Standards

For questions and detail information regarding The Guild’s Standards contact Nicole McKay, Artist Relations Director, nicole@theguild.org or 734.662.3382, ext. 101.

Standards Review Information

The Standards Review is an extremely important component of Guild membership. Members, whatever their membership status , must pass the Standards Review, also known as the Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair jury, in order to remain or gain eligibility for the Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair. Exhibiting Members are reviewed every three years. Artist Members must jury every year.  Not only is it a competitive jury, artists’ work must meet a certain level of quality in order to pass. At all Guild art fairs, representatives of the Standards Committee check artists’ work against their review images and note any breach of Guild Standards. The Standards Review is the most important aspect of the Guild’s evaluation system; serious violations may result in the loss of exhibition privileges.

Exhibition Standards

Through the enforcement of its Exhibition Standards, The Guild seeks to maintain and increase fair attendees’ and exhibiting artists’ confidence in the credibility and authenticity of Guild events and to protect participating artists from unfair competition. An impartial and equal enforcement of the Exhibition Standards ensures these goals will be met and an appropriate atmosphere will be created for the sale of artwork. The participating artist is responsible for being in compliance with The Guild’s Exhibition Standards.  What constitutes being in or out of compliance with the Exhibition Standards, in all cases, will be determined by The Guild.  The decision of The Guild is final.

Exhibition Standards:

  1. All work must be the original design of the artist; the essential work required to make each finished piece must be done by the artist.  The artist is expected to be the major contributor of the time required in the essential production of the work. Helpers or assistants do not replace the artist in the production of a piece. They are permitted to assist in the non-essential and more mundane processes that go into the production of a finished piece. The only exceptions allowed are defined in Exhibition Standards #2.
  2. No more than 25 percent of the work in an exhibitor’s booth may be reproductions; this policy applies to all media.  Each piece must be clearly marked with the word “reproduction.”  Exhibitors must use the word reproduction; other terms, including “print,” may not be used to refer to a reproduction.  The presentation of the reproductions must play a visually subordinate role to the entirety of the exhibitor’s display.  Reproductions of the artist’s own original work are the only reproductions allowed within the artist’s booth.  Determination of what constitutes an original or a reproduction is determined by The Guild of Artists & Artisans.  The decision of The Guild is final.
  3. All work must be safe, non‑toxic, and fit for its intended use.  If any work requires special or limited use, this will be fully disclosed and explained to the public.
  4. Any commercially produced parts used in a work must play a subordinate role and may not be sold separately.
  5. A mass‑produced, cluttered, or commercial appearance to an artist display is not permitted. Limited multiples of items may be displayed where color and size are varied and are required to show clearly the range of items available for sale to fair attendees.   However, if the display presents an overwhelming number of multiples resulting in a commercial appearance, as determined by the Standards Committee, on-site adjustments will be requested and compliance will be required.
  6. The artwork exhibited by the artist at the event must match the quality and balance of the images submitted to either the Standards Review or the event jury.  The artwork exhibited at the event by the artist must also match the scope and volume of the images submitted for either the Standards Review or for the event jury.  An artist is not permitted to submit images presenting complex and detailed artwork but come to the event with a large quantity (more than 15 percent of the work displayed) of simple work. If artists wish to display a large quantity of simple work, it must be presented in the same proportion as presented in the review or jury images.

Note:  The Guild understands that small work can be an important and essential sale item for an artist, therefore, an artist may display up to 15 percent of small work without a separate review or jury image. The small work must be clearly shown in the artist’s booth image.  In addition, it is also understood (and encouraged) that experimentation with new work is part of the creative process. Ten percent of an artist’s display may be devoted to new work, without a separate review or jury image, if the new work is within the same medium and if the new work is of comparable quality to the artwork presented in the artist’s review or jury images.

Exemptions

If an artist believes his or her work transcends these standards, the artist is welcomed to apply to The Guild’s Standards Committee for determination of eligibility.  The request must be made in writing at least 60 days prior to the fair for which the determination is requested.  There is no guarantee that an exemption will be granted.  The decision of The Guild is final.

