I’m sure a lot of you have come to the same realization. It’s not the shows/exhibits themselves, but the cost of getting something there. There’s a lot of paperwork to fill out, forms that demand details about what it is, what it’s made of, where it came from, what it’s “valued” at. There’s a risk that some customs agent is going to sneer, have a bad day and hold your work either to the gallery initially, or when it comes back to you as the rightful owner-creator, and demand either more details down to where your maternal great grandmother was born to what it “really” is worth. There’s another risk that it will either not get there at all (i had sent work a couple of years ago to Texas and it went to Florida and was then sent back to me, missing the show entirely)–or that it will be lost or damaged on the way back, if the precious thing didn’t attract a buyer, if the exhibit items were also for sale, not just for exhibit…………….
The cost of “doing” a show can be astronomical really. Never mind the jurying fees, which sometimes in themselves are ridiculous. I’ve even heard one show say theirs were high to weed out the ones who “are not serious about art”. WHAT????? I get the fact that jurying is a necessity, i get it that fees are charged to offset costs and to attract the high profile jurors, to lessen the cost of administration and logistics, but when you add that to the hoops you have to jump through to get something there if it is accepted, it starts adding up to a high price to have your baby hanging in a room with other people’s babies.
Don’t get me wrong, i am thrilled when i get those emails that something has been accepted, but now i realize that i simply can’t afford to do it anymore. I work a day job, i have a husband who works hard too and though we are not poverty stricken, we are regular joes earning a living, with not a lot of leeway for costs that could eat into the budget for luxuries like needed car parts, winter boots and pet food.
There is a great divide in my house today. My husband is furious at the cost of shipping something to Gatlinburg TX for the SDA “Materialities” show. I am in shock and let the bloody thing go anyways. I’m embarrassed that i did, knowing the damage it has done to our budget. I’m hurt by the thought that my work can’t go out of the country again and that i will never then be on the “world stage” simply because i cannot afford the cost—never mind the costs of creating, the time, the skill, the agony and the ecstacy of the art making.
NONE of this is either the SDA’s fault, or the fault of any other exhibit that is not in Canada, by the way. I support the SDA and love what it has enabled me to do. It’s the shippers, the rules and regulations, and the inflated sense of importance given to packages that may or may not be “dangerous’, fraudulent, or illegal.
I paid $125CDN to get “How the Light Bends” to the lower US. I also have to pay probably the equivalent in AMERICAN dollars to get it back when the show ends. I paid a jurying fee of $40US to be vetted for the show. And let’s not forget that i also paid for the materials, the time to create, the skills that went into making it, the experience that came up with the idea and the actual MAKING of it. Is it any wonder that most people don’t get why art is so “expensive”???????
What it comes down to in the end is i simply cannot afford this. Was it vanity then that made me let it go? It still would have been in the catalogue, just not physically there. It almost makes me want to stop completely. You know what i did last night when we got home from the shipper?
I took down every piece of art from our walls. I packed up my stitching corner. I cried.