Art Show - Coordinate with Convention Committee
Who decides what? Who does what?
For some shows, the art show director is on the convention committee. At others the art show director is just staff. Some art shows are run by someone totally outside the convention staff. Regardless, you have to communicate with the rest of the convention committee. Many tasks and requests will need to go through third parties, and you need to know who’s in charge of:
- Hotel information and requests – these are usually directed through the convention’s hotel liaison.
- Logistics (moving panels and boxes of art, setting them up, arranging trucks and access to storage, acquiring supplies, etc.) – may be done by the art show staff, a separate logistics crew, or someone else entirely. Various parts may be handled by different groups. You need to know who is in charge of each part.
- Budget – should be worked out jointly with the treasurer and the rest of convention committee. Who approves additional expenditures?
- Expense payment and reimbursement – how do you pay for things? What expenses do you get reimbursed for and how do you get reimbursed for them?
- Policy decisions – who makes which ones
- Membership refunds or discounts – do artists, judges, and staff get them? What other perks can be offered? Who decides?
- Event times – While the art show staff should set art show hours, the auction (and possibly other art programs run by the art show) are usually in a program room. Times need to be coordinated with programming. If you want your Guests of Honor in the art show at certain times, who do you need to coordinate with? (usually programming and/or guest liaison)
- Volunteers – does the art show recruit their own, do they present a list of their needs to a central personnel function, or both (e.g., find your own setup & auction staff, but present security needs to Security).
- Security – which security does the art show provide, and which is provided as part of convention security?
- Cash, check & credit card handling – How is it done? Who determines how this is done? Where do you get starting cash from? Who skims cash as the show progresses?
- Art Programming – is this handled by the art show or programming? Both? What about docent tours? Art demos?
- GoH liaison – Who decides on Artist Guests of Honor? Who invites them? For art show information, do you contact them directly, or do you have to go through a guest liaison?
Establish expectations and lines of communication up front. The exact way any of these things is done is less important than having all parties agree on the way you'll do it.
Who sets Art Show policies?
The convention committee should determine general policy - what sort of show it should be. Expect them to determine how much space they are willing to dedicate to the Art Show, with your advice on the needs and consequences. Expect similar give and take on your budget.
The convention committee as a whole should not set policies like art show hours, prize categories, art show rules, etc. You can accept requests, but you decide on them. Having the art show run by the whole concom works about as well as having programming run by the whole concom - it becomes incoherent and inconsistent. For things like fees or hours, listen to what they want, but also expect them to listen to you.
What do you do if they insist on something you consider disastrous? That depends. Particularly in the early stages, being willing to calmly walk away gives you tremendous leverage and personal freedom. My personal feeling is that if I can't persuade them to be reasonable, they're not people I want to work with. They should find someone else to run their art show. Or perhaps I'm bad at conveying my knowledge - so they should find someone else to run their art show. Just be careful to distinguish between reasonable and what you like.
Later on, if you feel you've made a commitment to the artists or public, you probably don't want to leave. Your options are more limited and you have less leverage. You need to compromise or do damage control. Get creative. If a small but expensive con in a remote area insists that all artists pay full memberships - even if they're mailing in - you might ask if it could be a supporting membership. Maybe you could apply the membership amount toward panel fees, commission, and return postage.