Art Show Reservations

Arisia 2017 accepted space applications on a lottery basis rather than first come, first served.

Art Show panels being set up, showing structure and pegboard Art Show light fixtures being set up Art being hung during artist checkin hours

Art Show Lottery FAQ

We had substantially more demand for Art Show space at Arisia 2017 than we could meet. After considering many options for how to allocate space, we decided to replace our previous first-come-first-served reservation system with a weighted lottery.
Why would you do this?
We didn't think first-come first-served was the fairest way to allocate space, nor would it result in the diverse show that our attendees have come to expect.
How did this affect artists who rolled over space from Arisia 2016?
They bypassed the lottery, with whatever space they rolled over.
How did this affect free space for high school students and college art majors?
We had one of each, who also bypassed the lottery.
Did you check that art was speculative / genre in nature?
We're pretty flexible about speculative content, and only rejected one applicant for the lack of it. This was an artist who had not shown in science fiction art shows before and who we think didn't read our call to entries all the way through.
Weren't you worried that this would make the show boring?
A lottery is not a jury. In fact it's a chance to make the show less homogenous, by allocating lottery space to artists in different media, ensuring that there is something for everyone.
How did this affect artists' chances of getting in to the show?
By limiting the space allocated to each artist, we were able to accept more artists. There were 95 artists in this year's show. If we had used first-come first-served we would have had only 80.
How come I couldn't get as much space as I want?
Even with first-come-first-served, in 2016 we ran out of places where 2-panel or 4-panel artists could be placed before we ran out of space overall. After closing registration, we took a number of 1-panel and 1-table artists from our waiting list, but were unable to take any 2-panel or 4-panel artists. Giving some artists less space than they requested in 2017 was fairer because it allowed more artists in the show. It also meant we could allocate all of our different size spaces at once instead of running out of some earlier than others.
How did asking for more (or less) space affect artists' chances of getting space?
We selected artists and allocated space to selected artists as separate thresholds, so that this wouldn't matter.
How did lottery point bonuses work?

First, we assigned each artist a random-number 0-99 "dice roll" based on the exact microsecond at which they applied for space (using the lowest order bits of an RFC4122 Universal Unique ID timestamp).

If two artists applied with the same mailing address, we averaged their dice rolls together before applying any bonuses.

To this score, we added the following adjustments:

  • 50 bonus points for winning an award in the previous four years (we would have done five but the records for Arisia 2012 are incomplete)
  • 20 bonus points for providing a website URL
  • 20 bonus points for providing an image of a piece of art
  • 20 bonus points for working in a medium not represented by any other applicant
  • 20 bonus points for being a volunteer on the convention
  • 20 bonus points for being new to the show
  • 10 bonus points for providing a short blurb describing the body of art to be shown
  • 10 bonus points for providing a list of what art would be shown
  • 1 bonus point for each piece sold at whichever of the previous two years gave a higher bonus
Finally, we planned to give a 10 point bonus for having art be mostly for sale but couldn't be sure we were identifying artists with for sale art correctly. Almost all artists would have gotten this bonus had we been able to tell, and it would not have affected acceptances.
How many points did it take to get into the show?
We initially accepted any artist with 86 or more points. Artists with 86 to 99 points got one space. Artists with 100 to 150 points got their requested space up to two spaces. Artists with over 150 points got their requested space up to four spaces.
Did you still have a waiting list?
Yes, we did, and we treated it as an extension of the lottery. As space became available, we were able to lower the acceptance threshold for artists who applied on time from 86 points to 80, and also lowered the four-space threshold to 133 points from 150. We were not able to upgrade any 1-space artists to two spaces for lack of appropriate space to put them in. We also accepted one or two late artists by applying a 30 point late application penalty and giving space to artists who met the thresholds even with the penalty applied.
Some artists are unable to attend Arisia in person. Did asking for mail-in space or sending a representative to hang work hurt their chances of getting space?
We treated mail-in/agented artists and in-person artists equally, except that the very last waitlist spaces became available after it was too late to ship art and we skipped over a mail-in artist or two as a result.
Did artists have to pay in advance?
No, we collected payment once artists were accepted.
When could I sign up?
Space requests opened in late April and closed at midnight on September 30.
When did artists find out if they were accepted?
Artists were notified of their acceptance status on October 5. Waiting list artists were notified on a rolling basis beginning on December 1.
When did artists need to pay, if they were accepted?
Artists accepted through the lottery had until November 15 to pay after acceptance. Artists accepted from the waiting list had progressively less time as the convention approached.
Couldn't you have just raised the prices instead?
We don't think that'd have been very nice to the artists, nor would it have resulted in the show we want to run or that our attendees want to see. Prices remained unchanged from 2016: $28 per 4'x4' panel or $36 per 72"x30" table. Half units were $18 for either panel or table space.
Is there anything else I should know about the Arisia Art Show?
Plenty of other information is available in the Rules and Fees. If you are not familiar with science fiction art shows, there is a useful description on this page. Anne E G Nydam took a nice photo of her art up on our panels. And Kristina Carroll has a blog entry with a nice pic of how prints hang in the show.