Ineligible Work

The Standards Committee, in an effort to help artists determine whether their specific artwork complies with The Guild’s Exhibition Standards, has prepared the following list of artwork that does not meet the Standards requirements. This list is a guideline to help artists determine whether or not their artwork is Standards eligible; it is neither exhaustive, nor is unacceptable work limited to the items listed. Ineligible work includes but is not limited to:

  • Jewelry
  • Cut coin jewelry
  • Enamels on manufactured representational copper shapes
  • Jewelry made of manufactured components
  • Jewelry made from flatware
  • Beads, not made by the artist.  There are only two exemptions to this rule:
    • 1) If the beads are not made by the artist, they must clearly play a subordinate role in the finished piece; and
    • 2) The requirement that beads must be made by the artist does not apply in the technique known as bead weaving, however, commercial bead weaving kits are not permitted.
  • Stud earrings in commercial settings
  • Pearls whether in necklaces or bracelets.  Note: Simple-strung or hand knotted-strung pearls are not eligible even if the pearls have been simple-strung or hand knotted-strung by the artist.  Pearl necklaces and/or bracelets may be included if they have an ornament or fastener that is both intricate and a focal point of the piece, handmade by the artist and is of greater value than the piece from which it is hung or attached.   Drilled pearls or pearls that have been altered, but not by the artist, are not eligible; such pearls are considered to be purchased beads and are subject to all purchased bead rules.  Pearl earrings are permitted as long as the setting has been designed and handmade by the artist.

Clothing

  • T-shirts, sweat shirts, hats, and other commercially manufactured clothes, no matter how embellished by the artist
  • No manufactured seams allowed in clothing blanks and upcycled clothing, including ties, pillow covers, etc. Scarves made from scarf blanks are limited to 20% of the booth.
  • Manufactured belt buckles sold separately from the belts

Other

  • Manufactured tiles with a design as a major component of the piece
  • Enamels on manufactured representational copper shapes
  • Commercially made glassware, flatware or serving pieces no matter how embellished by the artist
  • Dried flowers, in groups, arrangements, or bouquets
  • Wreaths
  • Anything made in a commercial mold, in any medium
  • Anything made using a commercial kit, in any medium
  • Tole painting
  • Dough art
  • Country crafts
  • CDs and tapes
  • Food

Violations of Exhibition Standards

Violations of the Exhibition Standards will be handled by the Standards Committee and designated Guild Staff. At all Guild fairs, every attempt will be made to inform artists as soon as possible of violations by issuing a Standards Warning. This warning gives the exhibiting artist a chance to correct the problem without penalty as long as the correction is immediate. If the problem is not corrected or if the violation is a continuing problem, the artist will be subject to stronger consequences that may include loss of exhibiting privileges and/or being required to close his or her booth immediately, vacate the booth space at the end of the event day and forfeit all booth fees. If the Committee is not able to resolve a problem during the fair, the Committee will review the situation and determine any necessary action following the event. The Standards Committee will make a good faith effort to inform artists of any potential standards problems and what steps to take to correct the problems following the Standards Review or the event jury.  However, it is the responsibility of the artists to comply with the Exhibition Standards. There are two rules that are considered to be inviolable under any circumstances:

  • Engaging in “buy-sell” practices, that is, buying the work done by another and selling it as your own; or
  • Selling commercially produced reproductions of the work of another artist.

If it is discovered that an artist has engaged in either of these practices, that artist will lose Guild exhibiting privileges immediately and permanently.  Appeals Artists may appeal to the Standards Committee after violation notifications. Appeals must be submitted in writing within 30 days of the artist receiving the violation notification. The artist may request to present the appeal in person before the Standards Committee; in person appeals are limited to 15 minutes. Notification of approval or denial of the appeal will be sent to the artist, in writing, as soon as possible after the decision has been made.  The decision of The Guild is final.

Standards FAQ

If I pass Standards am I automatically in the Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair?
To be eligible for participation in the Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair, a Guild Member must pass and continue to pass the Standards Slide Review. However, a limited number of booths are available for the Summer Art Fair and are assigned first to Exhibiting Members who have passed the Review.

Why did I fail the Review?There are many possible reasons for failing the Review. For example, the slides may be poorly shot or produced in a manner that does not effectively show the work, the booth display may be weak or poorly lit, or the work may not display the level of artistic or technical expertise that is required to be in the Summer Art Fair. It is important to remember that the only representation of the artwork the reviewers see is the review slides. In order to have the best possible slides, it is imperative that the artwork be professionally photographed. It is also recommended that backgrounds be neutral, that the work be appropriately lit, and that the booth be fully visible and neatly arranged.

Why are Standard Committee members walking around the Guild’s fairs  and taking pictures?
The Standards Committee compares the artwork images that are uploaded for the Standards Review with the work that appears on the street. This on-site review, which has been performed for many years, is an important element of the review process. If the Standards Committee find any artists that are not in compliance with the Exhibition Rules or displaying work that is varies significantly from their review slides, the on-site reviewers will take a photograph for the record. These photos are employed by the Standards Committee to determine if there are possible violations.

Please contact The Guild with any Standards questions or concerns. Nicole McKay, Artist Relations Director, is the staff liaison with the Standards Committee. She can be reached by calling 734-662-3382, ext. 101 or emailing nicole@theguild.org.