I’ve juried an art show or two in my time. I’ve entered them too. Being on the juror end of it is really fun, though sometimes a bit wild. Being on the juried/inspected/judged end is another story.
Let me back up here. If you don’t know what a juried art show is, I’ll explain (and if you do, skip this part): the producers of an art show send out a call for art submissions. It costs money to produce the art show, so the producers charge a small fee for you to submit your artwork. The fee helps defray some of the cost of the show, you get to have your work looked at and evaluated by professionals, and maybe you get into the show. I said “maybe”. There’s no guarantee you’ll be accepted into the art show. You pay the fee up front either way. The person who decides if your work is in or out is the juror.
Since there’s no guarantee that the art will be accepted, why do I enter juried shows? Short answer: SALES, baby!!!! Longer answer: Sales. Recognition. Recognition that leads to sales.
Recently I entered an example of work similar to the image above into the Southern California regional Art + Science* show. Happy to say, the work was accepted and even received an honorable mention from the juror, Ruth West. I love to display my work at the gallery that’s holding this show, and I highly respect the juror, who is, like myself, both an artist and a person who works in the sciences. Gotta love that combo.
One thing about entering a juried show that the artist best keep in mind: don’t take it personal. Easier said than done, but it’s true. The work that didn’t even get a passing nod from one juror, may receive an award from another. This really happens. All the time. And let’s not discount the work that was rejected by a juror, went back to my studio where a private collector saw it and paid 4 figures for it. Buyer with cash trumps juror’s opinion. This happens, too, yee-ha! And last but not least, there’s the juried show I entered because it was annual, well known and well-attended by collectors. My work was accepted. And I sold two pieces to my first public art collection. What’s that I said earlier about sales and recognition? If you take a juror’s rejection personal, you might stop entering. If you stop entering…you get the picture, n’est-ce pas?
So go to your studios and make stuff. Then take a chance and enter juried shows. You won’t be sorry, and who knows, you might get rich!
*The exhibit runs August 9-September 30, 2011. Go to www.escondidoarts.org for gallery days and times. Entrance is free, as is the artists’ reception on September 10th.