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Juried vs Non-juried Shows

This weekend the American Craft Council show was held in Atlanta.  Of course I went, it's a wonderful show that I don't ever want to miss.  Plus, many of my friends are in the show so it's nice to see them and their work and maybe even buy a piece.  At one point a few people started talking about doing juried shows versus non-juried shows.

It was explained to the customer (who was not an artist) that most of the time you'll see high quality art at juried shows.  At non-juried shows it's a bit of a crap shoot.  I actually stopped doing one show that became so full of resellers and the like that I believed it wasn't a good show for my pottery.  For someone who appreciates art and craft it becomes important if you are really concerned about what you're spending your time looking at.

Woodfired vase, tea pot and casserole by Lori Buff
Vase, Teapot and Casserole

For me, I'm up for a good show most of the time.  I prefer to be in the company of good artists and I have been in their company in juried shows and non-juried shows.  I've done really well at venues where the art is somewhat unexpected and at long established shows.  I've had people bargain for a lower price at very high end shows in affluent areas but not at the smaller, less expensive shows.

I'm pretty sure I'll not get approached by a gallery when I set up at my small, neighborhood show.  That's a shame because some great art can be found at these shows.  But I have a lot of fun and see a lot of collectors.

When people ask why I haven't applied to the ACC show I tell them it's because I don't think my work is good enough yet.  I'm sure some people will take that to mean I'm afraid of it being judged unacceptable.  Maybe, but it's okay.  When I'm ready I'll apply and hope really hard that I get accepted, if I do I'll feel honored, in the meantime I'm enjoying doing the shows that I am currently.

What are your thoughts on juried vs. non-juried shows?

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Comments

  1. At one juried show in California I was really disappointed as their artist selections had deteriorated (too many jewelry booths and a few resellers) and sales were not good at all, could have been the down swing of the economy. At some juried shows I visited I've gotten the feeling from some of the artists that they're only there to show off their booths and take commissions not to sell any work. I hate to see the resellers at shows and some non juried shows are a lot of fun and the quality of the work is good. I also like farmer's markets, short and sweet.

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    1. Hi Linda, that show sounds awful, sorry. I quit doing a juried show because someone brought in resale stuff (and had no problem telling us that) despite it being against the contract. The artists next to me was talking about requesting her booth fee be returned because the promoter permitted that breach of contract...too much messy politics.

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  2. whoa, I think the comment form here published some comment I gave elsewhere...but for YOUR blog---I don't do too many shows anymore, but like a good juried show in general because the audience is looking for GOOD ART..it is like it is more important to have quality work FOR quality customers!

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    1. Absolutely Gary. I wonder how many people realize whether a show they are viewing is juried of non-juried. I'd love to read some comments about that.

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  3. I stopped doing shows some years ago, when life got in the way. I don't do unjuried shows as the seem to attract some very strange venders. There are a few farmers' markets around here that I am considering doing this summer. They have high standards that seems to work well.
    The problem with many local juried shows is that they are economy driven. But as I sad most od my thoughts are about ten years out of date!

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    1. Good thoughts. What do you mean by "very strange venders?"

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  4. I think shows in general are difficult and mind sucking events. I like the people I meet, I like when I bring some money home and there are empty boxes, but shows really beat me down in 2012 and it took a lot out of me mentally. I have really backed off. I have done juried and non juried shows and sometimes it was really hard to tell the difference, except for the ones that cost me a lot of money to be in..... I like selling from my studio best!

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    1. Tracey, I'm with you about selling from the studio, I love doing my studio sale and never feel beat down afterwards, just a good kind of tired. However, sometimes you need to bring the pots to the people.

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  5. I also think quality of work is expected more in juried shows...and those are the ones I'll prefer to walk around and get to know good artists...but often the sponsors of our local outdoor shows these days are more interested in bringing in the crowds and selling the food...so the quality of work may not be as high as I would hope to see. I only sell at a Tailgate Market, cause I know I'm not up to a certain standard (my own view) that I expect in juried shows.

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    1. It's true Barb, I think a lot of people see the local, non-juried shows as a great place to visit with friends and neighbors, and they really are, hopefully one could find some great art while visiting with people. Win-win.

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