I've entered a good many shows over the years, and though I haven't noticed an increase in the venues that do not have insurance, there certainly are quite a few that require exhibiting at your own risk. In my experience these tend to be (though are not all) less prestigious galleries and nonprofits. In many cases I refuse to exhibit there; other times I grit my teeth and hope for the best.
Venues connected with the federal government may not provide insurance, either. I learned that when exhibiting at the Visitor Center at the NASA Ames Research Center.
Right: usually one's homeowner's insurance does not cover all one's artwork - especially when it is off the premises. I once looked into art insurance via other sources and found it prohibitively expensive. Some art organizations, with membership, at least used to offer a discount on standalone art insurance. I recall an art group based in New York that did so, but it's been too many years and I can't remember the name of it.
Most of the time I've never had any problem to speak of in terms of damage. The work I framed and exhibited in the science illustration category were all presented with metal frames and an acrylic glazing. Fairly durable. Over time, however, as they were shipped here and there and went up and down assorted walls they did get dinged up: scratches on the plex, drill holes and touch-up paint on the frames, etc. Usually not so bad that they couldn't be put into another show, but scruffed up enough that a buyer wouldn't be super happy to purchase without some "refreshing." More recently I've gone to wood frames and find myself even more reluctant to have multiple unknown hands moving the pieces around as they are more fragile. As examples, I have some floaters that get chipped, requiring periodic paint touchup, and a couple other moldings with "depressions" on the edges where they got hit. The latter aren't easy to fix or hide.
Twice - in two separate solo exhibits - there were serious fires in the buildings. Both seemed to be from electrical shorts. Neither time was the art itself destroyed (maybe too bad. . . think of the insurance payoff?). However, some mats were ruined from water damage when the sprinklers turned on, and there was some smoke that got inside some of the pieces, even with those tight metal clips securing the backing board. Both venues had insurance and that insurance replaced the mats; thankfully I could haul the work to a framer and have him do it. So I didn't have to volunteer my time/labor. The smoke was removed by special "eraser" pads provided by the disaster company that was called in to help salvage what was left.
Given the fire experiences, I think it comes down to how much risk you're ready to take on. In a group show you'll have probably one or maybe two or three (at most) works in the exhibit. Not a terrible amount of risk. If it's a solo show and you have 12-20 pieces of art, I vote for selecting a venue that has insurance coverage. Note that insurance takes effect only when the work is on THEIR premises, not when it is in transit.
Ms. Lynette R. Cook, Artist/Illustrator
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Main Web Site: http://www.lynettecook.com
On Oct 18, 2016, at 9:39 PM, Karen Ackoff wrote:
> Iíve been entering a few exhibitions lately, and itís troubling to find that more and more galleries do not insure the work while it is in their possession. They want the right to use your images in their publicity materials, some require the work be for sale and of course they get a percentage of the sale price, and there is an entry fee. All of that is fineÖ and I am used to paying shipping/insurance there and back. But they donít insure it while it is in their possession.
> My choice would be to get private insurance or not to submit. I did look into private insurance, but my homeownerís will only insure artwork up to $1000, and my work is priced higher than that. Iím sure I could pursue other insurance companies, and Iím sure it wouldnít be cheap. If I can submit a print, then insurance is less of an issue, but there is still the cost of the frame and museum/plexi (no glass as the work is shipped).
> The galleries profit from the exhibition and take no responsibility other than ďreasonable careĒ (which is conveniently vague).
> Iím surprised that this seems to be more and more common. Wondering what you have experienced, and what you think about this.
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