Following some complaints about a company that i can’t name for obvious reasons, I thought it might be helpful to offer some general guidance notes for makers when applying to fairs and other events:
It is important when applying to Art Fairs where artists/makers are providing money up front to take reasonable precautions:
- Is the Art Fair/Event well known with a reputation and good track record? If well known there is probably no need to enquire further, unless the event is unknown to you. In such instances reputable event promotors will have no problem answering the following questions and providing references from previous exhibitors if requested.
- If unknown to you, even if with a good reputation it is useful to consider some of the following questions before ‘signing up’ and paying out money. If not well known, it is suggested essential to get some answers
1. Search internet for write ups of previous shows by the same group and promoters
2. Ask promoters for estimates of footfall and sales for the show, and for details of footfall and sales at their last show
3. Ask promoters for the types of work being shown, names of other exhibitors and the ‘price points’ the show is aimed at. Consider the ‘selection’ process – or can anyone who will pay be accepted? (A warning sign sometimes, but not always)
4. If a new show ask for details of the promoters track record and contact details of a few well known artists/makers you can contact to get a feel of the type of show
5. If one of a series of shows, contact a few artists/makers who exhibited at a recent previous show for their feedback.
6. If not clearly specified, request in writing, precise details of the promotional and other support which will be provided by the organiser. (most reputable promoters are clear on this anyway)
I cannot comment on specific fairs/events, but clearly in these tough economic times artists/makers are especially vulnerable to accepting ‘invitations to show their work’ and may be tempted to overlook the normal rules when parting with money up front.
- Don’t unless you are sure you will get what you paid for!
- If in doubt and alarm bells ring, you are probably right – Don’t do it!
I hope this is helpful and may avoid some of our members/makers getting caught out by bad deals/unscrupulous promoters who rely on the many excellent fairs/event promoters to give them a false credibility.
Stephen Dee, Editor, Studiopottery.co.uk Ltd