It was only yesterday that we wrote, “the curated show is here to stay,” and sure enough, word has come that the Stumptown Comics Fest is also going curated. . Show director Indigo Kelleigh writes that due to the demand for tables, they already have a waiting list 100 exhibitors long, despite moving to a larger venue.

To be held April 16-17th in Portland, OR, Stumptown shows that the demands of a comic-friendly town can outstrip the size of a venue. Last year’s show was held at the Lloyd Center Doubletree Hotel. This year. it’s moved to the Portland Convention Center — but that’s still not enough room. Portland is a very very indie friendly, DIY town, where every other person is a cartoonist, it seems. and it will be very interesting to see if this move nets the kind of controversy that the recent curated BCGF show got.

Text of Kelleigh’s message below:

Organizers of the 2011 Stumptown Comics Fest will soon begin confirming exhibitor applications for the April 2011 Fest, and we’re taking a significantly different approach to how we’re handling the ever-growing amount of applications. For the first time in our history we are taking a more curated approach to confirming our exhibitor space, in an effort to provide the best possible experience to our attendees and, in turn, our exhibitors.

As the Stumptown Comics Fest has grown over the past seven years, demand for space on our exhibitor floor has skyrocketed well beyond our capacity. For the 2010 Fest we managed to fill our 130 exhibitor tables in a three week period, and were left with a sizable waiting list. Moving to a larger venue for 2011 was intended to alleviate some of that problem, but the community’s demand to be a part of the Fest exceeded our expectations, and we are again looking at having a waiting list of over 100 applicants. There is simply no fair way to decide who will get space and who won’t, and so in an effort to maintain the high caliber of exhibitors that people have come to expect from Stumptown, I have decided to curate the exhibition space.

The tremendous response has reinforced my belief that the Comics Fest has huge potential to grow beyond the capacity of our previous location, and I’m already committing to doubling the exhibitor space again in 2012, to 60,000 square feet. This should hopefully provide ample room for comic artists and cartoonists at all levels of experience, and allow for a more inclusive confirmation process. Either way, I hope that all of the folks who applied for space will still join us at the 2011 Stumptown Comics Fest and enjoy the experience from whichever side of the table they happen to be on!

[Spotted via Fleen]


  1. What does this mean? ‘Curating’ space? O.o

    And good to hear, I like news of the indie shows expanding due to interest and involvement and all. Indie comics are some of the most interesting and if I were on the West coast, I would like to attend.

    Also, it’s interesting to hear that with all these expanding comic conventions, that San Diego is still the only one that is nfp. Interesting.

    I’ve been hearing a lot of bitching about SDCC, but no one seems to remember that it’s Not-for-profit. Basically, a lot of the money is used to pay for what is shown, it’s not like they are hoarding mass amounts of money and all.

  2. At first I was a little uncomfortable with the idea of curated shows, but then I thought of all these really great small shows that seem to be popping up throughout the country, these shows can be where young artist build up their chops and shows like Stumptown and BCGF and TCAF can be shows for the experienced and serious cartoonists. It makes sense, if you’re going to drop 300 dollars or more on a table you should be surrounded by likewise cartoonists. This could also help the problem that MOCCA and SPX have. These shows are cluttered with exhibitors but they seem to have a serious problem with attendee numbers. The ratio of exhibitors to attendees is probably 3-5 at spx, or at least that’s how it feels whenever I have exhibited in the past.
    It would also be comforting to know that you don’t necessarily need to buy a table the first week they are available to avoid being put on some sort of waiting list.
    As far as cartoonist who are just starting off, it’s probably not the best idea to dump a ton of money on a table and not the table cost back, they might as well go to a free, local show and have the possibility making enough money to pay their print costs

  3. Sean, what do you think about long time indie show exhibitors who suddenly find themselves “curated out” of shows that they have already exhibited at and “proved” themselves at?