Do you exhibit in galleries in addition to participating in festivals?



  • Supplemental income to shows. (42)
  • Additional exposure to possible sales. (17)
  • I can stay home and produce. (4)
  • A balance of markets is needed; the street shows cant sell the very expensive work.
  • For additional exposure, income & prestige (13)
  • Exposure in a more persistent setting, hopefully reaching additional clientele. (15)
  • Diversification (5)
  • I enjoy the change in venue – Im out of the 10 x 10 space and am not next to other artists.
  • I have difficulty selling on the street.
  • Another venue, but festivals are priority, simply more volume sales with less hassle at shows.
  • The public seems to want the artists whose work they purchase to have those credentials. (7)
  • To capitalize on markets that may not have art fairs or to maintain presence year round in markets w/art fairs that we participate in.
  • Selling furniture at street shows is a real challenge.
  • They ask me to and I cant say no.
  • Wear & tear on us is less w/gallery.
  • Exposure to academics who are generally jurors at festivals.
  • Even though sales are slower, galleries provide promotion, follow up sales and service.
  • and continued sales that are not dependent on jury scores and weather.
  • I like to keep my options open. I want people to see my glass along with that of famous artists.
  • Ive always seen exclusive representation in galleries as a goal. The art shows for me have functioned as a means to that end. For me, the time and energy required to maintain a full show schedule has meant an unhealthy studio life.
  • Provides a local venue. (5)
  • To compete for awards or take advantage of one person shows.

Why not?

  • I can not keep up with retail sales demand for my work. (12)
  • I dont like losing a sales percentage to a gallery. (10)
  • Loss of income and control
  • Poor sales, worse profits (4)
  • Consignment is akin to sin. No payment – no commitment
  • I choose not to because most galleries want me to consign work, and I would rather sell it outright.
  • I like meeting my customers. I dont like galleries taking 50%. I like taking the time out of my studio. (2)
  • In my experience I can sell more in one day at a halfway decent fair than in 6 months in a gallery. I dont have enough stock to leave it just sitting around. (2)
  • I havent connected with a gallery I like yet.
  • I enjoy doing shows and never have enough work for galleries. Difficulty with shipping pieces – very little return for time & effort.
  • Not an efficient way to make a living as an artist Many rip offs.
  • I like being in control of my inventory and the way it is displayed. Plus I enjoy interacting with thepeople who enjoy and purchase my work.
  • Many galleries are not prompt with payment. (3)
  • It is difficult to find galleries that pay on time- if ever. My work is not speedy, I cannot surrender it to someone who does not pay or allow me to exhibit in their state as they want sole representation.
  • I like doing both, but galleries are frustrating. They often dont display work well, dont know enough about work, dont pay on time and will lie to you. I like interacting directly with the people who buy my work and have it in their houses. I display my work better and customers end up having a better understanding & appreciation of the work when we can communicate directly.
  • Ours is one of a kind, expensive, and needs showing. Galleries can be more trouble than they are worth.

If yes, how many galleries?

over 20….6%

How often?

Regularly: 73%
Occasionally: 27%

Do you wholesale your work?

Yes: 41%
No: 59%

What wholesale shows do you recommend?

  • Baltimore ACE (20)
  • Rosen Shows (8)
  • Art Buyers Caravan (3)
  • Art Expo (3)I would recommend Art Expo in New York only if you can afford 2 or more booths (do not go into the emerging artists area), have all the visual aids, i.e. brochures of your work, etc. and a network of salespeople to follow up leads and continue to market your work after the show. A nice fat advertising budget is nice too. Galleria in New York is not as polished but here again you need more than one booth because you will get lost among the big boys (national publishers) and you will need that sales network to really make 2D work wholesale feasible. Even then you can lose your shirt real fast because of the expense involved for a great marketing program. Of course you must also be some sort of a multiples artist or a mass producer with a staff of doers and of course, as the artist, lots of creative ideas to keep the flow of new work out there and good managerial skills to manage works.
Have you exhibited or do you exhibit in museum/university shows?

Yes: 63% No: 37%

Other venues?

