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:
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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.
As an artist you are expected to wear so many hats, and some days the task list seems never ending. I could tell you about various tips and tricks for being more productive and getting over a motivation slump, but I none would be quite as delicious as the advice I'm going to give you today.... HOT CHOCOLATE.
No, really, hear me out... Chocolate contains caffeine, but in much lower levels than that afternoon cup of coffee that makes I hard to sleep Chocolate is linked with a release in endorphins and can regulate your immune system! Besides all of that it's delicious and oh so enjoyable to drink.
"But all the sugar is bad for you," you might argue. Oh, boy do I know that! My body and sugar do not get along. The recipe I'm going to share is my personal recipe and is allergy friendly, sugar free, and 100% delicious. I don't have specific measurements, but it should be made to your preference anyway. I don't eat dairy, and prefer oat milk, but you can use whatever you prefer.
Just a reminder that measurements are approximates so taste it as you go.
Megan's Allergy Friendly, Productivity Boosting, Hot Chocolate
In a sauce pan, heat the following on medium low heat. Stir continually, until the desired temperature is reached. Do not heat too high, or heat without stirring. yuck...
1.5 cups oatmilk
2-2.5 heaping spoons of 100% dark cocoa
two big dashes of cinnimon
a big dash of vanilla
sweeten to your liking with maple syrup
Optional: Top with your preferred whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon
Bonus 1: Use a special mug. It always makes me happy to drink out of the mug pictured because it was a gift from my good friends.
Bonus 1: Also delicious as a mixed drink with peppermint schnapps
Disclaimer: I'm not doctor or nutritionist. Read about the affects of chocolate on your own and consult a doctor or nutritionist if needed. :)
Motivation, Inspiration, and Routines
Have you had one of those days where your body is alive with inspiration and you are creating with ease and joy? Goodness, I love those moments. For me the hours go by in the blink of an eye because I am so tuned in to what I am doing. Those days feel really good. But the fact of the matter, is that everyday is not like that. More often than not, there are a million other things that have to be taken care of that make it hard just to get started with art making.
If you struggle with creating when you aren't feeling inspired or motivated this is for you. I want to share a few tricks that I've learned over the years that might help you stay consistent with your art making and art business.
1: Work with yourself not against yourself.
None of us are exactly the same, yet we often try to work within a framework that was set up for someone else. Are you a night owl? Then why are you forcing yourself to wake up at 6 AM to paint? Are you way too busy to have a spotless house without sacrificing your art making time? It's okay if your house isn't spotless. Are you super forgetful? Set all the reminders, and write down the systems you are establishing so you don't forget steps.
See what you can learn about yourself. When do you have the best focus? What is your sweet spot for number of hours in the studio? Do you need quiet and solitude, or lots of hustle and bustle? Do you need to do a little desk work every day or a lot at once? There is no wrong way to be you (unless you are acting in harmful, unethical ways-- you should probably work on that). Embrace who you are, embrace how your brain and body function, and find ways to work with who you are. You will find more success and less frustration.
I did an experiment when I was first getting back into running. I decided that I would listen to the same album every time I went out for a run. This was so effective that I could be driving down the road and my running music would come on and I literally wanted to pull my car over and get out for a run. I do this with art making too. I make a playlist and then I listen to that for months and months while I paint. This primes my brain to paint. I hear the music and my brain is like, "Oh yeah, I know what's happening! Let's get to work!" What are some routines you can put into place to prime your brain for art making or business tasks?
3: Set a timer.
Often the hardest part to a task is the act of getting started. If you are really struggling to get a task started, set a timer for 15 min. to an hour, and tell yourself you only have to work until the timer goes off. Often times, once you actually get started you want to keep going. Or if it is legitimately a challenging task this helps you break it up into manageable parts.
Inspiration is a fleeting friend. If we only work when we feel inspired we will likely not be successful. The difference between a professional and a hobbyist is professionals always come back to the work, whatever that looks like. So get out for a walk, take a nap, read a book. Maybe inspiration will spark and maybe it won't, but keep on creating. When you are feeling creative take notes of your inspiration so when you are having a dry spell you can come back to it. But whatever you do keep doing the work. Horse trainer, Marijke de Jong reminds us, "If you wait for perfect conditions you'll never get anything done."
There are exceptions to all of these, and they simply may not be what works for you. The biggest thing is don't worry about perfection, embrace the mess, we are all a work in progress.
Do you have any other tips and tricks? Feel free to post in the comments.