Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Milking The Cash Cow - An Update

This week, I have been communicating with half a dozen artists/crafters who have been doing a certain local arts and crafts show for several years. Most of them are getting rejection emails saying they wanted to try new vendors this year. It appears that this is yet another show that has adopted the Zapp business model, a result of the show becoming so popular that they are getting large numbers of applications.

How it works, is they rarely ever let the same artist in two years in a row. They charge a high non-refundable jury fee ($25-$45), and rotate the artists. So artists keep thinking they have a chance of getting in the next year and keep on applying and feeding the machine. Art City Austin (Austin Fine Arts Festival) uses Zapp. They get 800-1000 applications at $45 each for the non-refundable jury fee. They let in 200 artists, so they pocket $36,000 from artists who don't get in!

It's a shrewd way of doing business, and more and more shows are getting wise and jumping on board the model. In my opinion it exploits artists (it's our own fault for continuing to feed the machine). I will not apply to any Zapp shows, and I will only apply once to non-Zapp shows who use this model, and if I don't get in, I don't give them any more money. Artist friends, please think about this before you say "I didn't get in, oh well, maybe next year".