Artists: Scam Alert!

"The United States of Consumerism" by Amy Guidry; Copyright Amy Guidry 2009

I’m always on the lookout for opportunities to further my art career.  Unfortunately, there are some losers out there who are looking to take advantage of that.  I did a little research online concerning an opportunity I came across that sounded too good to be true.  Apparently that’s because it is. is promoting their Biennial Competition with a $10K first place award- yes, 10,000 dollars.  Aside from the fantastic prize money, I had to wonder about this since I’d never even heard of them before.  I’ve heard of many artist grants organizations, but never this one.  So I kept an eye on their site…  interestingly enough, I discovered that their entry fee kept changing (increasing, of course) over the past couple of months.  And the deadline has been extended three times so far (at least since I’ve discovered this “competition”).  And who the hell are the jurors?   

Well, further investigation has dug up some more interesting tidbits…  According to Art Opportunities Monthly, tried to get their Biennial listed in their classifieds.  Turns out AOM discovered their domain had been registered for a matter of days before they were listing their competition. AOM also states that the address provided to them for the listing “was a private home which had been bought for well over the asking price just a short time ago (arousing a newspaper’s suspicions that a kickback and finagling with mortgage money was involved). And now, the house just appeared on the market as a HUD foreclosure, meaning that the extra money the buyers had borrowed will not be paid back.”

In addition, AOM also asked about their organization, judging, funding, etc. and never received a response.  I found the same to be true for others’ attempts to contact  So, after finding out all of this, I am steering clear of this “opportunity” and passing on this information to everyone in the blogosphere!  Just goes to show that unless you are already familiar with an organization, you should always look into them before entering or sending them money.  Many artist listings sites have a disclaimer that they are not responsible if it turns out a listing is a scam and that they do not do background checks, so to speak.  So be sure to do your homework!

6 thoughts on “Artists: Scam Alert!”

  1. Amy, Thank you for keeping us informed on these type of scams. I’m still relatively new to this and I’m always careful, but you just never know. Good job on sleuthing out these apparent thieves. -Don

  2. Thanks, Don. Another thing that didn’t sit right with me that I forgot to mention- their website design. Aesthetically, it’s nothing to crow about. In addition, it’s not very well organized, there are grammatical errors, their banner ads (!?) cut into the one photo they have (is that supposed to be their space??), and text is not always aligned correctly. Which makes me wonder, if they really have all this money, couldn’t they afford a better website designer?

  3. It’s early September, and these b*stards have extended trhe deadline AGAIN to September 30.

    It’s gotta be a scam.


  4. Hey, thanks for this. It’s already like than a year since I was supposed to receive a measly 200$ out of “potential 7000$ prize”. After I got fed up and emailed them to send it immediately I have heard no response. I told them to take down my picture too. It makes me vomit they’re using my name to back this scam up. People who take advantage of artists are the most disgusting. However they claimed they paid all the other winners, so I’ll have to contact some of them if it’s true when free time opens up.

  5. Hi Jewell, it’s been a year and they haven’t paid you? Even though they are scamming people, they legally should have to pay you. My advice would be to call them, but try to speak to someone in charge. Don’t let them know what you’re calling for until you get to speak to the “director” otherwise they won’t let you through. Be persistent and call on a weekly basis. Get them to state exactly when they will send you a check. Threaten to call the Better Business Bureau and tell them you are filing a claim. (You may not even actually need to do it, just a threat may be enough.) I hope that you didn’t invest too much money and I certainly hope they don’t have your work. I posted some tips awhile back on determining if a competition is legit, so you may find this to be helpful in the future- post title “I Live in London and Would Like to Purchase Your Art”-

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