Stop Normalizing Charging Artists Submission Fees

“If all the other galleries charged submission fees to jump off a bridge, would you?”

“How much is the normal submission fee to jump off the bridge? Will artists have to pay for the bungee cords and protective gear on top of the application fee? Would it be during Art Walk? Will there be a no-host bar?”

An online discussion over the weekend about the ethics of charging artists submission fees led to some misogynist and ableist attacks on my intelligence, mental health, and character, as well as what would seem to be a not-so-veiled threat. So of course, I decided to talk about the practice here.

Artists shouldn’t pay submission fees to have work considered.

Not if the work will be seen by “so many people,” not if “other galleries are charging fees,” and not if accepted artists will receive some kind of perk that can be purchased from that business any other time of the year for the same amount of money as the submission fee.

Other authors have already done excellent jobs on explaining how submission fees frontload the risk of shows onto artists. Martha Knox gives a detailed breakdown on the subject, particularly how the charging of fees maintains the status quo of who is represented in the art world. Please read her article, aptly named “Stop Charging and Paying Artist Submission Fees.”  The site Art Business Info. for Artists covers the phenomenon of “vanity galleries” — galleries which make their money off of artists and not actually selling artists’ work. If you’re just starting out as an artist, or if you know someone who is struggling in this field, please, please read their page for a great list of red flags.

Instead of repeating the information found on these sites, here are resources for finding arts organizations that don’t charge submission fees.

Seattle-based Artist Trust recently revised their opportunities website to list whether an organization charges submission fees up front. They also have a number of grants available for Washington-based artists, as well as assistance for those interested in learning how to apply for said grants.  

Submittable’s advanced search option allows creators to exclude results with fees. If you haven’t used it before, click the “Sign In” button to create a free account.

An international site that I have had luck with in the past for writing opportunities is the UK-based Writers HQ. Not only do they list the compensation writers can expect to receive, “Writers’ HQ will now only be accepting listings from organisations offering accessible submission opportunities for low-income writers.” Many of the opportunities listed are free.

Submission fees are exploitative. Stop normalizing them, and start creating spaces for more artists to thrive.

Suzanne

I try to share resources as I find them. If this kind of advice is helpful, please let me know either in the comments or by email (nominestudios@gmail.com), and I’ll make it a more regular feature on the blog.

Throwback to 2006 Equilibrium Artist Collective first show “Eye Full.” Guest artists were invited to join us at each collective pop-up event, over 100 attendees each event, and not a single submission fee was charged to artists. First “Moped Guy” painting (Suzanne Skaar, 2006) on display in top right corner of background.

New work and online shop updates!

I’ve been updating my Redbubble shop (@nominestudios). New and old work are available on a variety of products. Check it out, and if there’s a design you’d like to see on the shop, let me know!

“Hobbes” by Suzanne Skaar, 2022, all rights reserved. Art available on multiple products at Redbubble shop (@nominestudios).
“Swallow” by Suzanne Skaar, 2014, all rights reserved. Art available on multiple products at Redbubble shop (@nominestudios).
“Nerd Badge” by Suzanne Skaar, 2020, all rights reserved. Art available on multiple products at Redbubble shop (@nominestudios).

As always, thank you for your support! If you like what you see, please share No, Mine! Studios with a friend!

You can help support this small, Tacoma-based business by liking and following @nominestudios on the following platforms:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

TikTok

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You can also buy a dino a coffee here.

Cheers!

Suzanne

If you buy a dinosaur a coffee …

Then the little dino is going to want a bubble tea… and maybe a vegetarian taco, too.

2D pixel art dinosaur holding a pink bubble tea and eating a taco. Suzanne Skaar, 2021. All rights reserved.

The process of building up a studio and developing a game can be long and lonely. It can especially be challenging as a mom to network through the normal avenues when many are not welcoming of children, and the pandemic has made it more difficult to depend on already limited childcare resources. Thank you everyone has cheered me on and jumped in to help along the way! I am especially grateful for the support received from the Tacoma Artist Initiative Program to focus on building up the environment of the game. [Much of the game’s background art is loosely based on real places in Tacoma, WA.]

Concept work for as yet untitled dinosaur game. “Boop’s” is based on Tacoma’s iconic Bob’s Java Jive. Suzanne Skaar, 2021. All rights reserved.

If you would like to help offset some of the costs of running a small business (business licenses, equipment, software, food …), consider buying a dino a coffee (or a bubble tea, or a taco). I do have a limited run of work up on Redbubble, as well as buttons and stickers ready to be placed in local retail stores.

Random sample of buttons featuring artwork from No, Mine! Studios.
New buttons by Suzanne Skaar, 2022. All rights reserved.

If there is a design on my site that you would like to purchase that is not on Redbubble yet, email nominestudios@gmail.com.

You can also help No, Mine! Studios reach a larger audience by following on these platforms:

Instagram

TikTok

Twitter

Facebook

YouTube

Thank you for your time and support!

Suzanne

Good News

Animated gif of a dinosaur happily bouncing up and down side to side.

I am pleased to announce that I have received a Tacoma Artist Initiative Program Award for the 2021-2022 cycle! I’m honored to be included as there are many great artists on the list. Thank you everyone for your support through this process. More details to come, including how to watch my artist talk later in the year.

Shop Page

Happy Friday!

The Shop page is now available on our main menu, which is awesome because updating the website with a two-year-old helper is not as fast a process as one might think.

Dinsoaur # 2 Sticker. Suzanne Skaar. 5" x 5". 2014.
Dinsoaur # 2 Sticker. Suzanne Skaar. 5″ x 5″. 2014. (Not at all inspired by my junior assistant.) 

At the moment, links to purchase stickers and vote for the first T-shirt are all in one place. And as work becomes available for purchase in stores, locations will be added there as well.

Thank you for your continued support!

Suzanne

No Mine! Studios