Written for the Art Center Sarasota, Winter Newsletter

Submitting to Juried Exhibitions

The process at first seems so easy. Fill out the form, write the check, get the slides and then send it off.

The issues arise when what is in the prospectus/call to artist and what is in the mind of the artist don’t match.

Taking care and understanding each part of the application are important to the entry/jury process.

Be sure to read each prospectus/call to artist carefully and find out exactly what is desired. If you don’t think you fully understand the details, have someone else read the prospectus and see what they can gather. If there is still some doubt. Reread, write out the details and see if that becomes clear. If still in doubt, and this would be a last resort, the very last resort, email (preferred) or call the organization, promoter or show coordinator to get clarification. Do not do this lightly. Something as simple as sending a CD when slides are requested or sending an application that is not legible can eliminate you from the competition, and you will never know why you were rejected.

Understanding the “theme” of the competition is equally as important. You don’t send images of industrial sites when the competition is about botanical gardens. If there is no theme, then send the best possible work that you have available for showing. Understand that this work may be tied up for several months while on display. If picture A is accepted to a show, send picture A, picture B is not a good substitute and may land a show rejection. If picture A is sold in the interim be sure that you can “borrow” the work should you be accepted to the show in which picture A was used as a part of the application process.

Stack as much as possible in your favor. Contrary to popular belief, these shows are not always about accepting your work. There are shows with a small number of spaces available and a huge number of applications. These kinds of shows become more about elimination than acceptance. Give them no excuse. Period. The artwork not only needs to be of good quality and finish, the framing also needs to be impeccable, the slides need to be of excellent quality and as near the artwork in color and visual texture as possible.

Even with all of this care and attention to detail. Rejection is still a possibility. It may have nothing to do with you or your work. Understand that it may have something to do with the juror, the intent of the show and a number of other quirky details.

When rejected be gracious, kind and use an attitude of gratitude. Understand it may have nothing to do with you, the work or your application. It may have to do with the overall look of the show, prejudices of the jury or juror and the space available.

Even if rejected, plan for next year, the next show, the next work. It can be about tenacity and dedication. Do not despair.

© 2007 Howard Cowdrick Contact Me