FAQ for Artists
1 Who can sell their work at ShopColumbia?
1.1 Who can sell their work at ShopColumbia?

Any Columbia student, graduated alumni, and current staff and faculty member can submit their work to sell at ShopColumbia.


1.2 Is selling your work mandatory?

No, selling your work is optional. ShopColumbia was developed as an extra service provided to students to earn income, test pricing strategies, develop their personal brand, learn the fundamentals for business contracts and gain exposure for their creativity. 

1.3 Why does ShopColumbia charge a consignment fee?

Most commercial galleries charge 40-65% commission on artist sales. ShopColumbia charges a non-profit consignment rate that pays for marketing, staffing, and operational costs.

1.4 Why are alumni, faculty and staff charged a higher consignment fee?

The consignment rate for students is discounted significantly less than what most commercial galleries and boutiques charge. The rate is discounted for students since ShopColumbia’s mission is to showcase student work and to serve as a learning laboratory for students.

Also, ShopColumbia is housed within Student Affairs and is funded partially through Student Activity Fees. Since alumni, staff and faculty do not pay the Student Activity Fee, they are charged a higher consignment rate. 

1.5 Why should student artists participate?

Learning to sell and market your work is one of the skills that all artists must learn. Learning how to price your work, package it and promote it is vital for the success of every artist. It is beneficial to learn the process while still in college as ShopColumbia is a learning laboratory that affords flexibility and allows for trial and error.

By selling at ShopColumbia, you can start marketing not only your work, but also yourself as an artist. ShopColumbia attracts an audience comprised of Columbia faculty, staff, and students as well as the greater Chicago community and tourists. The staff at ShopColumbia actively markets and promotes our artists to help launch their professional careers. 

And finally, money. College is expensive and ShopColumbia wants to provide a creative venue for students to earn extra income.   

1.6 What is the Review Board looking for?

The curatorial board is looking for a diverse collective of Columbia talent. They are looking for: creativity, uniqueness, clean presentation, quality construction, and salability.

1.7 Why wasn’t my work selected?

Most times when work isn’t selected, the board has suggestions for the artist. Often a work is not fulfilling one or two submission criteria.  A work might not be packaged to protect the print.  The work might be priced too high or too low. The board might recommend that a loose print be matted or framed to better appeal to customers. The board might have reservations about the construction of the item—is it safely constructed and is it durable? The size of the work might determine if the store has the space to present the work. If the work is seasonal, the board might suggest bringing the work in at a later date. Or there might be similar work already in the store and the board is seeking greater variety.   

1.8 My work was selected, now what?

If your work was approved by the board, you will need to come into the store and complete the consignment paperwork.  Paperwork includes: a current consignment agreement, an Illinois W9 tax form, and an artist information form. When you come in to sign the paperwork, you will also bring additional inventory as directed by the ShopColumbia Student Content Manager.  Consignment agreements will be renewed on a semester basis.

1.9 How long is the consignment period?

The consignment period is for one semester. The fall consignment period is from September 1 - December 31. The spring consignment period is from January 1st - August 31st. At the end of the semester ShopColumbia and the artist can reevaluate the consignment agreement. If work has not sold during the last period, ShopColumbia might suggest adjusting the pricing or the packaging or might suggest that the artist submit new work to the store. If a work hasn't sold or is not reconsigned, ShopColumbia might be the wrong market for the work.

1.10 I sold work at the store, when will I get paid?

ShopColumbia processes payment at the end of each month. After the paperwork is completed within ShopColumbia, it is then forwarded to the college’s accounting department. Because of the large quantity of artists being paid each month, artists can expect to be paid within 90 days after the sale. ShopColumbia will notify artists when they have a payment and give the artists the option of picking up their checks at the Shop or mailing the checks to the address on file.

1.11 It’s been 90 days since I sold a work and I haven’t received a check yet. Now what?

If it has been 90 days after your work has sold, please contact ShopColumbia. Either stop into the store or email [email protected].  Rarely, payments do get lost with the United States Postal Service. The store will stop payment and reissue a new payment for you. Also to ensure accurate delivery, please notify ShopColumbia if you move ASAP.  

1.12 Does the college take out taxes from my payment?

No, all artists are responsible for declaring the earnings from the year on their taxes.  ShopColumbia can assist artists by providing a report of sales from the year for artists.

1.13 What is Artist Price and what is Sales Price?

Artist Price is the amount that you, as an artist, wish to receive when your work is sold.

Sales Price is the amount that ShopColumbia will sell the work at in the store, including the additional consignment fee.

1.14 How do I figure the Sales Price and Artist Price?

The equations for students paying a 25% consignment fee is as follows:

If Artist Price is known, multiply the Artist Price by 4 and then divide by 3 to determine the Sales Price.

If Sales Price is known, multiply the Sales Price by 75% (.75) to determine the Artist Price.

The equations for alumni, faculty, and staff paying a 50% consignment fee is as follows:

If Artist Price is known, multiply the Artist Price by 2 to determine Sales Price.

If Sales Price is known, multiply the Sales Price by 50% (.50) to determine the Artist Price.