Merit Awards Program for Emerging Artists

Congratulations to the Merit Awards Program Winners!
The Rosen Group is pleased to announce the winners of the Merit Award Program:
MIXED MEDIA: Pamella O’Connor, Hanji Home, Asheville, N.C.
CERAMICS: David Clark and Mary St. John, ModCraft, Beacon, N.Y.
JEWELRY: Catherine Grisez, Catherine Grisez, Seattle, Wash.

The Merit Awards Program for Emerging Artists

An artist’s first wholesale show presents a challenge at every turn: Product lines must be refined. An eye-catching booth must be designed. Promotions must be launched. Travel, shipping – the list goes on. Many artists need help with these start-up investments. That’s when the Merit Awards Program can make a difference for the artist – and help the Buyers Market present fresh talent to retailers.

The Merit Awards provide resources for first-time exhibitors who make original and marketable products. Award winners receive reduced-cost booth space. They can be assigned a mentor to guide them as they enter the wholesale craft community. Also, they can consult with the trade show’s public relations staff to develop promotional materials.

The Buyers Market has granted 113 Merit Awards since launching the program in 1998. Here’s what past winners have to say about the awards:

Liz Kinder, 2002 winner, Ceramics
“It enabled me to do the show! I might not have gone for it without the help of the Merit Award. Wholesaling has made pottery a sustainable, profitable, full-time business for me. The accounts I’ve had through the Buyers Market have sustained me through thick and thin.”


Melanie Walter, Pine Garden Baskets, winner, Mixed Media
“Receiving this award helped me to have confidence in my work, and know that I might possibly be able to make my wholesale business a success.”


Cathy Broski, 2008 winner, Ceramics
“Since my first Buyers Market, my business has gone from 90 percent retail to approximately 75 percent wholesale. Winning brought me to the attention of more buyers. Several buyers commented that they like to check out what the next up-and-coming artists are up to. This prompted many to write an order.”


Julia Jerman-Melka, Flying Anvil Designs, 2006 winner, Jewelry
“The Merit award had a huge effect on my business. Before the award, my experience of exhibiting at the Buyers Market was done by sharing booth
space with others as part of the Colorado Metalsmithing Association. I reached a point where it was time to be on my own and that is when I received the Merit Award. I had also just finished my MFA, and had absolutely no money, so the Merit Award could not have come at a better time and is largely responsible for launching my wholesale business.”

Application process

The Merit Awards Program gives emerging artists the opportunity to get their careers off the ground and enter the wholesale marketplace more quickly. Merit Award winners are responsible for the booth deposit only — the remainder of the 10×10 booth fee is free! A limited number of Merit Awards are available. Acceptance into the show does not constitute receiving a Merit Award. For the February show, winners have already been selected. Applications will be considered next fall for the February show.

Criteria for Selection

1. Innovative design ideas
2. Creativity of work
3. Market viability of work
4. Artist must be new to the wholesale marketplace

How to Apply

Enclose a statement of 100 words or less explaining why you should be considered for a Merit Award. You may include a letter of recommendation from another artist, exhibitor, instructor or store owner. High-quality, print-ready images for Merit Awards consideration. Deadline for submission is October 7.

Apply online at www.zapplication.org or request an application and prospectus.