I don't show my work much, but am getting ready for a little exhibit right now.

I use American Frame Company
Rely on American Frame for custom picture frames in wood or metal, art frames, gallery frames, supplies and fine art digital printing at wholesale prices.

Their website is awful to order from (for me, anyway), but if you have all of your dimensions, you can get reasonably-priced frames, mats, backing board, plexi, etc. that you assemble yourself. For my little block prints (frames are about 7x8", the cost of all of the supplies is under 20 dollars for a black metal frame, normal plexi and regular mat and backing board (not archival). Of course, they have UV plexi and archival boards, but it's too expensive for me for a show like this. The shipping is a little pricey unless you're ordering a bunch at a time- not economical for just a couple of frames.

They are very nice on the phone, have never made a mistake on all of the custom mats, and are pretty quick- I think this last order of 7 frames got to me in less than a week from when I made the phone call.

Definitely not for everyone, but if it could work for you, it's something to consider.
Good luck!

From: SciArt-L Discussion List-for Natural Science Illustration- <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Karen Ackoff <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, October 19, 2016 7:45 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [SCIART] exhibiting art work
Gretchen, thank you for the kind words. I agree it is best not to exhibit without insurance, unless I can send a print. Still, the time/effort of making a good print, framing it and shipping itÖ requires an investment of time/effort/dollars. As you say, sobering. I try to exhibit once or twice a year to keep my work out there and to stay active in the art community.

Iím disappointed to learn that the frame-it-yourself shops are few and far between, at least around here. I assume for insurance reasons. I know most places use computerized mat cutting these days. I cut mine by hand using an inexpensive Logan cutter (though I lust for a fancier model). I have grown somewhat dissatisfied with my frame shop of some 15 yearsÖ they have raised their prices hugely. A large sheet of 8-ply archival mat board costs $120; I can get the exact same thing for less than half elsewhere. Thatís just being greedy. I havenít tried them yet, but Iíve scoped out another small frame shop whose owner has agreed to make the (wood) frames and cut the glassÖ and I can do the rest (to keep the cost down). 

Life isnít dull!


On Oct 19, 2016, at 3:11 PM, gretchen halpert <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

I exhibit several pieces 3-4 times a year, and have an occasional solo show. I decided a couple years ago that the show really has to be significant for me to invest in entry fees, framing, packaging and shipping fees (and time. Somehow it takes as much time to frame, package and ship as to do the artwork....or feels that way). I do not exhibit original artwork at any venue that does not hold insurance. For local venues the investment is much less, and I am more apt to exhibit just to share what I do.

I am also reluctant to pay entry fees that seem to be primarily a money maker for the gallery. Really, why do we pay to have our work accepted or rejected on top of the 30%-50% commission, and cost of framing, shipping, etc.? I support the galleries by purchasing other artists' work through them.

Sometimes the entry fees are used for awards, sometimes to pay jurors, and/or for publicity. Non-profits tend to not charge a submission fee and have lower, if any, commission fees. 

I keep track of all exhibiting expenses, especially entry fees, which offer no return unless you are successful selling the work. It's sobering. 

Karen, your work is too precious to risk lack of insurance. 


Gretchen Halpert
Scientific Illustration Distance Program

On Wed, Oct 19, 2016 at 12:39 AM, Karen Ackoff <[log in to unmask]> 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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