Letter To The Editor,
I guess it is just another sign of the times. This year, for the first time, those in charge of the Utica Square "Art In The Square" show have decided to charge the artists, craftsmen and artisans a non-refundable entry fee for displaying and selling their art work. Charging an application or entry fee is not unheard of. This year the Jenks Art Walk has decided to charge a $25 fee for artists who will exhibit their work. What is surprising, however, is the amount of the Utica Square application fee: One hundred dollars. Whoops! Is that correct? From no charge to $100 all in one fell swoop.
One hundred dollars for an art show that lasts only seven hours! Even the Blue Dome Arts Festival decided this year to charge a fee but their fee was $80 and it was for 3 long days during Mayfest. That is, at least, very reasonable.
Perhaps, the Utica Square Merchants Association does not realize that many, probably most, of the artists who participate do not make their living selling their art but try to supplement their income during these difficult economic times. It is sad enough that art must take a back seat to other more pressing purchases these days, like gasoline and food, housing and clothing, etc.
I personally find in unconscionable in these troubling times that artists must pay to show their art outside at Utica Square when, for that day surely, it is the artists who bring so many customers to the Square. When artists cause hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people to visit Utica Square that day it benefits all of the businesses located there. Why should the artists be singled out to foot the bill for this one day art show? I can not speak for any of the other artists who have done the show in the past but I will not be participating in the Utica Square show this year because of the ridiculous fee they hope to charge us artists when it is the artists who make the show what it has been in the past....one of the best outside art venues in the state. I do believe that such a reputation has been placed in jeopardy.
If there are other artists who feel as I do that we are not only being taken advantage of but that we are being asked to foot the bill for this show in the toughest of times, then I hope that others will join me in expressing their distaste for this change by Utica Square. Perhaps, if enough artists decide that the show is not worth $100 (non-refundable even if it is rained out), then maybe those in charge will lower their fee or lose many more artists than just myself. As I mentioned before, I can only speak for myself but I find it disgusting, disappointing and a damn shame that such a wonderful event has been hijacked and a ransom fee of $100 is being charged to all artists who wish to participate.
I leave it to other artists to make their own decisions about this situation but I will not be among however many (or few) artists decide that it is okay to put the cost of this show on the backs of already burdened artists. I would like to know what other artists feel about this situation and the citizens of Tulsa as well.
Dennis R. Scott
Tulsa, OK 74104