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Artist Questions?

Got questions about becoming an artist at the festival?  Below are answers to the questions that come our way most frequently.  If you still have questions after reviewing these, feel free to send an EMAIL.

When and how can I apply?
The Tempe Festival of the Arts has two events per year, one in late March and one in early December.  The applications for both events are done through Zapplication.  Zapplication is a platform used by most art festivals around the country and it is free to set up an account.  Each year, the application for the March show opens October 1 and closes December 15 of the previous year.  The application for the December show opens June 1 and closes August 15 of that same year. 

Who is eligible to participate as an artist?
We only allow artists to exhibit their own work at the festival.  Artists cannot send an employee or an apprentice to sell on their behalf.  Once a creative venture grows to a more commercial nature, they are no longer eligible to participate in the festival.  We do not allow third party sellers to bring products to the festival.  We also don't allow agents or dealers to bring/sell the works of artists that they represent.  Finally, we don't allow multiple artists within one booth where one is selling/managing the booth on behalf of the group.  We do allow collaborations where two artists legitimately contribute to the creation of the art, however we require that both collaborators are present at the festival.

What categories/mediums are at this festival?
There are fifteen different categories that artists can apply under.  Artists can apply in two categories for each festival, however they must complete two applications and pay the application fee for each category.  For a complete list of rules for each category, click HERE.  The categories are:
Cottage Edibles & Crafts
Digital Art
Mixed Media

I missed the deadline, can I still apply or be added to a Wait List?
Unfortunately, we can't allow late applications because our turnaround time is so quick.  We go right into the jury process as soon as the applications close.  Typically we have between 600 and 700 applications for the festival and we only have room for around 350 artists. That means that we establish a wait list from the applicants that apply by the deadline.  We don't add artists to the show or the waitlist if they didn't apply on time and go through the jury process.

Is the show juried?  
Yes, we utilize a jury for the selection of artists and a completely different jury for the awards at the festival.  The Selection Jury is made up of around 5 individuals who are experts in the art field in our region.  The jury changes for each festival however we rotate jurors through the selection panel, so they may repeat every couple of years.  No two jury panels are the same.  In addition, no members of the jury are applicants in the festival.  The jury only sees the images that are uploaded to Zapp and the artist process description, no name or other references to the artist.  You can imagine how important your images are to getting accepted.  

What is the Jury Process?

All artists who participate in the Tempe Festival of the Arts must have completed the Festival’s jury process. The jury does not know the identity of any artist. The jury scores each applicant based on concept, workmanship, and presentation. In addition, the jury is looking for a well-rounded group of artists for the event.  There are three rounds of scoring completed by the jurors and artists remaining in the final round are invited to participate in the festival. Some artists are placed on a wait list. Jury members change for each Festival.  Participation in a previous festival, or longstanding history with the festival, does not guarantee future acceptance.

How does the Wait List work?
The Wait List is established at the same time that artists are invited.  All artists who apply to the show, receive one of three statuses, INVITED, WAIT LIST or NOT INVITED.  Those who are on the wait list can be invited at any time.  It varies from show to show, but typically around 50 artists are invited from the wait list as the first round of invited artists decline or cancel.   
How are booths assigned?
Booths are assigned based on the best curation of the festival.   We want the entire show to be well balanced, we don't place similar artists next to each other, and we try and honor artist requests as best as we can.  Mapping can be quite complicated since there are many factors at play, special requests, doubles vs. singles, power needs, appropriate spacing of the categories, etc.  
How much does it cost for a booth?
Booth prices range from $445 to $580 for a single booth depending on the location within the festival.  Requesting a corner booth adds $105.  There are opportunities for double booths, should that be needed.  Artists bring all their own tenting, tables, chairs, and display infrastructure but they can be rented from our vendor as well.  We highly encourage white tents but do not require them.  Many artists have no tents at all.    
Do you provide the tents and what else do I need for set up?
We do not provide any tents and tents are not required.  There are some artists that have a lovely display without any canopy.  If you do bring a canopy, we prefer that it is white and you are required to have a minimum of 40 pounds of tent weights per leg.  All display structures are your responsibility.
What are the hours/days of the show?
It is a three day show, taking place Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The festival hours are 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM Friday & Saturday and 10:00 AM - 4:30 PM on Sunday.
When do artists load in and out?
This show takes place in Downtown Tempe in the heart of our business district and along our main street, Mill Avenue.  Therefore our street closures are a bit more limited than shows that are in parks or other settings.  The set up is always the Thursday before the opening day and set up for most artists is in the evening.  Artists are allowed to set up beginning at their assigned time and any time after their assigned time through the night.  Artists are allowed to drive right up to the booth and unload their inventory before removing their vehicle.  At the close of each day or in the morning before the show starts, artists can drive back in to the festival footprint for restocking as long as their vehicle is off the grounds by 9 AM each show morning.  Set up times are based on location and are communicated about two weeks before the show.   Load out is Sunday evening as soon as we can safely get vehicles onto the streets after the pedestrians have left the footprint.  
Where do I park once I've unloaded my vehicle?
Parking is certainly a challenge, particularly with very large vehicles.  If you are in a standard size vehicle, please park in any garage in the area.  For the most part, all garages have similar rates in the downtown over the course of the weekend.  There is limited parking for large scale vehicles and trailers so try to arrange for that at your hotel or wherever you are staying.  A list of parking lots and garages will be sent to all artists in the weeks leading up to the show.  
Is there security on site?
We do provide security during the open hours of the festival and overnight.  However our security team cannot be everywhere all the time so we cannot guarantee the security of your belongings.  We recommend not leaving valuables in your booth (cash, tech devices, jewelry) and always closing tent walls or tarping your items.  Typically we only have problems when artists leave their work exposed and uncovered.  We also require that artists indemnify, save and hold harmless and we encourage everyone to carry their own insurance.
I'll be alone, are there booth sitters?
We do provide booth sitters to provide you with a quick break to use the restroom and grab food.  We encourage you to use booth sitters for no more than 15 to 30 minutes as they cannot answer questions adequately about your work and they cannot handle transactions.  Many artists find that it is just as effective to become friends with your booth neighbor and watch each others' booths when you need to step away.  
Are there Artist Awards?
Yes!  Awards are given for Best in Show, Best Booth Display and a Best in Category for each of the sixteen categories.  Winners receive a cash prize and a locally made award ribbon created by fiber artist Marian Crane.  Cash prizes total over $10,000 each festival.  Awards are determined by our awards jury.  These jury members are experts in the art field who spend two full days walking the show before selecting award recipients.  Awards are announced at the artist reception, held on Saturday evening at a venue near the festival footprint.
What if I have to cancel?  
Unfortunately it happens from time to time that artists who are invited can't participate in the festival for various personal reasons or schedule conflicts.  There is a refund schedule for this purpose and once the artist cancels a spot is then opened up to an artist on the waitlist.  This schedule varies slightly by show and will be sent to all invited artists, but generally is ...
Cancel before booths are assigned - artist receives a refund, less $75.
Cancel 14 days before the show - artist receives a 50% refund on booth fee, full refund of any equipment/power purchases.
Cancel less than 14 days from the show - artist receives no refund.
Not showing up at the festival and not communicating with the Director, nullifies any future participation in the festival.

