digital formatting requirements without careful research into digital image projection matters and consideration of standard digital formatting specifications already in use by other shows and to which artists are already adapting.

At present, there are two highly visible digital formats in use by arts shows. Both of these systems have developed specific formatting requirements, based upon the methods each uses for projection of artist images. As more shows license these systems, more artists are sizing their images to these formats. Whether or not a show chooses to license either of these formats, NAIA urges shows to carefully review their image requirements. In order to reduce confusion, time and additional expense for artists and shows alike, and until such time as another ?standard? may be developed, the NAIA advocates that art shows adopt one of these two formats when asking for digital images from artists.

Further information and comparison of these formats can be found here.

CANCELLATIONS AND REFUNDS

The NAIA advocates that all 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.

This is a very important issue for all artists who participate in art shows. A show that considers an application as a commitment to show overlooks the realities of the application process and can create an unnecessary hardship for artists.

The reality for artists who make their living selling their art at art shows is that they must often apply to more than one show on a given weekend. If acceptance in a show were certain, then artists would choose the show in which they wish to exhibit. This decision would be based on many reasons such as distance, ambiance, etc with the decisive factor normally based on projected sales. Given the uncertainties surrounding the jury process, artists have no way of knowing in advance those shows, if any, in which they may be accepted.

A financial hardship may arise when an artist is accepted into more than one show on a weekend. The artist then is faced with the necessity of declining the invitation to exhibit from one or more of these shows. They also face the possibility of losing one or more of the booth fees from those shows with an “acceptance is commitment” policy. This inequity is compounded when the art fair resells the space to an artist from the wait list thereby collecting payment twice for one space at the expense of the first artist.

A reasonable refund/cancellation policy acknowledges the needs of the exhibiting artists without placing a difficult burden on shows.

  • The majority of artists support a policy that asks for a booth fee due upon acceptance with the application asking for the jury fee only at the time of application. Those artists whose work is accepted into the show are then notified and have a short time period (2 to 4 weeks) to accept or decline the invitation and remit the booth fee. The shows that have this policy in place find it less cumbersome than other methods.
  • If the show collects the booth fee at the same time as the jury fee and cashes it upon acceptance, it is then imperative that the show provides a reasonable time, (4 weeks) for the artist to accept the invitation. If the artist declines the invitation within this time period, a 100% refund should be proffered. After this time, a sliding scale of refunds should apply, acknowledging that administrative fees may need to be deducted.

Either of these policies will provide the artists time to hear of their jury status from other shows in order to enable them to choose which invitation, if any, to accept. These policies also give a show ample time to solidify their artist roster months before the show. The shows also would have the advantage of a larger jury pool as the many artists who are in opposition to the “acceptance is a commitment to show” policy will once again enter the jury for the show.

A reasonable refund/cancellation policy will meet the needs of the shows and the artists alike.

WAIT LIST

The NAIA urges art shows to adopt a clear wait list policy, and state plainly the method by which wait listed artists will be informed of openings in the show.

NAIA recognizes that maintaining and using a wait list may add a layer of work for the show, but the benefits far outweigh the extra effort. Many factors could potentially cause artists to cancel. A show without a wait list to draw from may either have noticeable empty spaces or find that their advertising of “150 artists” becomes misleading. More importantly, having a wait list gives another artist a chance to participate in the show.

Cancellations may occur for a number of reasons. The great majority of artists who apply to shows look to the shows to make their living. When they make the decision to cancel a show, they do not do so lightly, and it is often for reasons beyond their control or desire. Illness, deaths within a family or other critical family matters, weather-related issues (such as the hurricanes or gas shortages that we experienced in 2005), or unanticipated schedule conflicts occur for artists just as they do for anyone else.

The issue of “quality of art” by artists who might end up on the wait list is rarely a problem. When shows look at their cutoff scores for acceptance, they will see many very fine artists that fall just barely under that cutoff. Drawing upon them to fill cancellations will still ensure a high quality show. Establishing a wait list by medium will continue to ensure a balanced show.

A wait list gives another artist an opportunity to exhibit. For many artists, selling their work at art shows may be their sole source of income. Offering an open space to the next artist on the wait list may make it possible for that artist to make a mortgage payment, help fund their child?s education, or put food on their table.

