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July 26 - July 28, 2019
Walter E. Washington Convention Center
Washington DC, USA
Home  //  Artist Alley  //  The Alley: General Rules
The Alley: General Rules

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Artist Alley Registration

General Rules and Information for Exhibitors in the Alley at Otakon 2017

Thank you for your interest in this year's Artist Alley. It is the participation of individuals such as yourself that helps make Otakon the great show that it is. In order to help maintain the standard of excellence that Otakon holds itself to, please be aware the rules listed under General Rules and At Con Information are applicable to ALL TABLE TYPES. Please be sure that you read these sections before applying.

Artist Information


All artists must show a government-issued, photo ID to exhibit at Artist Alley. If an artist is not able to produce a valid ID at check in, their table(s) will be held until 10:00 AM on Saturday, at which point the table(s) will be considered unclaimed and open for sale on a first-come, first-served basis. Accepted forms of ID include but are not limited to:
  • A state driver's license
  • State-issued identification card
  • A passport
  • Military ID. Other forms of Photo ID may be accepted at the discretion of the Department Head of Artist Alley. The name on the ID must match the name given during table registration.


To exhibit in the Artist Alley at Otakon 2017 you must agree to the rules and terms in writing. Printed copies of these rules will be available for all artists to sign at check-in.

In Washington DC, a person must be at least 18 years old in order to sign a contract. Therefore, any person who is not 18 must have an adult sign the contract on their behalf. The adult who co-signed the contract must be present to check-in for a table, must remain present at the table at all times, and must accept responsibility for any failure of the under-aged artist to comply with all convention policies as well as applicable laws.

Artist Alley Flags:

  • Each Artist Alley table or booth comes with up to 3 Artist Alley flags.
  • Each person behind a table must have a membership badge with an Artist Alley flag attached; you are responsible for making sure that you have an Artist Alley flag.
  • Selling behind an Artist Alley table without a flag is grounds for removal from the Artist Alley without a refund.
  • The only exception to this is that child badges may be behind the table without an Artist Alley flag as long as they are accompanied by a flag holder. Children may not be left behind the table unsupervised and may not sell at your table.

Number of People Behind Each Table:

Each table and booth may only have 2 people behind the table (including the common space behind the tables as well) at any one time. Please take breaks for food and water!

Sharing Space:

Artists may share space with another artist under the following conditions.

  1. The total number of people for a table does not exceed 3 people.
  2. The overall table must conform to the 50% original artwork display rules.
  3. Artist Alley staff must be notified of any artist taking in personal sales at check in or at the Artist Alley Operations Table. Those additional artists will be required to fill out paperwork for Sales Tax purposes.

Subletting Space:

At no time may an artist sell or rent their space to another artist or vendor within the Artist Alley or Dealers Room. If an artist or vendor is found subletting, both the artist who registered the space and the person occupying the space will be evicted from the space immediately with no refund.

Transfer of Tables:

Each table is registered to an artist at purchase. No purchased table may be moved to the ownership of another artist. If you need to opt out of your table, please notify the Artist Alley staff to make the table available to the wait-list. Also, please note that table costs are nonrefundable.
  1. If you are a registered corporation at the time of your application to the Artist Alley you may transfer your table to another employee of your corporation. This person must not have been accepted for a table in the Artist Alley. Additionally you must also provide the following information:
    • The State in which you have incorporated
    • Your incorporation ID (This is not your Federal Tax ID)
    • Your Federal Tax ID
    • Date of incorporation (Your date of incorporation must be prior to submitting an application to the Artist Alley)

Unsold Tables:

Unsold tables will be offered for sale one (1) hour after Artist Alley opens on Friday at the Artist Alley Operations Table. Unsold tables are tables which have been made available before convention and should not be confused with abandoned tables.
  1. You may not line up prior to this time.
  2. All tables are sold on a first-come, first-served basis.
  3. Unsold tables will only be sold as a standard tables. Unlimited booths are only available through pre-sales.
  4. Unsold tables will only be sold at the full rate.

