Artist Don Kelley – Why Did I Listen to Those Voices in My Head?

Insurance for Artists at Art Fairs

Artist to Artist
Words of wisdom and experience from artists to help others with their art businesses.

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Lights – check, tent – check, weights – check etc., etc.  879 things needed for a three week trip out west doing art fairs. In my excitement over our upcoming westward adventure and pulling all these things together I almost forgot what turned out to be the most important item. The voice in my head began as a polite whisper but escalated to an insistent yelling. This voice was telling me to do something Gail and I had discussed many times over the years but never resulted in action. Yes insurance. Insurance for our art and oh yeah liability.

So, this past summer just days before we hit the great open road Gail and I made THE call. Within two days with all questions answered we were emailed the insurance info and a policy! I was so excited. Not so much by the cost of said policy, which by the way was not that much, but rather we had protection! Plus it was another check mark off that never ending To Do list. The next day on while cruising on I-70 with the morning sun at our backs and Columbia, Missouri disappearing in our rear view mirror we phoned our “new” insurance agent. After a few questions and sharing our credit card and other pertinent information it was done. We already had the emailed printed policy in hand but now with payment it was official. We’re covered!

Artist Don Kelley Exhibits His Work Across the USThree days and a thousand miles later it happened. With the ink barely dry on our brand new insurance policy for product loss AND liability in hand, what began as a beautiful clear crisp day and with great expectations ended when a shopper entered our booth, inspected my awesome jewelry and exited with a claim of injury.

Fast forwarding to September with thoughts and great memories of our summer art fair trip in our rear view mirror, we get an email from an attorney. Yes, we were requested to provide our insurance contact information and were informed that their client has had doctor’s visits as well as foot surgery.

I’ve learned in life timing is everything. We’ve all hear that. Well, for over thirty years of doing shows without insurance of any kind outside of house, auto, health and life etc. we’ve never had an incident. And within three days of purchasing such insurance …

That voice would not let me forget what would turn out to be the most important thing to pack for this trip. The voice which began as a whisper and turned into a loud “I won’t be ignored” yelling still reverberates in my mind to this day, many months later. And I think, duh if I drive a car, I get car insurance. If I live, I get health insurance. And if I do art fairs, I get a HOME BUSINESS INSURANCE POLICY with a Certificate of Liability Insurance to include coverage of my art work.

I think I’ll listen to those voices in my head more often.

PS The trip was awesome and I’d do it all over again. Next trip/show you know what’s at the top of my check list.


Artist Don KelleyDon’s Jewelry is an expression of simplicity in motion. His work has been described as reminiscent of early 20th century contemporary in the Bauhaus tradition.

His work begins with ordinary vintage silver forks. Without the use of heat, he “cold forms” this material into clean bold lines around natural stones. Precious, semi-precious and natural stones add accent and balance.

Don describes himself as an intuitive artist. His hands are guided and inspired by nature’s beauty sometimes organically and sometimes contemporary. Over time he has learned to trust his intuition, as his hands expose designs that he believes were already there and ready to be discovered. Typically no design or preconception is used as he lets each piece reveal itself.

Visit the Kelarts website and follow on Facebook.