Thefts Are an Ever-Present Problem at Arts and Crafts Fairs | Daniel Grant

February 12, 2015 11:41 AM

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Opening her booth the second morning of an art fair, mixed-media artist Patricia Hecker of Bloomington, Ind., knew someone had been there the night before. Her artwork was OK, but the would-be thief had broken into a locked storage cabinet. "I'm sure [he or she] was looking for money," she believes. Fortunately, she had been careful to take all cash and receipts back to the motel the evening before, so there wasn't a loss on that end--just a damaged cabinet. Hecker mentioned the break-in to the fair sponsors, who had hired security guards and required each participating artist to sign a contract acknowledging that all property left on-site would be at the vendor's own risk and not that of the show's insurance company. Who would bother to file a claim anyways? The $1,000 deductible on Hecker's policy far exceeded the value of the cabinet, "and if you report a claim they'll just raise your rates," she adds.

Thefts are an occasional, sometimes regular, nuisance for artists and craftspeople who sell their work at fairs and festivals, despite the sincere efforts of the event sponsors and the artists themselves to stop them. They take place at night, when the artists aren't around, and during the day, when...

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