Abandoned Tables:

If an artist fails to check in for their table by 11:00 PM Friday and does not contact the Artist Alley Department Head in advance, their table will be considered abandoned. At that point, their table will be offered for sale at the at-con rate on a first-come, first-served basis.
  1. Lost tables cannot be reclaimed, and neither credit nor refund will be given for no show tables.
  2. The lineup location will be announced at 12:00 PM Friday at the Artist Alley Operations Table.
  3. You may not line up prior to this announcement.
  4. No show tables will only be sold as standard tables. Unlimited booths are only available through pre-sales.
  5. No show tables will only be sold at the full rate of $250.


Tables are not refundable.

Tables, Booths, and Displays

Number of Tables:

All space types come with ONE TABLE, of dimensions 6 feet long by 2 feet wide and 2 feet 5 inches tall. These dimensions are subject to change depending on what is supplied by the decorator.

Unlimited and Pro Row may supplement their space with ONE ADDITIONAL TABLE so long as it does not obstruct another artist's space and your setup allows for a proper opening to enter and exit in case of emergency.


2 chairs are provided with each table. You may not supplement this amount with your own chairs.

Table Signage:

All table signage should match the information that you registered with. Ex: If you put down on your application that you are "Studio A" but all your signs say that you are "Studio B" this will be seen as a table transfer. Signage that does not match your registration must be removed.

You may change the Studio Name we have on file ONCE. To do so you must contact us at least 30 days before the Thursday of the convention. A change is only allowed for Studio Name, no other information on the application may be changed at any time. Any attempts to exploit this as a table transfer will result in a non-refundable eviction from the Artist Alley.

The ONLY EXCEPTION to this rule is a LEGAL NAME CHANGE, for example if you are recently married. Please provide any relevant paperwork showing both the original registered name and the new legal name. Due to the sensitive circumstances leading to some name changes, any request for name adjustments will be kept confidentially within the exhibitions Department.

Display Space:

  1. Those with Unlimited Booths and Pro Row Booths are allowed to use any of their 10 foot by 10 foot space for display.
  2. Those with Standard Tables must keep their display to the boundaries of their table. If your display must sit on the floor, such as a photo or backdrop stand, the base's legs may not be more than 3 feet from the back of your table and must not disrupt the common walking space behind or to the sides of your space.

Table Size:

  1. All space types come with ONE TABLE, of dimensions 6 feet long by 2 feet wide and 2 feet 5 inches tall. These dimensions are subject to change depending on what is supplied by the decorator.
  2. Due to layout restrictions, if another size table must be used it will first be offered to Unlimited and Pro Row spaces. They are at no time available for request, and will be offered at random if available.


  1. Any structure brought to display artwork must be of sound construction and may not extend more than 5 feet above the table or a total of 8 feet from the floor, whichever is less.
  2. If any structure falls down, appears unstable, or extends above the height limit, the artist to whom it belongs will be asked to remove it by the Artist Alley staff.
  3. In addition, all displays must reside within the confines of your area.
    • Unlimited booths are restricted to the boundaries of your booth space and will be marked for your convenience.
    • Standard tables are restricted to the boundaries of your table top and up to 3 feet behind your table.
    • Displays behind your table may not impede upon other artists' areas nor disrupt traffic flow in case of emergency.
    • The corners of each island of tables are considered to be an emergency egress for artists; as such you may not use the corners for your display.

Recording Devices:

Permission to video record your space, whether for personal or security usage will be given on a case by case basis. If you are interested in recording your space you must do the following:
  1. Send a formal request to Artist Alley through our contact form explaining your intention for the footage you plan to take.
  2. If approved post signage in clear view of the crowd with the following text: "WARNING Audio and Video Recording In Progress"
  3. If you plan to publicly release the footage you must have documented approval of those within the video to have their images shown, or their faces must be blurred.

Dealers Room

Due to increased demand for space in both the Artist Alley and Dealers Room we have had to make a major change concerning our registration process. Anyone who applies for Artist Alley will have their Dealers Room application automatically rejected. This is regardless of whether or not you are accepted into the Artist Alley.

