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Denvention 3 Artist Invitation
We are inviting you to participate in the Art Show at the 66th World Science Fiction Convention, Denvention3. It will be at the Colorado Convention Center, August 6th-10th, 2008.
To enter, please read this, then fill out and return the Space Request form with your panel/table fees.
We have two versions of the form available:
If you don't hear from us within 3 weeks of sending us your space request form and payment, contact us at:
July 15, 2008 is the deadline to reserve space for the art show, but we expect to run out of space before that. We will start a wait list as we fill up.
Panels (4'x4') cost $30. Tables (6'x30") cost $45 each. Each are available in halves. Larger spaces (for large sculptures or pieces over 8' wide) are available by special arrangement - call us. We have a limited amount of space available, so please contact us if you want more than four panels and tables per artist.
We will not reserve space for you until we receive payment. Please make checks or money orders (in U.S. dollars) payable to Denvention3 and send it to:
If you want to use a credit card, send us a separate piece of paper with your name, credit card number, the card's expiration date, and the amount. Don't put it on the Space Request, which will be seen by all the art show staff. We accept MasterCard, Visa, Discover, and American Express. We will not charge you or cash your check if we're out of space.
Bruce M. Miller & Cheryl A. Sundseth
Worldcons vary, but when held in the U.S., the Art Show generally sells between $80,000 and $130,000 of art. Most (65-70%) of the pieces sold are under $50, although most of the dollars (75-85%) come from more expensive pieces. Good quality prints often do well. Portraits of SF media figures seldom do. A sense of humor can help. It's not a huge market for jewelry, anime, furry, or game related art, but we do sell some.
Sales Data from Previous Worldcons
Here are sales data from two of the last three Worldcons held in the U.S. One (in 2002) had a larger show than the other (in 2006) - we'll probably be closer in size to the smaller one. All references to "panels" below really mean "panels or tables."
Average sales per artist at the two shows were $592 and $567, but sales do not distribute evenly. Many artists sold nothing. The 2002 show had a couple artists do extremely well, but also had more artists selling under $100.
It's hard to compare sales per panel, because different shows use different panel sizes, but sales per 4' panel equivalent range from about $2,000 to zero, probably averaging somewhat over $200.
Pieces do sell in the $3000 price range, but only a small percentage of them. Sales over $4,000 are uncommon, though not unheard of.
In 2002, three pieces with minimum bids in the $50-$149 range sold for over $1000 at the voice auction, dragging the average for this range considerably higher.
In 2002, the Print Shop had sales of $20,000, but in 2006, it sold only $7,000.
Denvention3 Art Show FAQ
Q. Is This Like an Art Gallery or an Art Fair?
A. It has elements of both. Like an art fair, you pay for the space you use and you set up your own work. Like a gallery, you set it up using our equipment, you can hang your art and leave until the end of the show (or even mail your work in), and we handle the sales and sales tax for you. The audience is somewhere between the two; there are only about 5,000 people, but they've all paid over $100 to be there and many of them collect art. Most pieces are auctioned rather than just being sold for a flat price. The somewhat complicated sales method is explained below.
Q. How Does This Show Compare to Other SF Convention Art Shows?
A. The major difference is that we're charging for space in the Print Shop (rather than by copy or image). We are using Quick Sale. We're not doing After Auction sales because we have to be out of the exhibit hall by Sunday evening.
Q. How Do Sales in the Art Show Work?
A. Pieces in the Art Show have bidsheets, on which people can make written bids. Pieces can be NFS (Not For Sale) or can be for sale. If they're for sale, they have a minimum bid. This is the least for which you will sell the piece. Any number of people can bid, as long as they bid more than the previous bidder. If a piece gets bids, but fewer than five (that number is tentative), it's sold to the high written bidder. If it has five or more it goes to the voice auction. Bidding at the voice auction starts from the highest written bid, and again the piece is sold to the highest bidder (which can be the last written bid if nobody bids at the voice auction, though this is unusual).
There's another price - the Quick Sale price. This enables a buyer to avoid the risk of auction by immediately paying a higher price. Only the first bidder can use this - unlike eBay's BuyItNow price, you can't use it after someone else has bid on the piece (that would make it a price cap). You want to make the Quick Sale price well above minimum bid - around what you'd want to get if the piece went to voice auction.
Quick Sale is optional. If you don't have a Quick Sale price, the piece can only sell via normal written/voice bidding. Why use it? Because few pieces make it to auction. We only have time to auction so many pieces but there's no limit to how many Quick Sales we can handle.
