Are High Jury Fees for Craft Shows and Festivals Justified?

January 2013

Image Courtsey: Elise Ramsey/ Flickr.comImage Courtsey: Elise Ramsey/

Whether you’re more about arts and painting or handmade crafts, showing your work at art shows and festivals is a critical part of getting your work seen by a larger audience, as well as getting it sold to interested parties. However, there are certain parts of the process that can make the experience more of a pain than a pleasure.

One of these things is definitely the required fee attached to juried art shows. Jury fees are what you pay in order to have your art evaluated and considered for inclusion by a panel of judges. Some shows charge relatively reasonable jury fees. However, others can be a bit on steep side.

So what gives? Why are so many jury fees so high and what are artists and craftsmen really getting in return for their money?

A Look at What’s Covered By Jury Fees

Unless a given artist has ever been on the inside looking out, it can be tough to really know what goes on behind the scenes of a juried craft show or art festival. They assume that the jury process involves someone taking a minute or two to glance at each piece. However, there’s actually a lot more involved than that. For instance, consider the following:

  • Jurors take the time to go over and fully evaluate each and every application whether the person ultimately winds up getting into the show or not. This takes time, effort, and manpower naturally.
  • In regards to most art festivals and craft shows, the applicant’s entire submitted portfolio is actually reviewed multiple times before being scored – up to four or five – as opposed to just given a quick once-over.
  • Jurors also go beyond just reviewing a given artist’s application before making a final decision. Artists are usually also Googled. Their personal websites are viewed and many applicants also wind up receiving phone calls with requests for more information about them and their work.

All in all, the jury process actually takes quite a bit of time and effort in order to be done properly and jury fees help to cover that. Generally speaking, higher fees are attached to more thorough jury processes, so in light of this, some artists and craftsmen may consider them worth paying in order to ensure that their work is adequately evaluated before a decision is reached.


While there is some validity to the time element of the people reviewing the work, I feel the vast majority of jury fees are just thinly disquised money making schemes for the event promoters. After 38+ years in the biz some things are transparent.

By Denise Midroy on January 8, 2013

You would think the juror’s fees would be included in the cost of booth space rather than being an extra fee.

By Judy Myers on January 8, 2013

The complete fact is that quality jurying is as haphazard as the shows themselves. Experience and sticking with a proven plan usually yields the best results. I agree with Denise.

By Leland Williams on February 26, 2013

I like to see the jury fees be included in the booth, or at least give us our score and the cut of score. If I get 3 points and it takes at least a 5 to get in I will know that I need to inprouve to get in.

By ernie on November 24, 2013

There is NO WAY it takes more than a few days to jury a show. We are talking about BIG money in jury fees being collected.  If a show has 250 exhibitors and gets 500 who apply at $25 fee each that

By Debbie Jablonski on February 27, 2018

Nah, it’s a rip off. It just means only the privileged get in and the rest don’t make it. Galleries and big city events like the image of class privilege…..worst yet?

2 fees PLUS 30% commission? What the bleep gives? Who’s the one making money here?

By Angie on September 4, 2019

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