This is usually my resources post day, but there was a much more important thing to address; Aki-con’s artist alley.
First off, I haven’t attended Aki-con at any point. This was brought to my attention by several con-goers by links to the threads on the Aki-con forums to 2012 Feedback and the Artist Alley Suggestion Box. I’ve been made aware of a third forum thread, but never got to see it. The reason why? The forum threads each got locked down and then the forums went down for maintenance early in the afternoon of October 30th. Bit of a coincidence, so I’ll have to keep an eye on when those reappear in hopes to link them. I have worked artist alley at other conventions, and this is something that has to be addressed.
The threads basically were filled with valid complaints about the Artist Alley this year. It was located in the parking garage of the hotel, with water buckets placed everywhere on the floor and ceiling to collect leaking liquids, with were quite brown and disgusting in color. There was this brown water falling on merchandise, which ended up damaging many goods, and the temperature was chilling to the bone. On top of that, power cords were all over the place, exposed to dripping water and causing tripping hazards throughout the “alley”. Many artists didn’t even break even on their tables ($75 a pop), because of poor placement all-around.
I never saw responses to these complaints on the forums, but have been led to believe that the issues were never addressed, but basically ignored in their answers. People asked for answers, refunds, even simple apologies for the whole debacle, but I saw nothing in my reading through the posts to respond to them.
First and foremost, this is unacceptable. If the convention had issues with their venue, they should have changed venues or juggled out a panel or video room and make it the artist alley. Yes, there would have been a small place for this, but at least it wouldn’t have been a flippin’ parking garage. They should have made the artists knowledgable about where they were going to be, apologized, and offered refunds if it wasn’t acceptable to them. As is, refunds should be issued, especially to those whose merchandise was damaged over the weekend. There should be apologies to everyone that was in artist alley this year, as this was bad judgment to place anyone in there.
Secondly, to the artists, if they do not offer anything to make up for this mess, boycott the heck out of this convention. This is not your fault and is ridiculous that you were placed here and have been ignored. Stand up for yourselves, spread the word, and try to not let this happen again by making everyone aware.
After everything is said and done, there is only one thing to say at this point.
Your move, Aki-con. Your move.