Double Booking:

Exhibiting in both the Artist Alley and Dealers Room is strictly prohibited. If you are found exhibiting in both areas, at the same time, you will be evicted from both immediately and may be banned from exhibiting for future years.
  1. If you are an artist who has been contracted by an exhibitor in the Dealers Room, you may still exhibit in the Artist Alley so long as you are not an owner of the company vending or your work does not make up the majority of the items sold by said vendor.
  2. The resulting merchandise from your partnership may only be displayed and sold at either the vendor's booth in Dealers Room or your own Artist Alley booth, but any one piece may not be sold in both locations.

Moving to the Dealers Room

If you are an artist who believes they have completely outgrown the Artist Alley, and are not interested in our Unlimited Booth spaces, you may apply to the Dealers Room as a normal exhibitor. Artists who choose to do this will not be allowed to reapply to Artist Alley in future years.
  1. If you are an artist who has previously attempted to vend in the Dealers Room and found you are not quite ready to be there you may be entitled reentry into Artist Alley. In this situation the following must occur.
  2. You must contact the Artist Alley or Dealers Room heads explaining your issue in applying for Dealers Room before the Artist Alley application opens.
  3. You must prove through sharing your financial information pertaining to the previous year's Otakon that you took a loss.
  4. The Artist Alley or Dealers Room Department Head will share this information with the other Department Head as well as the Head of exhibitions and will come to a decision on whether or not to allow you reentry into Artist Alley.
  5. If approved, you will be re-categorized as an Artist and will be welcome to apply to the Artist Alley during the application process.

Artwork and Sales

Adult Materials:

In recent years, there has been a marked increase in the number of minors and families attending Otakon. Therefore, Otakorp, Inc. asks that all exhibitors, including artists in Artist Alley, keep this in mind when setting up their displays. The acceptability of displays of adult material is at the sole discretion of the Department Head of the Artist Alley. Any materials which are sexually explicit, extremely graphically violent, or otherwise unsuitable for children must be displayed in a manner that keeps minors from seeing them. If any of these materials are found left out in the open, or the Artist Alley staff receives complaints, the artist will be asked to remove the material in question. If any artist sells inappropriate materials to minors, they will be removed from the Artist Alley, Otakon and membership in Otakorp, Inc. They may also be held accountable under Washington DC laws.

The following items may be sold:

  1. Any product featuring an artist's original character.
  2. Commissioned and hand-drawn works made during the convention, provided that they do not violate any other rule
  3. Unique, individual, hand-made items
  4. Fan art which clearly shows that the work is produced by the artist, rather than by the license holder.
  5. Props that are clearly made by the artist that are original rather than of a licensed nature.

The following items are prohibited from sale within The Alley at all table types:

  1. Any work with copyrighted materials and/or trademarked logos(official art), regardless of whether or not the work is original.
  2. Bootleg products
  3. Copyright-violating traced, photoshopped, or transferred art. This includes but is not limited to work from "redraw" projects, and pixel artwork, such as pearler or other forms of sprites, which directly copy a licensed work.
  4. 2nd or 3rd party art/sales.
  5. Products that can be bought at a store either in Japan or the US that you did not create
  6. Food, snacks or beverages.
  7. Legally imported merchandise or legitimate US products. This includes, but is not limited to: wall scrolls, sharpies, art supplies, duct tape, glow sticks etc.
  8. Any items for sale in the Dealers' Room regardless if you are the creator.
  9. Props that are a replication of a copyrighted and/or licensed nature.

Fan Art:

Rules regarding fan art at Artist Alley tables differ by table type. Please see each individual table page for information on how fan art will be treated. Unlimited Tables
Professional Row Tables
Standard Tables

At Con/Pre Con Commissions:

Commissions taken for delivery at the convention, regardless if the commission was taken pre convention for delivery or at the convention for delivery are between the artist and commissioner, Otakon is not a party in these dealings. As such Otakon and the Alley staff cannot assist you in locating either the commissioner or the artist you commissioned. Please make sure you get contact information for one another as part of your dealings.


Giveaways of any type are not allowed. This includes but is not limited to raffles of any kind.

