The Sawdust Art Festival is unique in the way that its artists are chosen. Rather than being chosen by a jury, artists are selected through a lottery system in which all artists who meet the residency and arts & crafts requirements are eligible. In its present form, Lottery Day has been taking place at least since the 1980s, according to Jay Grant, president of the board of the Sawdust Art Festival. Before that, invitations and applications were mailed out to Laguna Beach artists, and booths were picked on a first-come, first-served basis.
Lottery Day determines the order by which the artists select their booths. This annual event took place on Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015, when 213 artists received their lottery numbers for 195 booth spaces.
The amount of tickets an artist receives depends on how many years s/he has been exhibiting in the Sawdust Art Festival. The longer you have shown, the more tickets you get in the lottery. This gives artists who have been exhibiting for many years a better chance of receiving a booth, but does not eliminate the possibility of a brand-new artist being chosen in a premium position. It is all about the luck of the draw.