Saturday, December 14, 2019

"Submission Fee No. 55"

"Submission Fee No. 55"
8.5" x 5.5"
Woodcut
Edition of 7
Pay what you want by Dec. 18

This print is part of a time-based conceptual art project. Read more about it here.

INFO PARTICULAR FOR THIS PRINT:
Institution: West Hartford Art League
Opportunity: Land, Sea & Sky juried show in the Clubhouse Gallery
Venue Location: West Hartford, CT 
Eligibility: Made in the last 2 years
Potential Benefits for Artists:
Notes:  30% commission
Fee: $15 nonmembers, $10 members, up to
Deadline: Dec. 18



Friday, December 13, 2019

"Submission Fee No. 54"

"Submission Fee No. 54"  
3.5" x 5"
Woodcut
Edition of 3
Pay what you want by Dec. 16


This print is part of a time-based conceptual art project. Read more about it here.

INFO PARTICULAR FOR THIS PRINT:
Institution: Foundry Art Centre
Opportunity: Dirty Fingernails IV
Venue Location: Saint Charles, MO 
Eligibility: 18 and up
Potential Benefits for Artists:
Notes: 
Fee: $35 for nonmembers, $24 for members
Deadline: Dec. 16



Tuesday, December 10, 2019

"Submission Fee No. 53"

"Submission Fee No. 53"  
4" x 4"
Woodcut
Edition of 5
Pay what you want by Dec. 31


This print is part of a time-based conceptual art project. Read more about it here.

INFO PARTICULAR FOR THIS PRINT:
Institution: Manifest Creative Research Gallery
Opportunity: “INPHA 8”, juried publication of works
Venue Location: Cincinnati, OH
Eligibility: works that incorporate photography in some manner, Created in the last 2 years
Potential Benefits for Artists: Cash prizes
Notes: 
Fee: $40 
Deadline: Dec. 31

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Deadline Passed for "Submission Fee No. 50", "No. 51" and "No. 52"

This is documentation of the unsold prints (burned) of and the discontinued blocks (gouged) of: "Submission Fee No. 50"
"Submission Fee No. 51"
"Submission Fee No. 52


NOTES:
6 copies of "No 50" were created. One artist's proof was archived. The entire edition of 5 were sold with revenue equally $35 and so a submission was made to Las Laguna Gallery's "Animalz" juried exhibition.

6 copies of "No 51" were created. One artist's proof was archived. Three from the edition were sold with revenue less than $35 so no submission was made. The last 2 were destroyed as documented here.5 copies of "No 52" were created. One artist's proof was archived. Two from the edition were sold with revenue less than $30 so no submission was made. The last 2 were destroyed as documented here.







STOP CHARGING (AND PAYING) SUBMISSION FEES

There is a gallery in Cincinnati that collects well over $100K a year (over half of the institution’s total revenue) just from charging submission fees to artists. It puts out several calls for submissions every month, and typically charges $40 per submission. These fees are not for participation. They are for mere consideration, mostly for entry to juried group exhibitions.

Most of the paying artists do not benefit from their investment. Their art will be rejected. They will not receive a refund. At best, they can write it off as a business expense. That is, if they earn a profit off their studio work three out of every five years, otherwise the IRS regards an artist’s labor to be a hobby. 


The inevitable result of pay-to-play is representation that is proportional to the artists’ means, not the quality or cultural significance of their work.

Emerging and mid-career artists commonly invest more money in our studio practices than we earn from selling products produced in our studios. Our costs of living are often supported by teaching, day jobs, and loved ones. Some of us don’t even produce products which can be commodified and therefore can only ever have our studio practice be monetarily compensated by the occasional stipend or grant.

The gallery in Cincinnati is Manifest Research Gallery, and the only reason we know how much they collect in fees and that the fees are the bulk of their total operating budget is because they are a 501(C)(3) nonprofit, and must therefore disclose that information to the public. Most arts institutions charging submission fees are completely opaque about it, and there is no way of knowing just how much fees from artists whose applications are rejected are supporting the artistic establishment in America.

As artists know, submission fees are a standard practice. The most common amount charged is $35, though many charge more. Some charge a lesser amount as a base fee for fewer works, and the fee increases with the number of works submitted. Some charge a lesser amount for students, though no discount is offered to low-income artists. Membership organizations typically charge their dues-paying members submission fees, even if it is a lesser amount than charged to non-members. University galleries are increasingly charging submission fees. Even nonprofit institutions whose stated missions are to support artists, charge fees.

The inevitable result of pay-to-play is representation that is proportional to the artists’ means, not the quality or cultural significance of their work. The artists most strapped for cash, particularly those supporting dependents or who live in economically depressed regions or communities, can only afford an occasional fee. More financially stable artists can set a limited budget for submission fees. And a minority of affluent artists will enter whatever they want, whenever they want because the fees are inconsequential to their standard of living. 

