Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Why juried shows?

My assistant starts tomorrow. I have all my pictures of my work, catalog exhibits, news paper articles, and postcards ready to be organized. I read somewhere that an artist should have enough work for at least 3 solo shows ready to go at given moment. Images of the work, sizes, location of the work, artist statements and a resume need to be ready to go as well. Opportunities can be lost if an artist is disorganized. This is why I need some help. This past fall was unusually busy - in part to the hurricane. So, I have hired some help to get everything back into working order. I need to know what work was where and what is available. Opportunities come knocking fast and I want to be prepared!

A few weeks a friend of mine lamented about not getting into a juried show. I sympathized with her  and shared with her that for every show that I was in, there were three or four that I was rejected. Juried shows are tricky. Juried shows  have entry fees. There's the expense of packing and shipping  the work - even if you can drive the work there - the cost of gasoline is a reality and your time! (My principal must think I am crazy for asking him every month to leave a few moments early to go drive somewhere to pick up or drop off art!)

Alyson Stanfield, one of my favorite bloggers, wrote about juried shows - Do the Math for the Juried Show.  I couldn't agree with her more. I never entered a juried show to sell work. I entered them for networking and recognition in my local art community. Most of the shows were local galleries or museums with excellent reputations. I had visited many galleries and museums in my area to figure out which venues I dreamed of having my work in. In fact, I  went to the shows in which my work was rejected to see what art was accepted. I cried and felt worthless. But I got over it and applied again. Sometimes I gave up; sometimes I didn't. A few times I applied to shows that I knew I could never get to physically- Oregon, Chicago, upstate NYC. These shows fit my philosophy - the themes were about the environment, repurposing materials or women's issues. I don't know what impact getting into those shows have on my career, but I sure like saying that I had an exhibit in Oregon. My advice is keep applying to juried shows. Set aside about $500 a year or $41.66 a month and apply to shows - particularly local shows. Think of spending the money on juried fees as an investment into your career. Since I have been in a number of local juried shows, I am starting to receive invitations now to exhibit at these local venues and that feels great!

I mentioned that one of the reasons for entering juried is to network with other artists to make connections and friendships. As a kind of reclusive artist, networking is not easy. My fellow grad students laughed at me when I said how shy I am. But I am. Socializing doesn't come easy, it takes practice. There are awkward moments, insecure moments, and moments that go smoothly. Whenever a conversation goes icky, I think "oh lordie, I f*@#ked up again." Another great blog post this week that I want to share was from Danielle La Porta about suspending judgement. Read it here. Wow - it just put some things into perspective for me.  I am mean I should even suspend judgement on myself, right?

These photos were taken in the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge  early October (before the hurricane) at  the Noyes Museums. By the way, the applications for Signature Artist Membership has been posted - consider applying if you are a New Jersey artist. Click here for more details.


  1. Great post, we all need a push to keep on keeping on.

  2. It's great that you have work accepted on the other side of the country. It's been a real problem for me, having all of my work under glass, to even think about submitting pieces because the shipping is prohibitive. That's one of the reasons I've started painting on watercolor boards (aside from the fact that I like them as well). They are much easier/cheaper to ship.
    When I teach my marketing class, I always talk about having a budget and a realistic view of the shows you want to enter. Because you can get so caught up in the possibility of showing "everywhere". But I like what you're saying about making sure you show up to all of the events associated with the juried show - it's a no-brainer that does need to be repeated. You're absolutely right!