Artists know that if they are on the wait list, they have a reasonable chance of being invited to show. There are many plans that need to be made to participate in an art fair: lodging, travel, inventory, etc. Artists will make contingent plans if they have an idea they may be able to show. The wait list policy of the individual show will have an impact on these plans.

A reasonable and clear wait list policy will meet the needs of the shows and artists alike.

HARDSHIP CANCELLATION

The NAIA advocates that art festivals 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.

Emergencies can arise in our daily lives in all occupations. A compassionate society recognizes this and makes every effort to meet the needs of all when events occur that adversely affect one’s ability to participate in planned events This should extend to hardships that may occasion the need for an artist to withdraw from a show.

The NAIA advocates that all shows adopt a hardship policy that sets clear guidelines as to how an artist may apply for a hardship release. The policy should be in print and included in the prospectus or on the show?s website and should also include the requirements of proof that an artist may be requested to submit to support his or her claim of hardship.

The remedies for affected artists should also be included in this policy and could include refund of fees upon filling the vacated space from the wait list or re-invitation to shows for a future date.

When an artist cancels a show due to an emergency, it is not a decision that is arrived at casually. The artist realizes that withdrawing from a show means lost income from sales at the show, but at times there is no choice. A hardship policy is a gesture of goodwill that will elevate your show within the artist community as one of compassion that cares about its artists.

SECURITY

NAIA advocates that 24-hour security be provided at the show site, and to and from parking areas from the beginning of load-in to the end of load-out.

An artist?s livelihood is in their booth and in their vehicle. They contain thousands of dollars? worth of hand-created artwork that is often one-of-a-kind. Artists who come into town are frequently unfamiliar with the area. Artists must be able to rely upon the shows to insure that they and their work are safe and secure from the time they arrive until the time they leave a show.

During show hours, hundreds of people come through the artist?s booth, making it difficult to keep a constant eye on their work while responding to a patron or transacting a sale. At other times, an artist may have to leave their booths for brief periods for bathroom breaks or food runs when booth sitters may not be available.

When an artist zips up their booth at the end of the day and leaves the show site, they relinquish all control over their booths overnight. It is often impractical or impossible for artists to remove or physically secure their artwork once the booth has been set up until the end of the show. Although most jewelers do remove their art at night and hand-carry it to and from their vehicles, that trip to the parking lot becomes a time when they are particularly vulnerable to robbery. Additionally, many artists will be carrying their receipts of the day.

Likewise, the chaos of setup and breakdown are also vulnerable periods for artists, particularly if the public is not prevented from wandering through the show site during these times. It is difficult for an artist to keep an eye on all of their work while they may be focused on a particular section of their booth, and artists doing shows by themselves may need to leave their work unattended while they park or retrieve their vehicles.

An artist who fears for his or her safety at a show is unlikely to return. 24-hour security is important to your show, your artists and your patrons alike.

LOAD-IN/LOAD-OUT

NAIA advocates that a systemized process for load-in and load-out be implemented.

Load-in and load-out are particularly sensitive times for artists. Load-in often happens at the end of a long trip to the show site, when artists are tired and feeling pressed for time. At load-out, artists are eager to get packed up quickly so that they can get on the road toward home and avoid another night of hotel expenses. During both processes, the stress level increases.

By their nature, load in and load out involve a certain amount of chaos as artists jockey their vehicles in close proximity to their booth spaces, and cartons, bins, boxes and tent pieces are spread about. A show that implements a systemized process for these times will find that it minimizes the chaos and stress, and reduces the overall time needed to complete.

Understandably, the process will need to vary from show to show, and location to location. Shows may wish to consult with their artist advisory committees and public safety professionals, such as a police department?s traffic safety officer, to assist in planning. Established plans should be clearly communicated to artists before they head to the show so that they can plan their own arrival schedules to fit into the plan.

thoughtfully organized plan will enhance public safety and provide a more pleasant experience for the both the artist and show.

BOOTH SPACE

NAIA advocates for a minimum 12′ x 12′ booth space for each artist that is free from obstruction and easily accessible in patrons? traffic flow.

The NAIA advocates for a booth space of at least 12? x 12? that is free from obstruction and easily accessible within the patrons? traffic flow for at least four reasons: safety, storage, appearance, and an equal opportunity for marketing.

