Call For Artists opportunities are happening all of the time. Open calls typically occur for scheduled annual art shows, to promote a specific event or fundraising initiative, seasonally, during the winter holidays, or to support a collaborative effort around a specific theme or topical event.
It is exciting to be included in a juried show. Being selected puts your work in the spotlight, increases your professional credibility, and enables your work to be seen by individuals in the art world that you may not have met otherwise. And it provides a public platform to sell your work to enthusiastic arts supporters.
Whatever the reason for the art show, it is rarely a simple feat to have your work included and displayed. To help ensure that your art is given serious review and consideration, think about following these best practices when applying to the next Call For Artists.
DO YOUR RESEARCH!
When you are applying for a job, it is imperative that you research your future employer before submitting your resume to explore if it is a good fit and to tailor your cover letter to match the job requirements. Call for Artist applications are similar. Research will increase your chances of success and provide valuable information about eligibility and compatibility.
Call for Artists can generate many qualified candidates. To give yourself an edge, it is your responsibility to take the time to find out as much information as possible about the specifics of the show AND the jurors.
Topics to research may include:
- Mission and history of the sponsoring gallery/organization
- Previous exhibitions and selected artists
- Specific facts relevant to the show’s theme
- Credentials and interests of the jurors
PLAN AHEAD & FOLLOW THE RULES
Give yourself MORE THAN enough time to prepare a specific piece or pieces to meet the show’s thematic guidelines, OR if the show is more generic, set aside extra time to carefully prepare a submission of the highest quality that strictly adheres to the rules.
Every rule matters. Do not deviate. Regardless of the beauty and caliber of your art, you can be disqualified if you submit more than the maximum number of written words, your images are not the prescribed size, or your files are in the wrong format!
CHOOSE YOUR VERY BEST QUALITY IMAGES
The quality of your images can make or break your submission. Include ONLY the very best images. Decisions will be made instantly and often solely on first impressions. Make sure your images shine – showing your art in the best possible light, literally and figuratively. Good, flattering lighting is critical. Avoid blurry images, aim for consistent lighting, and, if possible, have professional photos taken of your work.
PROVIDE TITLES & DESCRIPTIONS
Identify and label your images EXACTLY as directed. If descriptions are requested or recommended. Do it. This is your opportunity to inject the adjectives and mood you were aiming for. But, keep your descriptions brief, well below the maximum word count. Jurors will be reviewing many applications. You want to take the opportunity to be a “stand out,” not a time waster. Short and sweet.
Tweak your artist statement and bio just a little bit for each submission, zeroing in on a specific characteristic, personal interest, or aspect of your work or history that may have relevance to the show’s topic. Don’t force it, but when possible, create or highlight a special connection.
SUBMIT YOUR WORK AT LEAST ONE WEEK BEFORE THE DEADLINE
Never wait until the last minute. Give yourself more than five business days to meet the deadline. Track and verify your submission. If any little thing goes awry, you need the time to resubmit without the stress of running out the clock. Late submissions are a death knell.
Whether or not you were selected, it is advisable to send personal follow-ups to the curator and panel of jurors. You want to show appreciation for their consideration and give a nod to their credentials and role in the arts community. Whether your submission was successful or not, the extra step of showing respect and putting your name out there again can benefit you in the long term when you apply for future shows.
If you were not selected but are interested in building a relationship with any of the jurors, consider requesting advice. Send them a confidential message and ask for a recommendation on how to improve the viability of future submissions.
OPTIMIZE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA
When you are selected, immediately after you have celebrated, tell everyone in your world about your accomplishment! Use your social media channels to spread the word. Don’t wait for the exhibition post about the upcoming show. Give your friends and followers the date in advance so they can mark their calendars. Start the buzz!
Next time you hear about an appealing Call For Artists – Go for it, and Good Luck!
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