Orlando, FL
November, 1995


If you’re reading this, it’s because as an artist who does outdoor shows you’re already part of a casual but amazingly effective information network. Most of what we know about shows and what’s happening on the show circuit we learn from other artists. Collectively, we share a huge amount of knowledge and experience, and we share many of the same concerns.

Remarkably, what we haven’t established until know is a collective voice. Because of this, we’ve had very little input into the direction our industry has taken. As artists, we comprise the essential core of the festival phenomena, but it’s as if we’ve been on cruise control. Now, all of a sudden, 75% of us are into our forties and many agree that the time has arrived to make a concerted effort to exert some large and positive influence on the future of our community. Collectively, we can accomplish much.

The National Association of Independent Artists has been formed, having grown from the dialog begun in Chicago in June and carried forward by a group of your peers who’ve invested the time and energies it has taken to get us to this point. Already, we are more than 100 artists strong and recognizing the need to share the load among us, almost everyone has indicated a willingness to contribute some volunteer time to some aspect of our effort.

To be our most effective, we need to experience a rapid swelling of our membership. Toward that end, there will be a short meeting Saturday night at the Lakefront Stage to introduce the volunteers who have agreed to act as an initial steering committee and lead groups of volunteers in the pursuit of our goals. We’ll try to be prepared to answer questions at this meeting, but as everyone would like to keep it short and sweet, here’s an overview of what the association hopes to accomplish:

The purpose of the association is to enhance the economic well-being of people who exhibit their work at outdoor and indoor art and/or craft shows, to encourage creative expression and artistic excellence, and to expand public awareness, appreciation and acquisition of American art and fine craft.

We recognize that the full range of what we might accomplish has not occurred to us, but here are some of the things we intend to do:

  • Promote the improvement of existing shows and the development of high quality shows in promising new markets.
  • Establish a newsletter and Internet Web site to provide membership with information and to serve as a forum for the discussion of our ideas and concerns.
  • Seek concessions for our collective membership for the goods and services we use.
  • Provide educational information to various media.
  • Secure “pro bono” legal counsel by region for membership.
  • Explore health care options for membership.
  • Establish an annual convention/trade show.
  • Serve as a positive, cooperative resource for directors of non-profit shows.
  • Provide information and support to emerging artists.

If you have have questions or suggestions, please write them on your survey. Someone will contact you later to discuss them. This way, the meeting stays short!

The newsletter will probably address the specifics of each of the items listed above. The important things to bear in mind when discussing this association among peers, or with others, are these:

  1. This isn’t a union. We are not out to flex our collective muscle or take anything but a cooperative stance. Our purpose is to work with anyone interested in making our industry better. We have literally thousands of years experience among us and the capacity to find a positive resolution to any problem that arises.
  2. This is an association of peers. Every effort made to furthur the goals of the association helps us all. Correspondingly, an opportunity ignored helps no one. We need and welcome the inolvement of everyone.

Please plan to join us at the Lakefront Stage at 6 P.M. and please bring your completed survey as we need to collect information for our initial newsletter.

Add a Comment