Applying for the opportunity to participate in an art show or gain access to grant money can be really hard. Decision makers accept your applications based on many factors, including your artwork, your art style, the appearance of your application, and many more. When applying for calls for art you need to take the time needed to present a professional-looking application. This may feel time-consuming, but in order to avoid preventable rejections you need to take the time to do it right.
Quick note: For ease of writing this article we use the term “art shows,” but this can refer to fairs, events, exhibitions, and even memberships and grants.
Tips To Improve Applications For Art Shows
Make Sure The Art Show Is A Good Fit
When you are looking at art show applications, it is important to make sure that your art is a good fit for this opportunity and that the opportunity is a good fit for you. For example, do not waste your time applying for an art show that showcases very traditional work if your work is more contemporary. Applying for shows can get pricey and time-consuming, so you need to have a strategy for choosing which shows are a good fit and will be most beneficial.
Always check the following points:
If the show is looking for a specific type of art, make sure your work fits those criteria.
Does that show mention any limitations that would disqualify you, for example: “age under 30”
Does the show seem like a good fit for your brand? And where you are in your career
Take a look at the type of audience the show will draw. Is that your target audience?
For physical exhibitions, you need to consider the location of the show, and if you will be able to travel for the show if required.
Look at the type and quality of the work from past shows. Make sure your work matches the quality of previous work.
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Know the requirements
Before beginning the application process, it is important to be aware of the requirements for the art show. Do research on the art show and jurors or curators. This can help you understand if it is worth your time to apply. Each art show application has different requirements, so it is important to read the rules carefully and be sure to meet all the criteria. To increase your chances of acceptance you may want to customize your application for specific shows.
A few requirements that are generally included in all art show applications are
Present your work and application in a professional manner.
Once you understand the requirements of the show, the next step is to fill out the application. Many organizations use websites like CAFE or ArtCall.org. These can be helpful because they save some of your information from previous applications so you aren’t constantly uploading artist statements, etc. Make sure you understand the specification of the application. If you do not follow the application instructions you may be disqualified from having your work presented to the juror, or it may count against you in the final decision-making. It is essential that your application is presented in a clear and professional manner.
Some events are stricter than others, but if you are a professional you should present yourself in a professional manner. That includes reading through the prospectus, following any rules, and submitting a professional-looking application. Some prestigious and selective shows and memberships require the utmost care and attention to detail. Remember, competition can be high, and it is up to you to present yourself and your work professionally.
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To Wrap Up
Applying to an art show can be both scary, exciting, and daunting; but being accepted can be a huge boost to your career. There is no guarantee that you will get into a show. In fact, rejections are just part of being an artist… really!
No matter what happens, keep trying, keep improving, and keep growing. Rejections happen for all kinds of reasons, including juror preferences, available space, etc. Most shows do not give you feedback, but if you do receive feedback consider it with an open mind and see what you can learn from the feedback. Whatever you do, don’t get discouraged, keep applying, keep working, keep going. Perseverance and determination are key. We’ll even share a few more tips to help along the way:
We know applying for a show can be stressful. We hope this article will help you feel more confident and better equipped to apply for the right art shows for you. We wish you all the best!!
Do you have any other tips for applying to an art show? Drop your comment!!
Special Announcement For Members: Want to dive into the nitty-gritty of applying for shows and grants? We will be hosting a Panel discussion on March 2nd at 3:30 Pacific. RSVP in the member portal.