Jun 20, 2012

Art Show Practices

I must admit, I'm not very experienced at entering art shows or understanding how they work. Even years ago when I was doing my wildlife art full time I did not spend much time entering shows or exhibitions. I mainly spent my time painting, selling originals through a local retail gallery, and working on publishing and licensing deals. I really didn't give much thought to art competitions or exhibitions.

This time, I decided to try things differently. Everyone seems to say you need to enter shows and win awards to build up your resume. Entering's the easy part. Winning's another story. But, I digress.

My purpose for this post is to ask, do many shows ask to submit originals just to enter?

I've only entered a few shows this year. Usually they ask you to submit some digital images via email or CD. Then they notify you if you are accepted into the show. If you are accepted then you deliver the original artwork to the show.

Sounds good.

Now, recently, I entered a local show where things didn't quite go that way. They actually ask you to deliver your original artworks just to enter. First, this seems odd to me for them to spend all this time and energy handling and storing originals that won't end up actually in the show. Why not save themselves the hassle and eliminate unwanted artwork via digital preview like many shows seem to do nowadays?

Then, to make matters worse, they only notify you if all your submitted pieces are rejected. If you enter 3 artworks and 1 is accepted and 2 are rejected, you hear nothing from them. So I guess you assume "no news is good news" in this case. But, even if no news is good news, you don't know which pieces that you entered have been accepted. This can be a bit frustrating for the artist. I'd imagine most artists would like to announce ahead of time which pieces of their art have been accepted into a show. They would like to inform their fans and clientele so they may go view that art at said show. To think an artist has to actually attend the show to find out which of his/her pieces are in it seems ridiculous to me.

On top of everything else, the rejected pieces of art cannot be picked up until after the show. So, even if all your submitted works are rejected, your originals are tied up for the duration of the show. You cannot submit them to other shows, you can't sell them, you can't show them anywhere else. This seems a heavy price to pay to enter a show you may not get into.

This seems completely backwards to me. Am I wrong? Is this weird? Or is it common? Let me know.


Vonnie Kohn said...

I have never heard of a show tying up all of your entries, including the rejected ones. This is not normal. Usually only very small shows will require originals without asking to see images of your work (whether in cd or photos, etc). Regretfully, it sounds like you have not had a very pleasant first time experience, but keep looking for other shows. They are all different & some can be quite rewarding. Good luck!

Crista Forest said...

Thanks Vonnie!
I don't think I'll be entering this particular show again.

Brenda D. Johnson said...

I must agree with Vonnie on this one Crista. This is the first I've ever heard of tying up originals and no notification, etc. They are not an "artist friendly" organization!

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