  • Studio Show (16)
  • National juried shows (13)
  • State juried shows (5)
  • International juried shows (2)
  • Web Page (4)
  • Internet Gallery
  • Restaurants (3)
  • Civic buildings (3)
  • Art centers (4)
  • Designer show houses (3)
  • Workshops at Art Centers, Universities
  • Some historical site demo/sales
  • Home furnishing stores
  • Magazine and book illustration (2)
  • Banks
  • Country clubs
  • Private collectors shows
  • Local Music Festival
  • Gift shops (2)
  • Trunk Shows
  • Guild shows (2)
  • Outdoor environment corporate space
  • Mail order catalog
  • Private Clubs or Companies
  • Benefit shows – to benefit a charity or group, which generally keep a percentage.
  • Reps / Agents who place corporate work (2)
  • Alternative Spaces: Arts Council Galleries, High Schools, Jr. College Galleries, Law Firms
  • Work shops at colleges that have galleries


What do you see as the greatest improvements in the industry over the past five years?

  • Shows starting to pay attention to needs and advice of artists because of NAIA. (48)
  • Show organizers are increasingly treating artists as professionals. (26)
  • Competition to get into good shows has resulted in higher quality exhibitors. (27)
  • Standardization of Application procedures.
  • Prospectuses are more careful to detail the rules and provide the information that artists need to know. (15)
  • The standardization of the slide formats, thanks to NAIA effort. (13)
  • Greater marketing of the top shows. Marketing the shows as a special place to BUY great art, not to get bargains (17)
  • Development of some exceptional shows (18) i.e. Cherry Creek and St. Louis.
  • More educated and savvy customers. More of the art buying public seem to consider shows a viable & even desirable alternative to galleries. (13)
  • The quality and availability of display materials (tents, walls) & services (booth shipping & storage). (10)
  • Efforts among shows to attract a higher number of applicants and a larger public attendance by improving quality, advertising, amenities, etc (13)
  • More places are understanding that high quality art shows are good for the economy and the community.
  • Good promoters and artists communicating with the public.
  • The jurors seem better informed and better qualified. Better jurying for some shows (4)
  • Some effort to minimize buy/sell & proxy exhibitors (3)
  • Tightening of rules against mechanically produced reproductions.
  • Better overall economy which has nothing to do with the industry at all. (3)
  • More security (3)
  • Some shows have sought out artists feedback – really listen to complaints and compliments, and are willing to act on them. (3)
  • A dialogue has started between promoters and exhibitors and just between each other. (2)
  • Information! More information is available about shows through magazines, sourcebooks, internet. (7)
  • No improvements (4)
  • Some of the best things that have happened are Kenneth Trapp, Bill Charney (2), Dale Chihuly, Greg Lawler and the Art Fair Source Book, and periodicals and books addressing the craft world. These individuals, organizations and reference tools are invaluable resources for artists, crafts people participating in our industry. I personally do as much reading as I can on the world of art and craft. There are many movers and shakers (artists, promoters and organizations) whose contributions are in the process of fundamentally reshaping the perception of art versus craft in contemporary culture. Outdoor festivals and art shows are also reshaping the way the public accesses art. Credibility for this venue seems to be increasing as professionalism pervades our industry. My feeling is that the achievements of the past few years are paving the way for increased public respect for this type of venue and the art exhibited there. Based on the players involved and the increasing inroads fine craft is making into the fine art world, I expect this trend to continue and gain momentum in the decade to come.
  • Attempts to look at production issues.
  • Spaces that are 10 by 12 and 10 by 14, not 10 by 10. (2)
  • Early set-up, booth sitters Lights at outdoor shows or under festival tents.
  • Occasional availability of reliable electricity Shows dropping limited editions on photos.
  • Better program directories.
  • Clarity of mission by good shows Internet access and presence. (2)
  • NAIA Newsletter and the NAIA web site.
  • Exhibitors and shows are waking up to the professionalism necessary to make it to the top.
  • More education by artists to the public about what it is to be an independent artist and the processes involved in their work. Necessity is the Mother…
  • Better organized committees, more paid Executive Directors.
  • Festivals getting newspaper, TV, radio sponsorship which comes with full media coverage of event. That is the best possible advertisement. Increased public education about event.
  • The development of art fair professionals consulting with small shows to develop better venues.
  • Sponsors with deep pockets (but of course they want it BIGGER!)
  • Hospitality areas.
  • Some higher rated shows accepting mix of larger & smaller priced items.
  • More port-a-potties (this is not a joke).


