Laura Kesselring: Juried Show Venue
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Subject: The Juried Show Venue: Shipping Your Masterpiece
Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2001 16:15:43 -0800 (PST)
From: "Laura A. Kesselring" <paintgirl74@yahoo.com>

Part 11 in a 12-Part Series

It's time to send your art to the exhibition venue! Before you ship your pieces, you need to make sure they are prepared according to the prospectus's specifications. Label each the back or bottom of each piece with your name, phone number, the title, date, medium, and size. Some shows will provide you with some kind of label to put this information on - if not, you can make your own. You can usually also send promotional materials along with your pieces, such as a resume or bio. These are often displayed at the exhibition, or at least kept on file at the gallery for future use.

I suggest hand-delivering your pieces whenever possible - this way you can ensure their safety in transit and guarantee their delivery. However, for out-of-state, cross-country, or international exhibitions, you will need to explore options for shipping your art. There are important things to consider when choosing the method and carrier for your shipping needs.

First, review the prospectus (or any materials sent to you with your acceptance notice). Note the deadline by which your art needs to arrive at the venue. You want to use this date to calculate how much time to allow for shipping. The most cost-effective methods often involve a longer shipping time - 3 days or more. So know your dates ahead of time and save some money.

The prospectus or acceptance materials will also tell you if there are any shipping restrictions. Sometimes venues will only be open certain days or hours for deliveries. Other times, they will require you to use a specific carrier. Whatever the restrictions, you should follow them - or risk your artwork not arriving in time or at all!

You can pack your artwork yourself, or have a professional or the shippers do it. Larger or more fragile pieces can be tricky - make sure these are protected and secure, no matter who packs them. You can probably pack smaller pieces on your own. Never use styrofoam "peanuts" when packing your artwork. This is because the gallery will save all your packing materials to return your piece with, and "peanuts" are easily lost or thrown away - in fact, most places will not allow you to send work packed this way. Use bubble wrap, wood or styrofoam braces, or other reusable materials only. Larger pieces will require a crate or other sturdy device, while you can usually get away with a strong cardboard box for smaller pieces. Make sure you leave plenty of room inside for bubble wrap - add enough so that the piece is secure in the box with no room to move around.

Outside of any restrictions imposed by the exhibition venue, there are things you should know about the best ways to ship artwork. Although I don't know specifics, UPS apparently has some issues with shipping artwork - I have heard that their policies change frequently on whether or not they will do it at all. I personally use FedEx whenever possible. In my experience, it is an easy and convenient way to ship anything.

When you ship with FedEx, ask for and fill out the USA Airbill form. Choose "3 Day Express" for the cheapest shipping available. Make sure you choose a "Total Declared Value" for the art - most exhibition venues will not offer insurance for pieces in transit, only while they are on the premises. If you read the fine print on the back of the airbill, it says that for items of "extraordinary value" (which is how they define artwork), the highest declared value allowed is $500. Believe it or not, this is a better deal than UPS, which usually won't ship artwork at all. If your pieces are more than $500 together, my advice is to ship items one at a time if you are worried about damage or loss-you will then receive up to $500 per item if that happens. I have always declared the full amount (once I declared $2,200) and have never had anything damaged or lost-but this is always a gamble.

No matter how you ship your artwork, most exhibitions will require you to pay for return shipping costs. If you ship FedEx, this is easy - I just include a second filled-out airbill form (again, with a value declared for return shipping) with my shipment. I include my credit card number on the airbill in the correct space, and then FedEx bills my credit card when my artwork is shipped back to me. This is the simplest way to include return shipping. Another way is to wait until your original shipping costs are calculated, then write a check for that amount and put it in the box before it is sealed. This method will work no matter which carrier you use.

Up Next: "Going to See Your Art, You Famous Person!"

Juried Show Venue: Table of Contents
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