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Art of the Call Podcast: Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts - Sally Hedman
Here's another Art of the Call video podcast where we ask directors, artists and curators to talk about the call for entry process.



In this video, Sally Hedman talks about:

Working on the process

We're having the artists put up their artist statement in their booths - which some did, some didn't - we found that that promotes sales and that's what we're all about: both education and we want the artists and the patrons to have transactions with one another

We often ask artists to do demos but we find that they're often too busy so we're looking at other guilds and groups of artists to come in and be a little separate from the show itself but do demos

A lot of patrons appreciate knowing how the art is put together, the value and hard work

Artists get excited about showing people how they do their work - although some seasoned artists thing we don't do that but newer artists think it's a good idea and they do it - gives them an opportunity to engage with the patrons. A lot of artists are a little shy about engaging the potential customers - it's a good conversation starter

Which media'

We went through a big rehash this year - I look at other art shows - we combined all of painting into one category

Took out other 'Other category' - this year they're going to have to figure it out - that will help our end when we do a jury where things belong

For example, there's a lot of different types of woodworking - some goes into 3d art and some goes into woodworking

Prospectus

I look at a lot of other shows and get their prospectuses

For this year we went from 16 categories to 13 categories, we've always had lists of what the categories are - this year I described each one - that will help people to know where they belong

We put in a little promotion about the festival itself, the community, who the people are who come

We describe what the requirements are for the jury

We have a section called 'rules of participation' so that when they get the contract it doesn't come as a surprise. We review that every year. Depends on our experience and the artists' experience

Web site

It's critical

Has a little bit of everything for everybody

We have an artist section so they know which event in the festival they're going to be applying to - which also helps them understand that they're not the only event in the show

We're keeping up the gallery from last year so the artists know the caliber of the artists

We want them to have a feel for how many people come, how crowded it is, what the activities are - that it's always sunny in Lake Oswego

The web site always mirrors the prospectus

Entry and booth fees

We look at other shows to see what the going rate is

To encourage people to pay on time we setup an early bird fee

We're a small bedroom community and the events in cities attract more people so their fees are higher

Most of the shows in our area are not commission shows, our is not either - so with commission shows the fee is a lot lower

Volunteers

We have about 500 volunteers, we have a steering committee that consists of 50+ people who are volunteers - we have a volunteer coordinator who reaches out to companies, communities to get more people

We have volunteers for booth sitting, hospitality, information, helping setup people

The booth sitting element has been wonderful - we've been fine tuning the process of what they can and can't do, in the early days we had volunteers accepting money but we're no longer doing that because it's a liability that you don't want to take on

We have about 50 or 60 booth sitters, that's our primary need

We have somebody who is the coordinator of bringing the volunteers in so each of us who needs them we tell her

We have a booth sitting coordinator - she schedules them, greets them, gives them a little training, sends them off and checks them back in after they're done - it requires the right person to be in there to do it - they have to be gracious and helpful and informative

Planning

The festival is at the end of June, in July we do debriefing and decide what's important and not important, discuss what kinds of changes we're going to do for next year

We did a little bit of prospecting to try to build up the number of artists that we reach and try to get more people applying so that we have a bigger pool to fish from

Jury

The jury picks and choose what they like, they discuss it - I'd like to build up that discussion aspect a little more

We then send out accepted, waitlist and not accepted emails.

Before we started using EntryThingy we had everything up on the screen in a Powerpoint - and now we use EntryThingy and the images look a lot better on the computer than projected - so we're in a classroom with 3 or 4 computers - we usually have 3 jurors that are looking at the images and they b=vote on the different categories and they move on to the next category. But before they move on to the next category - there used to be a lot more conversation between the jurors - but now that they're looking at a computer there's not as much conversation - so we have to generate - stop! - let's talk about this... what did you like, what did you not like - try to get them to discuss it a little more. That way we can learn and improve the quality that we have in the show.

Selecting jurors

Talk to a variety of people on the steering committee, see if they have any recommendations

Try to get a cross section of gallery owners, someone from the Portland Art Museum, Academics, Oregon College of Art & Craft - we want 3 people who have a broad overview of all of our categories

Artists who are award winners are eligible, there's a risk no matter how you look at it, for example you have a potter who won last year and she wants her best friend to get in so there's a little bias by having artists give their friends higher points - jurors can do that too so we try to make it a blind jury but the artist community is not huge so they recognize a lot of people and they know their work and who they are so it can't be 100% pure blind jurying - and some artists will make a mistake and have their name on the booth shot - you can ask them not to do that but they might do it anyway

Artists' Sales

From a show director position I think some of it depends on how an artist interacts with the customer. Sometimes they just don't want to be approached, they just want to look - and that's fine, maybe they'll come back later - but if the artist is sitting in her lawn chair or eating lunch and not paying attention to what's going on I don't think she's going to do as well as somebody who's looking alive and saying I'm happy to answer questions.

There are so many different factors I'd be hard pressed to say which is the key element.

I have a survey that I give to the artists - it's not foolproof and hopefully they're being reasonably honest - last year in spite of the weather they recorded that they did better than the prior year. So I was really surprised and happy about that because the other shows up here were not doing as well

Success

What I love to see is patrons walking around with heavy bags

I look at what the artists say back to me

I do the survey, they answer questions like would they recommend this show, would they come back next year - so I get responses that way - it's not scientific but it gives me a sense of what's going on

We're here for the artists but also for the education so it's hard to say oh we educated so many people this weekend - and that is our primary goal

posted on Jan 16, 2013 • permanent link

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