As an NAIA member which issues within the industry would you most like to see our association address?

  • The ongoing problem of having to pay booth fees for shows before knowing what shows we are even accepted into. It is expensive and makes planning very difficult. Better refund policies in any case are sorely needed.(43)
  • The public deserves to know how a product is made: by an individual artist or a production studio – is it an original or a reproduction? There are enough shows to exhibit all of them. (30)
  • The elimination of Reproductions! Stay with it until they are no longer permitted with originals. (10)
  • Encouraging shows to enforce their rules. (12)
  • Find a way to eliminate buy/sell artists – educate public to know the difference. (4)
  • No reps in shows for original artists only. (6)
  • Standardization of application forms. (20)
  • Standardization of slide labeling. (16)
  • Continue in the direction you are going. Continue to work with outdoor festival promoters to improve their professionalism in working effectively with artists, the communities in which their show takes place and the public who attend these events. Overall improvement in these areas will enhance the prestige of these events. This will have a beneficial effect on everyone involved. (13)
  • Helping start top-quality shows in or near cities that have no venue at this time – or several poor venues. (11)
  • I would like to see the development of new venues – particularly indoor fine art shows. (2)
  • Jury, booth fees and other fees have started to rise, efforts should be made to slow these increases. (8)
  • Professional jurying & disclosure of process. (11)
  • Exhibiting artists on juries. (3)
  • More on-street jurying (slide exempt). (4)
  • Feedback from jurors. (3)
  • Getting us group deals on hotels, art materials, travel, insurance policies, visa systems, etc. (9)
  • Better recognition of needs of the artist to make it convenient to do a show – exhibitor logistics. (10)
  • I would like to see more shows devote large portions of their expenses to marketing, promotion and advertising. And to see this as an investment, a long term campaign from the shows point of view. (6)
  • Education of the public. (7)
  • Media categories – where works of art are basically one media but may include other media. What category do you put work in? Mixed media is a bad catch all category. (4)
  • Get more high-quality shows to accept digital art and have a category for it. (2)
  • Discussion on not penalizing artists if they show work out of category. We have to grow and some of the enforcement things you are advocating will destroy that possibility for expansion. (4)
  • Expanding the use of the internet by the NAIA and shows. (2)
  • More education of artists as to successfully competing to get into shows (2)
  • Artists participation on some level in local show production. (2)
  • For the NAIA to increase membership so that it represents a fuller spectrum of all artists who participate in art shows and to increase our influence in the business. (2)
  • Art shows should be about art, not music, food, and kiddie stuff – sometimes the art is at the bottom of the list. (2)
  • Education/dialog among artists on issues & events. (2)
  • Uniformity in application deadline and notification times. (2)
  • Honesty about number of spots that are actually being juried. (2)
  • Booth sizes and layout – every show should provide a 12 by 12 space for a 10 by 10 tent. It is ridiculous to set up tent pole to tent pole and back to back. (2)
  • Rating/listing of shows independent of AFSB or Harris or others. (2)
  • Concerning workshops; There are so many organizations that already offer workshops & retreats. I hope NAIA keeps its focus on the things it can do, that are not being addressed elsewhere.(2)
  • New markets for selling our art. (2)
  • Smaller high quality shows (under 250 exhibitors). (2)
  • Continuing to present independent artists as a well-organized coalition Perception of Festival Artists as accomplished professionals. (2)
  • Whether NAIA itself is to remain an objective consulting organization or become a subjective policing organization.
  • Excellence – What is it? Whos got it?
  • Maintaining unique flavor of individual shows Product info.
  • Exempting metal category entrants from separate jewelry entry.
  • Setting standard for acceptance (or not) of computer art.
  • Shows that dont allow painters to have prints but allow photographers to have posters, post cards, etc.
  • Reproductions of photographs – I think the so-called discussion by NAIA totally sidestepped the issue. (The issues were discussed by a group of photographers – some were NAIA members and some not. Ed.)
  • Respect and recognition of realistic artists as creative and unique – objectivity from the academic world.
  • Any way you might promote democracy in ACC? Does ACC even know/care that we exist?
  • More contact with publications- e.g. Crafts Report, Sunshine Artists, various art & Photo mags. Become a source for artist viewpoint.
  • Subjective directors cut after the jury.
  • Notification within one month of slide deadline.
  • What do show producers want to see in a booth display slide? (For the answer check the minutes of our January meeting with show directors. These are on the NAIA web page.)
  • Promoters who dont give early enough notification of admittance. To plan efficiently I need 3-4 months. Some shows dont give more than 2 or even less.
  • Booth assignments before arrival.
  • Prior day set up with over night storage space.
  • Artist information statements.
  • I hate Porta Potties, especially when there is no place to wash your hands!
  • Standing in long lines to pay for % fees at end of this kind of show. Some like Pacific NW Arts Fair have waits up to 4 hours!
  • Disclosure on where show fees go. Dollar amounts – we pay for it and ought to have the right to see where our money goes. Bellevues Rest of the Best is the ONLY show that offers this info. Charitable Causes says nothing.
  • I would like to see NAIA do more to help artists who get a raw deal from shows.
  • Opportunities for work/study grants, such as is available in Europe – this would mean a break from the art fair rat race to renew and be creative.
  • Copy right protection.
  • How an artist can build a good reputation, really get ahead in this business of art.
  • More quality shows in the Northeast.
  • Ways to attract collectors i.e. market research.
  • Retreats, tours.
  • A better way for all good artists to somehow participate on a rotation basis in the best shows.
  • As you already have been doing: to demonstrate that most artists are responsible professionals.


