When it comes to exhibitions, particularly juried shows, it is wise to consider your options very carefully. There are too many shows out there to submit to them all, plus it can get very expensive when it comes to entry fees, shipping, and framing. Here are some tips on how to ensure the shows you select are right for you:
- Consider the sponsor or organizer of the exhibition. This is one of the most important aspects to consider when deciding which shows to enter. Always select shows sponsored by non-profit art organizations rather than those sponsored by commercial entities. Galleries and other commercial exhibition venues should make their money from sales, not jury fees.
- Does the exhibit typically feature work that is similar in style / approach to your own? There is no sense in applying to a juried exhibition of abstract work if you are a representational painter. Odds are, you won’t get in. Always look at the work from previous exhibitions to get an idea if a show is a good fit for you or not.
- What is the caliber of the work in the exhibit? Again, refer to past exhibition catalogs and do some research. You don’t want your work hanging with work that is not of a high caliber–stretch yourself. It’s better to apply to a show that has tough standards and get rejected than it is to only apply to shows you know you are sure to get in. Aim for exhibits that will look good on your resume and that will help to build your credentials as an artist, this is particularly important if you are just starting out professionally.
- What are the costs associated with entry? This goes beyond the entry fee and should include the fee for shipping (or the time you have to take off from work to get the painting to the show if you deliver it yourself) and the framing. I always try to enter exhibits where I know the work I put in will have a good chance of selling–not a guarantee, but a good chance.
- Do you have a piece in mind that you would be proud to exhibit if included? This is important, although it may seem obvious. So often, I hear artists say that they are going to enter something even though they don’t really have anything special. I only enter an exhibit (or offer work for sale) if I feel it is my best. You never want to show anything less than your best.
I just finished entering the painting above into the 119th Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club Juried Exhibition. It is open to women artists from all over the world and is always a beautiful show. Want to give it a try? Here is a link to the CLWAC web site where you will find the prospectus. Good luck!!!