Given that this is a growing practice, is it any surprise that a rather homogenous culture of middle-upper class, mostly white people continue to dominate the art world, especially at the levels of emerging and mid-career representation?

Why not charge admission fees to those coming to shows and events? Crowd-fund online. Apply for grants. Appeal to wealthy art-lovers for donations. Lobby lawmakers for more public funding for the arts. 

BUT – isn’t it fair to ask artists to contribute to some of the expense in running an exhibition, event or program they might benefit from? And the answer is sure, IF the artist is benefitting. There are institutions that only charge modest fees to artists whose applications are accepted. But how is it fair to charge an artist who is rejected, especially given how much they have already spent in the studio creating work, as well as preparing application materials?

BUT – nonprofit and artist-run galleries do so much good and already run on shoe-string budgets. What if without revenue from submission fees they shut down? By surviving via a practice that blatantly perpetuates systematic classism, sexism, and racism, these institutions hide the struggles and diverse perspectives of disadvantaged artists behind a field of more advantaged ones. People see thriving arts nonprofits and conclude that everything is fine, when it most certainly is not.

BUT – commercial galleries have the right to charge fees. After all, they are a private business, and those who forego engaging in lucrative standard practices, however unethical, will be replaced by competitors who are willing to do so. And this is true! Which begs the question, why on earth should any artist pay a fee to a gallery for the mere privilege of being considered for a show, when that gallery can’t even sell enough work to survive on commissions? Commercial galleries are either bad at their business – which is to sell art – or they are taking serious advantage of artists by demanding fees on top of commissions. They can only get away with because everyone is doing it.  

This is more reason why nonprofit institutions must NOT charge submission fees. If they stop charging fees, artists have an alternative, and that pressures commercial galleries to cease this unethical and inequitable practice.   

How much are artists benefiting from nonprofits that only exist because they charge so many of us fees for nothing in return? In real world practice, doesn’t this lead to the benefit of a few at the expense of many? And how is that any different than what is happening in the profit-driven realm?  

Are there no other means of fundraising available? Why not charge admission fees to those coming to shows and events? Crowd-fund online. Apply for grants. Appeal to wealthy art-lovers for donations. Lobby lawmakers for more public funding for the arts. Have a goddamned bake sale if need be. But stop charging the very people who are already investing the most and probably making the least off art!
This manner of weeding out applicants might make processing submissions easier for administrators and jurors, but it also makes them less competitive by excluding the very artists whose voices are already marginalized.

Some institutions manage to not charge submission fees, and they are better for it. The International Print Center New York (IPCNY) is a nonprofit that runs the New Prints Program, a biannual open call, and they don’t charge submission fees. As a result, they receive a massive number of submissions to choose from, and their juried exhibitions are much more diverse in representation than is typical.  

In an email exchange I had with Jason Franz, the Executive Director of Manifest Research Gallery, he wrote, “Our exhibits are intentionally VERY competitive. This makes them valuable, and desirable for those wanting to measure their work against their peers and achieve something special.” A curious thing to say considering that submission fees, by their nature, result in much less competition. While each of Manifest’s open calls receive at best a few hundred submissions, IPCNY's New Prints Program receives thousands. This manner of weeding out applicants might make processing submissions easier for administrators and jurors, but it also makes them less competitive by excluding the very artists whose voices are already marginalized. As the saying goes, the path of least resistance is what makes the river crooked. 

The time has come for all of us who make, buy, sell, and value ART to radically change our attitudes about submission fees. We need to collectively, firmly call out this practice for taking advantage of artists who can afford to pay submission fees, and further marginalizing those who can’t.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Deadline Passed for "Submission Fee No. 49"

This is documentation of the unsold prints (burned) of and the discontinued block (gouged) of "Submission Fee No. 49". 

NOTES:
5 copies of "No 49" were created. One artist's proof was archived. Two from the edition were sold with revenue less than $10 so no submission was made. The last 2 were destroyed as documented here.



Thursday, December 5, 2019

"Submission Fee No. 52"

"Submission Fee No. 52"  
4" x 3.5" x 2.25"
Woodcut on cardboard
Edition of 4
Pay what you want by Dec. 8



This print is part of a time-based conceptual art project. Read more about it here.

INFO PARTICULAR FOR THIS PRINT:
Institution: West Windsor Art Center
Opportunity: “Doom and Bloom Exhibition”
Venue Location: Princeton Junction, NJ 
Eligibility: Over 18, All works must contain at least 80% of materials which would otherwise be trash.
Potential Benefits for Artists:
Notes: 
Fee: $30 for nonmembers, $20 for members, up to 3 works
Deadline: Dec. 8