Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Percentage of No Fee Opps in AOM

A reader wrote:  I stopped reading the AOM emails several months ago, once I realized that most of the opportunities required entry fees.  I'm opposed to the concept of "pay to play" in general.

We replied:  I'm not a fan of the "pay to play" concept either, although that usually refers to for-profit vanity venues, where one has to pay to show and there is no real jury process. We don't list them. You probably mean the venues that charge a submission fee. We list them only if they are from non-profit organizations, as for-profit organizations that charge submission fees are asking artists to invest in their business without giving anything in return other than the chance to be shown and they are unlikely to sell anything, as they have less incentive than galleries that depend on commissions from sales.

Non-profits that charge entry fees are a different matter; they are trying to cover their expenses (rent, utilities, Internet, insurance overhead, jurors' fees, advertisng, invitations, refreshments, and, sometimes, staff, although they tend to rely heavily on volunteers) in putting on a show.

I agree there should be a better way for them to get all of their funding. In general they depend on contributions and fund-raising events such as auctions. A few get grants and subsidies from their local governments. There are a few places, such as The City of Berkeley, CA, that not only don't charge fees, they pay the accepted artists to show. But theat money comes from taxpayers, not the artists themselves.

In any case, I was curious about your statement that "most of the opportunities required entry fees", since that's not my recolection and we work hard to find the "No fee" opps. So I did a search of the July/August issue. It showed 127 (see screen shot) No fee opps in Part I out of a total of 254 entries, for just over 50%. In part 2, there were a total 166 out of 264 entries (see screen shot) for 65%. That's a total of 293 No fee opps for the month. Other months are similar. I understand not all would be appropriate for any particular artist, but using the Full Search function of a PDF reader, one could hunt down the potentialy appropriate ones fairly quickly and find more than one would have the time to enter.

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