Would you put your work in a show that has no insurance? Would you try to get your own, or do it as a group? Or send lower-priced work? Or just pass? I'm wondering what to do about an invitational show at a local arts center.
I have frequently been asked this question. For me, whether an exhibition includes insurance or not is always a deciding factor about whether I show my work or not. The exhibition space must have insurance or I will not send my work to a show.
Harriete working on the Pencil Project
Metal Arts Guild display at Maker Faire
There have only been a few minor exceptions to this rule such as when I was at Maker Faire with the local Metal Arts Guild. At Maker Faire, I was standing right next to the display, all the work was in a very heavy locked case, and I showed less important work.
Insurance during shipping is a related matter. You can buy insurance for shipping from the shipping agent. I try to use the U.S.P.S. (United States Postal Service) if possible for shipping my work. At the post office, it is easy to either purchase insurance or send the work registered mail, insured for better handling. Unfortunately, they have size limitations for the boxes they will handle.
Alternatively, the exhibition sponsor might have insurance that will cover the work while in transit. Check with them in advance before shipping your work.
Make sure that arrangements for return shipping are handled in a similar manner. Personally, I do not consider shipping work by UPS acceptable for one-of-a-kind art or craft. Check in advance how the exhibition sponsor plans to return your work.
It is always your responsibility to pack your work carefully and professionally so that it will arrive safely. Shipping companies DO NOT accept responsibility for damaged items - even if it is insured -- if it is not packed properly. Stay tuned, there will be a new Professional Guidelines topic about Packing and Shipping Art and Craft in the coming months. In the meantime, if you ever need it, there is an excellent Professional Guidelines topic titled, "Artist Checklist: Claims for Damaged Work."
This post was updated on December 27, 2021.