Safety:
While the footprint of a standard artist?s booth may be 10?x10?, the typical artist attaches the side panels of the booth from the outside of the tent, rather than the inside. A show whose booth layout provides only a 10?x10? space results in booths butting against one another which creates both a significant hardship on the artist trying to set up their booth and raises the possibility of damage occurring to the booth during setup and breakdown when artists try to squeeze between their booth and that of their neighbor. A need for a level surface that is free from obstructions is for the patrons? safety, as much as the artist?s, whether on hardscape such as pavement, or softscape such as grass, wood chips or other landscape. Artists often have stands or shelving upon which they place their artwork. Patrons who stroll through a show are looking at the artwork, not the surfaces upon which they are walking. An uneven surface or an obstruction within or near the booths is a danger to all.

Storage:
When an artist?s vehicle is parked some distance from their booth, the need for storage space behind the booth for replacement stock and packing materials increases since they are not able to constantly return to their vehicles for replacements.

Appearance:
Artists’ booths are their retail showrooms and are designed to present the most eye-catching look to the patron. As with most retail establishments, artists need a back storeroom to hold their stock out of sight. A show that provides that space for the artists will insure that the look of the show is more attractive and pleasing to the patron. A behind-the-booth space also gives a more private spot for the artist to transact business with the patron.

Equal Opportunity for Marketing: When artists pay equal booth fees, they deserve equal opportunities for marketing. Show layouts should insure that the patron traffic flows easily and logically passes by each artist?s booth. Dead ends, congested aisles, separate sections not easily connected with the main show, discourage a patron from visiting those booths not easily reached. Not only do these deny the artist an equal opportunity, but they also inhibit the patron?s opportunity to experience the full breadth and scope of the show.

When the patrons can visit with an artist in a comfortable and attractive environment in the artist’s booth, the experience is enhanced for all. Happy customers and happy artists make for a successful show.

PARKING

NAIA advocates that free or reasonably priced easily accessible parking be provided for artists? vehicles throughout the duration of the show.

When artists come to a show, they are often driving to unfamiliar places. Before they can even begin to set up their booths they need to have a place to park their vehicles that they know is safe and secure since it contains all the elements of their livelihood: artwork, booth, display panels and stands, tools and credit card equipment. Artists with large or tall vehicles, or who pull small trailers, require extra space to safely maneuver their vehicles.

Throughout the show, artists often have a need to return to their vehicles to replenish stock, or in the event of a severe weather event, to be able to move quickly to protect their artwork.

NAIA urges shows to make every reasonable effort to provide workable parking for all artists, just as they may do for their sponsors, food vendors or others.

ADA ACCOMODATIONS

The NAIA urges all shows to be aware of the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act as it may pertain to accessibility by artists and patrons with disabilities. Further, the NAIA advocates that all shows make such reasonable accommodations as will permit artists with disabilities to participate as exhibitors in the show.

The NAIA advocates that all art fairs conform to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as well as their own State and local ADA, making all areas of the fair, including booth spaces, restroom facilities, and parking accessible to all artists and patrons with disabilities. Shows are urged to make adjustments so that artists with disabilities are able to participate in their show.

Often by making just a few changes, a show can be accessible to those artists with disabilities. Providing accessible parking, having at least a few booth spaces that an artist can drive to for loading and unloading, and that are accessible for wheelchair users, locating restroom facilities close by with handicapped accessibility are some reasonable accommodations shows can make. A show that is accessible welcomes the talents of artists with disabilities who may not otherwise be able to participate.

PROXIES

The NAIA encourages shows to require accepted artists to appear in person for the entire show. The NAIA advocates that proxies at shows be prohibited except in the most extenuating of circumstances.

Many if not all art/craft shows began with the idea of enhancing community life. Most exhibitors therefore were local persons who lived and worked in the community or surrounding area. Often their particular artistic talent was little known, overlooked, or undervalued. They had very few venues available to them for displaying their art in a public setting. The beginnings of various art and craft shows became a vehicle by which artists could gain recognition for their achievements as well as earn money for their work. The implementation of these shows soon became a source of community pride.

