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is a jury fee legal?

updated thu 1 jul 99


Wendy Rosen on tue 29 jun 99

Regarding the thread on juried shows... I've heard lawyers argue about
whether or not a jury fee is even
legal. For shows with 6,000 applications and 200 booths the process
becomes more of a "lottery" than
a selection process. A class action suit from thousands of artists who
have spent thousands of dollars over the
last 20 years might prove an interesting (and profitable) case for lawyers
and artists!

To be perfectly fair, juried shows should tell applicants how many
applicants we received last year and how many openings are available this
year. Some "tenured and juried" shows might only have a few dozen
spaces actually available... Personally, with all the unethical ways to
"bypass" or "manipulate" the system
it seems less and less fair each year.

The days of a show promoter "bragging about their show as juried" is
really over. A better question to ask any show producer is "who selects"
and how many cancellations occur.

I juried Artscape in Baltimore this year. The slides were wonderful... the
show will have probably only
half of the people that I selected for high marks... many will cancel.
Cancellation policies are another
gripe I have... if they are too lenient the show starts out as one thing
and ends up as another. This practice
of applying to 5 shows and deciding later which one you'll do is a crazy
way to run your business or
your life. Also those jury fees and slide reporduction costs really add up.

BTW- We don't have any fee to submit to our "selection process" It's NOT a
jury. And if we don't like
your slides ... you'll get a phone call telling you that your slides are
not acceptable. If we think the work
has merit- we'll ask for samples to be shipped.

Good slides are the key. This is how slides come into our office...

Poor Slides (We can't see the product quality).............................
Ordinary (We can see the product but the image
quality isn't good enough for
advertising....................................... 50%
Good Slides (We'll use the image for promo if necessary............... 20%
Knock Your Socks

Knock Your Socks Off Slides.... generally a gradient grey background.
Really slow film, tri-pod, three sources of light all with umbrella
difusion. There are no harsh shadows. The surface of the object shows
texture really well. There are minimal hot spots. The color is rich and
true to the object (no blue or yellow tinge on the background). All parts
the object are in focus. All the slides submitted were taking with the
same film, technique, at the same location and time.
The slides are of different objects that all have a family resemblance.

This should show you that getting a thumbs up from a jury requires the
"Knock Your Socks Off" quality
when you're competing with 6,000 other applicants. Good Slides have only a
small chance of making it past the jury... because the competition is too
stiff. The better the show the more likely the % of KYSO slides will be

You must have KYSO slides! ...unless you're using some of those unethical
approaches like multi-applications under assumed names, or sending juror
friends your slides ahead of time for their "advice"......

I've never understood why show promoters won't take phone calls from
applicants and discuss their status in an
honest and open way... good artists don't get that way without some
feedback here and there.


Wendy Rosen
The Rosen Group

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Janice Alexander on wed 30 jun 99


You are absolutely right. It seems that the show promoters are making quite a
killing on the jury fees. If you have a "prestigious" show and charge quite
a hefty fee, you can count on the sheer quantity of applicants to cover
expenses and then some. It doesn't seem to matter that only 100 artists will
be selected out of the 6000 applicants!

Janice in NC