Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Every artist experiences it at one time or another during his or her careers. I just got a healthy dose of it last night.

As mentioned before, we artists apply to a variety of shows and festivals in order to secure ourselves a spot where we can set-up and sell our art. The application process is both time consuming and gut wrenching at the same time. When the application is filled out, your cover letter is written, your photos are selected and included in the envelop and your check is made out and signed you are now ready to hand it off to the postal service of your choice. At this time it is advisable to kneel, say a quick but heartfelt prayer to the jury gods and with fingers crossed, drop the envelope into the slot at your local post office and forget about it.

That is until the day when you receive either your confirmation or rejection notice back from the show. There is one other possibility that can befall you in regards to your status in the festival. The dreaded “wait list.” This is the purgatory of the art festival world.

The letter you receive back from the show director can either tell you that were not selected for this years show but reminding you to make sure you jump through the same hoops and pay the same non-refundable jury fees for NEXT years show. Or, it can start with the always-welcome salutation “Welcome to this years (fill in the name of the show here)” or lastly it can inform you that your art was just good enough not to get s**t canned out of the show but not good enough to be out and out invited to participate. They call this “the wait list”

Personally, I hate the wait list idea. It only stands to benefit the show’s director and in my opinion, does nothing except add to the artists already growing aggregation with the whole jury process. This is our purgatory. We are in but not really and were out but not yet. Smart artist have already double applied, especially for prime summer weekends as not to be left without any show to do for that time slot.

Double applying is our choice and a very smart one at that. This is our business and those who treat it that way, usually succeed. Show promoters on the other hand, hate us artists to do that, double apply. It means more work for them. What do I mean, well say that show “A” wait lists me. I also applied for show “B” and got accepted into it straight out. When the promoter of show “A” gets a cancellation for their show and goes down their list and calls me up informing me that they now want me in their show, I have to tell them I accepted an invitation to show “B” and I won’t be able to attend theirs. I’ve actually had promoters get upset with me turning them down (from the wait list) and tell me not to bother applying next year. You can always tell when their emotions are getting the best of them because of the extra work they now need to do in order to fill their show, because a smart promoter will say thanks and conclude by reminding you to not and forget to send in your application and fees again next year.

Well, yesterday I got my consolatory “wait list” letter from a show that I’ve done extremely well at for the past 6 years. They must have known how badly I wanted in this year because they asked me to “please keep the dates for our show in mind and don’t book anything else for that weekend, we MIGHT call you at the last minute” Because they really want to make sure that if they get a cancellation I will be ready and willing to drive the 1000 miles one way to their show with possibly only a days notice they must feel obligated to say that I guess.

Ya right, sure I will.

Expecting that my luck might run out with this show in 2008, I already applied to 2 other shows for that weekend. Just in case.

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