Laura Kesselring: Juried Show Venue
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Subject: The Juried Show Venue:
Deciding Which Pieces to Enter
Date: Sun, 11 Jun 2000 19:30:14 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Laura A. Kesselring" <>

Part 4 in an approximately 12-Part Series

You've picked which exhibitions you want to enter, and you're ready to fill out the forms and send in your slides. The first decision to make is which artworks you're going to submit to which shows. This can be a tricky situation: it involves juggling, chart-making, and careful reading of each prospectus. But if you do it right, you will come out on top.

First, I have a typed-out table listing each of my pieces-this includes title, description, media, date, and size (for a copy of mine as an example, just email me and I will send you one) for easy reference. Then, I go through each prospectus, and in pencil I write particulars for each show in the white space around the table: name, location, entry due date, fee, # of entries allowed, date I will be notified if I got in or not, and the total time span between when the art leaves me until when it gets back. This last part is very important so that you do not enter the same piece into 2 overlapping shows-if you got it into both you'd be in big trouble. Underneath all of this information for each show, I leave an empty space to write in which pieces I am submitting to that show. I write all this in with pencil because once I find out if I got in or not, I just erase that show entry next to the table and use the space for another show.

Having the table of pieces next to the shows I am entering makes it easy to see what I have available. Next, I consider the following points to determine which art to submit where:

-ENTRY DUE DATE: You obviously need to decide pieces more quickly for shows that have upcoming entry due dates. Do this first. Shows where entries are not due for a month or more, don't worry about yet. Your choices may change for several reasons during that time: you may get rejections back from earlier shows that can be considered for later shows, you may receive more prospectuses (prospecti?) in the meantime that you would rather enter and so you ditch the ones you have, etc.

-SIZE RESTRICTIONS: Most shows won't accept anything bigger than 70-80" in any direction. Depending on the theme, some shows may only want small art. Review everything you have so that you use it all efficiently.

-THEME: This is pretty obvious. Don't enter a gouache in a sculpture show. However, read the fine print carefully so that you don't waste your time and money. If it is a watercolor show, can you submit a watercolor with some collage? Mixed media pieces can work to your advantage in many shows by fitting into multiple themes, but just make sure they adhere to the guidelines.

-JUROR: Jurors are supposed to be impartial, but you can increase your advantage by using any info printed about them wisely. I would enter gouaches (opaque watercolors) into a show jurored by a member of AWS or NWS before I would enter oil paintings or photographs. Sometimes there is no info about the juror, not even a name. But if there is, study it.

-FRAMING: Some shows specifically state that works must be framed. In this case I usually enter works on paper because they are more easily framed. I save works on canvas that are harder to frame for shows that don't require it. Again, read the fine print, and make sure you don't waste your time or money entering something you will have trouble actually exhibiting if you get in.

-SLIDE QUALITY: This is apparently extremely important to jurors. They will bypass poor quality slides without even looking at the image itself. So be sure to have good quality slides done by a professional-take the time to do it right. I do my slides myself (with the help of a friend who took Photo) with some relatively inexpensive equipment, and they almost always come out fine (if you want my advice about this, email me), considering I really don't know what I'm doing. If you don't have Photo experience and don't know someone who does, call a professional-I know there are always some listed in the back of Chicago Artists News. I have found that my success in these shows increased when I started submitting better quality slides.

-LENGTH OF EXHIBITION: I just bypassed entering a traveling exhibition that would have lasted 3 years because I did not want to tie up my pieces for that long. The exhibition length can determine which pieces you enter-I wouldn't submit my best pieces to be in a 3-month exhibition unless it was really prestigious, because it is a longer-than-average exhibition. Instead, I would enter some middle-of-the-road pieces so as not to tie up my best work, which I then could enter into 3 1-month exhibitions and get them more exposure and me more experience. This is a personal choice. Most shows last 3-6 weeks.

-NOTIFICATION DATE: Here is the point where you will be really juggling. You have to wait after entering a piece into a show before you can enter it into another show with similar or overlapping dates UNLESS you have been notified that you did not get into that first show. This is where the notification date is crucial. I sometimes wait to until the notification date of Show A before I enter Show B so that I can see if I got certain pieces into Show A-- if I did not, I can enter those pieces into Show B. Warning: Notification dates are notoriously imprecise, so don't be surprised if you are still waiting to hear a week later.

-LOCATION: Again, location can determine which pieces you enter. If I enter a show in Chicago, I will enter bigger pieces that I can hand-deliver, and save the smaller, more easily shipped pieces for out-of-town locations.

-DATE OF PIECE: This is another thing you have to note carefully. Many shows have a time restriction on the date you made your submitted pieces, such as "completed in the last 2 years." Some shows will not mention anything about it at all, in which case you can feel free to enter 10-year-old ceramics-however, most shows do have some sort of restriction on date completed. Again, you can use this to your advantage by entering older pieces in shows with no date-completed restrictions and saving newer ones for shows with restrictions. As always, it is a balancing act.

You can increase your chances of getting into juried shows by entering as many as possible. These points will help you to maximize the usability of the work you have when entering shows, especially if you have a limited number of pieces to work with.

Up Next: "The Actual Submission Process" Coming Soon: "Pricing Your Art for Sale"

Juried Show Venue: Table of Contents
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