Some members have expressed an interest in artists retreats/workshops. Would you participate if the NAIA developed this type of thing?

Yes: 53%
No: 28%
Maybe: 19%

The time of year most frequently mentioned as convenient was the winter with the following months preferred (in descending order) January, February, November, December, March, April, & May.


What are the best mechanisms youve seen to deal with the problem of rule enforcement?

  • A clear statement of all rules and expectations in initial application. (see prospectus of the Old Town Art Fair, Chicago99) Make rules unambiguous & enforceable. (14)
  • Booth slide part of contract with show.
  • Artists on slide juries Photo ID at check in. (19)
  • Artists Information Statement in booth. (5)
  • A trained committee (it is suggested they sit on the slide jury) that actually checks booths against slides daily. (65) i.e. Winter Park, Cherry Creek, State College
  • On site jurying (13) i.e. Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, 57th Street, TACA Nashville.
  • Peer jurors who monitor the exhibits and report to the show staff who then takes prompt action to ensure compliance (16)
  • The first and foremost response here is very simple – if the show does not have a way to enforce the rules that they have set down then they should not have the rule in the first place. I think too many of them feel that just putting the rule in their prospectus is enough. Perhaps some just put it in their prospectus to make themselves sound like big shows or to entice quality exhibitors. Virginia Beach sidewalk art show enforces their no reproduction rule by stating exactly what you can do (have a brochure posted on images available as reproductions – can sell mail order but not at show or out of motel room) and they will come around the show the entire 4 days checking, sometimes even undercover, to make sure no exhibitor is breaking this rule. It also has show officials check your booth everyday, several times a day to make sure you have brought out nothing new that breaks a rule. Shows that confront exhibitors which are suspected of showing other peoples work or work in a production studio and they are not the artist – Chesterton, Indiana and Tarpon Springs -they also take the word of other exhibitors that this is suspected and then go check it out themselves. Both shows asked the exhibitors in question to leave, even though the exhibitors were already set up.
  • Enforce the rule on the spot. Throw the offending exhibitor out even if the show is open. (11) i.e. DMAF
  • Confront the offending artists & have the work removed. Not at their booth – they (the artists) should be summoned by the director & told off grounds (6)
  • Show director should warn exhibitor of not complying with rules. If not adhered to, should then make exhibitor pack down and leave. (6)
  • Have a graceful and clear person to do the confronting (not a fellow exhibitor !!! and not a bully manager). If the infraction is minor or gray area a letter after the show is over is sometimes best, a warning letter, then the staff is obliged to watch that exhibitor the following year. (2)
  • Force flagrant violators to leave show at end of day thereby minimizing disruption.
  • Warning (verbal or written) followed with statement barring applicant from the following years show (4)
  • 1 year off (3)
  • 2 yr. ban from show and loss of booth space (2)
  • Minimum 3 yr. exclusion from show Refuse future admission forever. (9)
  • Artists signature on real contract required for show participation
  • Photo Badges
  • Photo ID of artist at time of application (2)
  • Opportunity for the rule breakers to appeal
  • A strong festival director/staff that does not change from year to year
