The WisCon Art Show focuses on art exploring themes related to WisCon’s principles (SFF, feminism, social justice), work by artists of marginalized genders, and work by Midwestern artists. In past years, the Art Show has included painting, drawing, illustration, photography, comics, printmaking, jewelry and other wearable art, sculpture, and more.
The Art Show operates like a gallery or store. Pieces are for sale at fixed prices (no bidding), and you can also buy fundraising items for the Otherwise Award such as T-shirts. We prefer to keep artists’ displayed work in the show until Sunday evening so everyone can see it, but if you have to leave early you can take your purchased artwork with you when you go.
Art Show Awards
Convention members have the opportunity to vote on awards in categories such as Best in Show, Best Wearable Art, and several others.
Art Show Hours
Friday 11am – 5pm — Artists’ setup
Friday 6pm – 7:30pm — Opening of Art Show: meet the artists and buy!
Saturday 9:30am – 6pm — Art Show open
Saturday 6pm — Close of awards voting
Sunday 9:30 am – 6pm — Art Show open; awards posted
Monday 9:30am – 11am — Art Show open
Monday 11am — Art Show closes, artist checkout and tear-down begins
Show Your Work in the WisCon Art Show!
Art is an important aspect of SFF, and an exciting Art Show is an important part of our convention!
Work in all visual media is accepted. We are especially interested in displaying original pieces, but artists are also welcome to sell reproductions of their 2D work, multiple copies of comics, etc. You set fixed prices for your work (no bidding), and con-goers can purchase it during the Art Show’s open hours. You can also show work that is not for sale, if you wish.
The Art Show has limited space for each artist. If you have a large number of items to sell, please consider the Dealers’ Room as an alternative! We do ask that you not sell in the Art Show and Dealers’ Room simultaneously, as they both require extensive setup and tear-down on the same days.
You can apply using the form at the bottom of this page. If you attend the convention, you will also need to purchase a WisCon membership.
If you are accepted for the show, in mid-March you’ll receive an acceptance email from us with a space assignment! This is a curated show and demand for space may exceed available slots, but most artists who meet the criteria and apply by the deadline are likely to get in. We’ll then follow up with further instructions, including a “control sheet” form to complete by early May with a list of your items and prices.
If you end up on the waitlist, we will also notify you of that in mid-March and contact you if a space opens up later.
While we do not charge for space, you must request the amount of space you want on the application form. Two types of space are available: vertical panels and tables (see photo above).
- Artists may request up to two 4’ x 4’ pegboard panels.
- Table space is available in quarter-table increments, up to a full 1.5’ wide x 6’ long table. The maximum is one full table per artist.
Attending artists set up their own work in their designated spaces on Friday afternoon. The Art Show provides hooks and clips for hanging work on our pegboard panels; framed pieces or canvases can be hung on hooks and unframed flat pieces with clips. Tables and tablecloths are provided by the hotel.
We try to fit in all applicants who qualify, but may have to grant less space than requested. If your work requires special display conditions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or add a note in your application to let us know.
Fees, Sales, and Lost Items
Volunteers at the Art Show sales desk handle sales after the Art Show opens. Artists may go out and enjoy the convention (but please sign up for at least one volunteer shift to help).
WisCon charges a 5% commission on artist sales (10% for mail-in art). This pays for the direct costs of the Art Show, including supplies and credit card transaction fees.
After the con, participating artists receive a check or PayPal payment for their sales, minus the commission. Payments will be sent out by June 10.
Our show is full of amazing, beautiful items, and sales are all processed by volunteers. Due to this, sometimes confusion or the less admirable parts of human nature can lead to lost items. We strive to prevent these losses, but if they do happen, the value of the item will be covered from the WisCon Art Show budget.
We discourage mail-in art because we want you to participate in WisCon, and because we believe that having artists attend the convention increases sales significantly. If you do choose to mail in your art, our volunteers will hang or arrange it for you and then repack the unsold items for return shipping.
Because of the additional work involved in handling mail-in art, we charge a 10% commission for it and limit the number of mail-in artists we can accept. As of 2017, accepted mail-in artists must also pay the return shipping cost for their unsold work.
Volunteering in the Art Show
It takes over 100 at-con volunteer hours to keep the Art Show open and sell the art, so if you have work in the show (or not), please, please volunteer! If you volunteer during the con, you get to see the art, sit in a generally quiet space, and help people buy art. Or, if you’re local or arriving early, we always need more help setting up the room and panels on Thursday afternoon/evening.
If you are interested in volunteering in the Art Show, please email us at email@example.com.
Art Show Programming
We love to see art-related programming items. If you are interested in presenting something, or have a suggestion for an art-related panel, please submit the idea through the regular programming form.