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Our chosen business is fragile. Even a simple thing like the weather can affect our income. Having to face rising show and transportation costs, as well as overall reduction in sales, a lot of artists are canceling, or considering canceling shows. This may be especially true for artists having to drive across country for winter shows in Florida. For example, I cancelled Mt Dora and turned down the wait list for Gaspiralla this past winter because I couldn't justify the 48 hour round trips and didn't have any back to back shows to help offset expenses.

Iím going to propose a novel idea. What if a few shows within a geographic vicinity get together and allocate a percentage of their spaces to a common jury, open to artists who live more than (for example) 1,500 miles away. That would let artists come from a long distance away and know that they had more than one show to share their expenses.

A lot of artists, if they havenít started already, are going to be limiting the driving distance to shows that they apply to. As a result the shows are going to receive more local applications. My concept can have a twofold benefit of allowing the shows to maintain their current level of quality of applicants and the good artists to continue to apply.

But of course, ideas like this wonít make it past this page because itís very difficult to get shows to cooperate with each other. Examples of shows that do cooperate would be Old Town, Lakefront, Des Moines and Cherry Creek, which run on back to back weekends and allow some fortunate artists to have a series of shows to attend. Then thereís Cincinnati and Columbus, though 90 miles apart, run on the same weekends and compete with the artists they draw. Or any number of shows that feel they need to be on the same weekend prior to Ann Arbor when there are hardly any (if any at all) shows on the weekend after Ann Arbor. Maybe one of those shows that complain about the number of cancellations could be adventurous and move up a weekend and compete with Ann Arbor, giving artists an alternative. Iíll bet they wouldnít have any trouble filling that show with high quality work.

 

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Chris Maher
PO Box 5, Lambertville, MI, 48144
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Larry Berman
PO Box 265, Russellton,  PA  15076
412-401-8100

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