People often view the Quick Sale price as your estimate of a piece's value. This can both encourage people to bid up to that point, and discourage them from bidding higher. So don't make it too low.
Q. I See Pieces with Minimum Bids of $25 and a Quick Sale of $600. What's That About?
A. Quick Sale may be two or three times the minimum bid for inexpensive pieces (e.g., minimum $25, QS $50). As the price rises, the multiple usually declines (e.g., minimum $500, QS $700). But some artists try to force a piece into the voice auction by putting an artificially low minimum bid on a piece. The artist in this example might want a minimum of $250, expect to get $300 if the piece sold to written bids, and hope for $500 at voice auction. The $25 minimum is much too low for the piece; the artist hopes someone bids that, and that five more bids quickly jump the bid by small amounts, forcing the piece to auction. But the piece might actually sell for only $25 - it's a risky strategy and not one to use unless you're sure of your market. Another problem is that a savvy first bidder may make the same estimate of what the piece would go for, and put an initial bid of $200 on it. If nobody overbids (people are less likely to overbid at $200 than at $30), they get a bargain. Even if someone does overbid, the first bidder can afford a couple $50 jumps and still get it for less than if it went to voice auction.
Q. You Mention Bidsheets and Print Shop Labels, But I Don't See Any.
A. We'll send those out in May. If you need them earlier, let us know.
Q. How Do I Hang or Display My Pieces?
A. In the Art Show, we have pegboard hooks. Pieces with hangers can hang directly from them. Matted pieces without hangers can hang from them using bulldog clips, which we will also provide (along with little pieces of cardboard to avoid putting dents in the mat). For the Print Shop, we also have longer pegboard hooks in a variety of sizes, on which you can hang multiple copies of a print, much like merchandise in a store. 3D pieces usually don't need to be attached to tables (we predict no gravity outages). Let us know if you have any special needs.
Q. How Do I Display Jewelry?
A. Any tiny artwork has problems, and most of it is jewelry. It's often much smaller than the bidsheet, so your display shows mostly bidsheets. This isn't pretty. It's also small enough to be stolen easily. Display cases are safe, but then you have to separate the pieces from their bidsheets, which also hurts sales (you can put little number tags on the jewelry that references the numbers on the bidsheets, but many people won't bother to look up the information). Jewelry and bidsheets just don't play well together. We're open to suggestions.
Q. Can I Put the Same Piece in Both the Art Show and Print Shop?
A. No. Similar is allowed, but not identical. You can put an original in the Art Show and prints in the Print Shop, or a framed print in the Art Show and unframed in the Print Shop, matted and mounted, remarqued and plain, etc. You can also put a sign on your panel saying "Prints available in the Print Shop."
Q. If Panels in the Print Shop Cost as Much as Panels in the Art Show, Why not Just Put Pieces in the Art Show Where They Have a Chance to Collect Bids and Sell for More?
A. You can only sell one copy of a piece in the Art Show. If you have a popular print, you're better off selling 10 copies of it from the Print Shop than getting 20% more for one copy in the Art Show.
Q. Can I Put Signs, Biographies, or Statements About the Art on My Panels or Tables? Can I Use a Backdrop or Build up a Structure to Hold 3D Art?
A. Sure. They're yours to fill as you wish (within reason).
Q. Why Do Panels Cost Less Than Tables?
A. At the Worldcon in 2006 (LACon IV), both panels and tables were $45. Our panels cost less because they're smaller - theirs were 6' wide and ours are only 4' wide. Our panels are 2/3 the size; our price is 2/3 as much. Tables also cost us more than panels. They take about twice the floor space of panels (we pay the convention center by the square foot used) and have to be rented from the decorator.
Q. You Mention Lighting for Panels. What About Lighting for Tables?
A. We don't know yet. The room's overhead lighting does work better for tables than panels. Lighting for panels is built into the panel design; that's not true of tables. We don't have a decorator yet, so we can't yet negotiate table lighting with them.
Q. You Mention a Bay Size of Four Panels for the Art Show and Two for the Print Shop. Why Does This Matter?
A. If you buy five panels it will fill an entire bay, plus one more panel on the back of one bay wall. People will find it easy to overlook that one extra panel. You'd be better off with four or six panels, rather than five. It doesn't matter as much in the Print Shop; in a zig-zag people are less likely to overlook parts of your display.
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Contact us at or Denvention 3 , PO Box 1349, Denver, CO 80201.