  • A centralized list of offending parties so that these people cannot simply move from show to show
  • Panel of artists to mediate between artist violator & show committee
  • Place burden of proof of production methods on the artist. Example: This wont fly, but Id gladly show a tax return to prove scale of my operation.
  • Have trial by peers where 3 exhibitors in media affected are called (by random selection?) to voice an opinion of the alleged violation. Eliminates politics & the show artists share responsibility for enforcement of rules.
  • Jurors going to visit studios (2)
  • Mich. Guild has published established procedures for determining, documenting and resolving rules problems. (2)
  • Letter to artist explaining problem
  • Death penalty
  • Reproductions – supply loupes i.e. magnifying glass to the committee to look for laser lines and offset rosette patterns (3)
  • Carry over of violation information from one years committee to the next. If you repeat you are barred.
  • An enforcer designated by name and listed in show info. so artists could go to this person with their complaint. Complaining after the show has questionable results.
  • Follow the rules themselves (i.e. St. Louis allows no reproductions yet sells a reproduction of an artists work in the show as a money-maker, calling it a lithograph).
  • Lines of communication open so that artists know whom to make complaints to – art show personnel who follow up and enforce the rules.

Other comments:

  • One thing that shows need to realize and perhaps it should be pointed out to them is that when things get out of hand, they turn into flea markets. So making realistic rules that they can enforce is crucial to their well-being. Those of us that are professional just want to know what the rules are and then we can make a decision as to whether or not we wish to participate in the event, abiding by the rules.
  • It depends on the violation – how I feel about it, but I have no trouble talking to the staff if an artist has just sent a rep to do the show. Otherwise I think it is important to talk to the person yourself before spreading a story. (4)
  • If the show is aggressive (in dealing w/offender) I will be too.
  • Grouse about it to my neighbor
  • Write letter of follow-up to show & staff to indicate importance of situation & way to prevent in future (3)
  • The artists are peers, and should treat each other as such
  • In writing, anonymously. Perhaps this could be turned into a volunteer at the end of the show.
  • Report to a violation box that is monitored regularly by staff. Booth #/name required OK but request anonymity from show artists & reporter of violation would be exempt from the peer trial jury of the artists he/she complained against. If total anonymity even from staff/volunteers is desired, odds of complainant being selected for jury are small enough to not worry about. (2)
  • A standard procedure needs to be developed – a format standard for show officials to follow. (3)
  • I usually only write my complaints on a shows questionnaire and report offense on the art fair survey at the end of the show. (3)
  • If a show has a stated procedure for reporting a violation to a qualified enforcement staff, I would do so – if not, I would do nothing. (3)
  • It is only worth reporting if the show committee is willing to confront the exhibitor and enforce their own rules – usually they dont!!! (2)
  • Artists should not have to be police but have the option to choose shows that are well enforced.

If you become aware of a violation, what action are you willing to take?

Report to Staff or Committee: 81%
Confront the Offender: 10%
Do nothing, not my problem: 9%

Is anonymity important?

Yes: 69%
No: 31%

Add a Comment