District of Columbia Sales Tax Information

District of Columbia Law requires that all dealers and artists charge 6% District of Columbia sales tax separate from the amount of the sale. For more information please read the following pdf.

If you have any questions about the District of Columbia Sales Tax or how to file, please contact:
Office of Tax and Revenue
1101 4th Street, SW
Suite W270
Washington, DC 20024

Phone: (202)-727-4TAX (727-4829)
Fax: (202)-442-6890


While in the Artist Alley, all convention, local, state, and federal rules, policies and laws apply. Convention rules can be found online on the Otakon website and in your program book.


Otakorp, Inc. badges must be worn at all times. ONLY people with an Artist Alley flag will be allowed behind tables within the Artist Alley. Persons behind tables within Artist Alley without an Artist Alley flag are subject to removal from the convention without a refund.

Substance Use:

Smoking, including vapes or electronic cigarettes, or use of alcohol or drugs while in the Artist Alley will not be tolerated. Violations will result in removal from the Artist Alley and convention with no refund.


Please refrain from running, screaming, yelling, horseplay, or obscene language; all artists are expected to be courteous and polite to one another, the staff, and other convention attendees.


Overly loud music, videos, etc. will not be tolerated in the Artist Alley. If the amount of sound coming from a table is found to be disruptive as determined by the Artist Alley staff, the artist will be asked to lower the volume. Further noise violations can result in the artist being removed from the Artist Alley.


Photography and video recordings are permitted within the Artist Alley, provided that the person being recorded has given permission. Similarly, pictures or videos of art are allowed only with permission of the artist. The sole exception is that photography and videography of the art show is not permitted.


Artists are requested not to move or tamper with Otakon signage without staff permission.

Rules Violations and Penalties

Most issues within the Artist Alley are handled with a warning, but sometimes larger actions must be taken. Here is a general guideline for the consequences for the majority of offenses that may happen within the room.

FIRST OFFENSE - Verbal Warning:

The Artist Alley Department Head will speak with you detailing any major concerns with regards to your display, merchandise or conduct. You will be given examples, conditions and a time frame with which you must comply. This may be, but is not limited to, removing all offending material from sight and not displaying it again for the rest of the convention. A note of this warning will be made for reference at any other time in the weekend.

SECOND OFFENSE - Written Warning:

The Artist Alley Department Head will speak with you and present you with a written warning detailing any major concerns with regards to your display, merchandise or conduct. You will be given examples, conditions and a time frame with which you must comply. This may be, but is not limited to, removing all offending material from sight and not displaying it again for the rest of the convention.

THIRD OFFENSE - Eviction from Artist Alley

If you have already been given a written warning and have not complied in the time frame given, put any offending material back on display, or broken another rule, you may be evicted from the Artist Alley without refund.


If after being evicted from the room you are found trying to convince, or have convinced, another artist (whether knowingly or not) to help you sell you any merchandise (whether the offending merchandise or not), you will henceforth be banned from exhibiting in the Otakon Artist Alley for 1 year. Artists found selling your artwork will get a warning and/or could also be evicted or banned.


The current Department Heads and executive members of Otakorp, Inc. are unaware of any form of blacklist for the Artist Alley. If one has existed at any time previous to 2017 it is no longer valid. If for any reason an artist does something which requires any form of ban, either of a fixed duration or permanent, it will be after a thorough investigation and a decision agreed upon by the Otakorp, Inc. executive members and Otakorp, Inc.'s legal counsel. Any decision will be given to the artist in writing and kept on file.


Though Otakorp, Inc. and the Artist Alley staff retain the right to make instantaneous changes to the Artist Alley policies, every effort will be made to extend artists the courtesy to make announcements of any changes.

As a reminder the Artist Alley staff will consistently monitor and patrol the Artist Alley for policy and rules violations. Any and all observed and reported violations will be acted upon. A single violation of the convention and Artist Alley rules and policies can potentially result in the artist being removed from the Artist Alley and the convention at the discretion of the Artist Alley staff. If an individual is removed, they forfeit all fees and will receive no refund for their table or membership. Additionally, for the safety of the Artist Alley staff, conversations between yourself and the Artist Alley staff may be recorded.

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