The unique contribution which an art/craft show and its respective exhibitors bring to the marketing place, and the community which they serve centers around the fact that prospective buyers get to meet the artist/craftsperson – the producer of the work being displayed in situ. These encounters usually provide ‘added value’ to the buying experience. This type of buying experience stands out in the face of, or in contradistinction to, an increasingly depersonalized and fragmented market place. It would be unfair if proxies were able to sell the work of an artist in lieu of artists who are willing and able to represent their work in person. An additional risk associated with permitting proxies is the fact that this may introduce buy-sell work into a show.

It is essential that these traditions, that have been around for over 40 years and are at the heart of community based art and craft shows, not be abandoned. The requirement should be that artists/craftspeople are juried into a show be there in attendance in order to represent their work.

RULE ENFORCEMENT

The NAIA advocates that an art show?s rules for artists be clear and readily accessible. A show?s stature will be enhanced by fairly and consistently applying the rules.

Artists/craftspeople who exhibit at art and craft events, in the main, honor their profession by creating work that comes from their hand. In those few instances in which an exhibitor is in violation of one rule or another, it is incumbent on the administrative arm of the show to take an action. Whatever action is taken needs to be spelled out in the application and/or prospectus. Therefore, it is recommended that in advance of the show, artists/craftspeople receive all relevant materials that have to do with how the show is governed.

It is understood that an inequity exists in a situation in which the rules of a show are not enforced uniformly. This often comes about because of several things:

The rules are not clearly explicated

  • The administrative arm of the show is not familiar with the rules
  • No vehicle exists for overseeing whether or not there is universal compliance with respect to the rules.

It is likely that the reputation of a show will suffer if these issues are ignored. This may happen in several ways:

  • Exhibitors who take their art/craft seriously may become indignant and refuse to exhibit at the event again.
  • Prospective exhibitors involved in buy-sell or some other rule infraction may increase in numbers at a particular show in which the rules are not enforced.
  • An atmosphere of cynicism may arise if artists/craftspeople sense they are not being treated fairly or believe that the rules do not apply to all exhibitors uniformly.

In conclusion, the vast majority of artists will comply with the rules that a show has formulated if they are viewed as clear in their meaning; there is feeling that they are fair; and there is a method in place for enforcing them uniformly.

COPYRIGHT

The NAIA reminds shows that artists hold copyrights on their images. Shows should be aware that the use of artists? images beyond any permission specifically granted by the artist is subject to the copyright laws of the United States.

Shows are obliged to adhere to all copyright laws that protect images of artists’ artwork. This includes posting the copyright symbol and artist name immediately next to published images of artwork. Use of artists’ images, such as on the prospectus, program, brochure, website, newspaper and other media including advertising, may be subject to copyright regulations. If a show has any questions concerning acceptable usage of copyrighted images outside the jury process, NAIA encourages the show to seek legal counsel.

GRIEVANCE POLICY

The NAIA encourages shows to develop fair and equitable grievance procedures through which artists can voice their complaints without retribution.

Often, the first to notice something amiss at a show, whether procedural, operational or rule related, are the artists who participate in or apply to a show. Either because of their knowledge gleaned from participation in other events, or because of observation while at your show, artists may see things that show directors may not have noticed. These may range from concerns about untenable operational restrictions, to uneven rule enforcement, to jury process issues, to personal knowledge about an individual artist?s methods that violate a show?s rules.

So why do artists not often communicate these observations, suggestions and criticisms to show directors? Fear of retribution.

Whether real or perceived, artists fear the proverbial ?blacklist? ? that often-feared, never-admitted-to, often-speculated-about, constantly-denied process that summarily denies an artist a space in a show before they have even been juried. Fear of a blacklist often prevents an artist with a legitimate, provable grievance or concern from communicating those concerns to the show?s management for fear of future denial into the show or, if accepted into the show, being treated as a pariah.

The NAIA advocates that every show develop a fair and impartial grievance procedure that allows artists to bring their concerns to the attention of the show without fear of retribution. Some shows have developed workable systems. Please check with NAIA for information on these shows. If your show has a grievance procedure that works well for you and your artists, please let us know.

A grievance policy benefits both artists and shows. Artists will feel comfortable, respected and protected when they share their concerns, and the show will benefit from the information shared by the artist. A formal grievance procedure will allow both to occur in an orderly and fair manner.

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