Have you been reading the thread on the Book_Arts-L listserve about juried art show entry fees? For the last week or so, the topic has been front and center as book artists debate the worthiness of fees charged by venues for entering juried art exhibitions.
I have been reluctant to chime in on the entry fee thread, since, of course, I have a vested interest in the topic. This time around I felt like all I could do is agree with nearly every post about entry fees, pro and con. As a gallery owner and as an artist, I am often on both sides of this debate where there are no correct answers. What works great for me as an artist may not work for me at all as a gallery owner and vice versa.
Mainly, I just wanted to write today to say thank you to everyone who has supported me and the gallery on this topic. I have received several emails off list from folks this week wanting to make sure I saw this thread and offering support for the entry fees we have had to charge here at 23 Sandy for nearly 8 years now. Your support and encouragement means so much to me.
Just today someone walked into the gallery and mentioned this thread and it made me appreciate what a warm, supportive, collaborative community we have here on this list. It sparked a long discussion about how lucky we are to work in this wonderful book arts field. Thank you Peter Verheyen, the founder and moderator of the Book_Arts-L, for keeping these kinds of discussions alive.
Now for my two cents. Many of us work in the field of book arts for passion, not profit. We love what we do for reasons unfathomable to most people. I am lucky enough to have a supportive husband and low cost of living. If circumstances were different there would be no 23 Sandy Gallery. The entry fees pay for juror fees and promotional expenses, first and foremost, and the remaining entry fees might, might pay the gallery overhead for one month—but that would be a big stretch. My efforts to promote the book arts in the fine art gallery world, to elevate our craft into the fine art world are expensive and I knew that when I started this endeavor. But, happily, after all this time, the passion still wins out and profits are secondary.
Thank you again for the support that comes in so many ways from my fellow artists, faithful customers and regular gallery visitors. You all make this job worth doing.
P.S. If you are a book artist and you don’t know about the Book_Arts-L, you are really missing out. There are over 3000 subscribers and always fascinating discussions. I recommend subscribing the the digest format where you get one email a day instead of individual emails. Subscribe here.