What is Cottage Edibles?
This section includes a variety of home made products that would not be considered fine art but add a unique element to the festival.  Items you may find in this section include soaps, lotions, baked goods, sauces, spices, seasonings, oils/vinegars, candles, essential oils, and other crafts.
What if I don't have an image of my booth?
You are required to upload four images of your work and a booth shot.  If you do not have a booth shot, it is in your best interest to set up your booth at home and take a photo.  It is required and the jury is instructed to deduct points for artists who do not submit a booth photo.  Images are critical to your success!
I sell jewelry for a third party, can I sell at this festival?
We do not allow any reselling at the Tempe Festival of the Arts.  All work presented, displayed, and sold at the event must be the work of the artist that applies, is accepted, and sells at the festival.  You cannot send an employee to work your booth and you cannot sell items that you did not make. 
What licenses or permits do I need to participate?
Once invited into the festival, you will need to get a Transaction Privilege Tax license through the Arizona Department of Revenue that enables you collect and remit sales tax in the state.  You will need to list Tempe as one of the cities in which you conduct business, along with any other cities where you will be selling.  At the festival, it is your responsibility to collect tax and then report and remit to the state.  Tempe sales tax is currently 8.1%.  You will need to have your license available on site in the event that a representative of the state asks to see it.  We do not need to see a copy of the license.  Any participants in the Cottage Edibles section that are providing food samples will be required to get a health permit from Maricopa County. Any artist that creates and sells a product that can be consumed or applied to the body (typically Cottage Goods and Crafts) will be required to provide a col.
Do I have to have my own insurance?
We highly recommend having your own liability insurance.  If your tent knocks over another artists' sculpture, you are liable.  If a storm causes damage to your art, you are responsible.  Upon applying, all artists agree to indemnify, save and hold harmless Tempe Festival of the Arts.
My main category is wood, but I make necklaces with the leftover scraps, can I sell them?
No one can sell jewelry at the festival unless you applied as a jewelry artist and got accepted in that category.  If you would like to make and sell jewelry, however your main category is something else (fiber artists that make jewelry, photographers that put images on pendants, sculpture artists that make small versions for necklaces, leather artists that make a small batch of bracelets, etc.) then you must apply in both categories and get accepted in both.  If we allow everyone to sell their small batches of jewelry, the festival becomes too heavy on jewelry and the artists that juried in under that category are at a huge disadvantage.
Can you tell me about the Emerging Artist program?
The Emerging Artist program is intended to encourage local artists to apply when they are new in their art career and new to doing festivals.   These artists must be based in Arizona.   All artists that are accepted in the Emerging Artist program are placed on Maple Avenue in a designated area with an earlier load-in time.   These artists also pay a reduced booth fee of $265.    
I would like to be a food vendor, how do I apply?
If you have additional questions related to being a food vendor, please contact Tamar Burch,