Monday, September 28

Entering an Art Show or Exhibit

Today’s Image
An "Art Show"

There’s probably nothing that gets an artist to a more heightened state of activity, or is that anxiety, than preparing for an upcoming art show or exhibit. Today’s Image attempts to set the stage for the upcoming drama to unfold.

What causes all this activity/anxiety? Well, for one, artists are only human, although I’m sure there are some (many?) people out there who would dispute that premise.

Preparing for a show entails many tasks and skill sets almost none of which have anything to do with creating art. To the contrary, getting ready for a show is the antithesis of creating art.

In getting ready for a show, the artist must display at least a few of the following skills: alertness, decision-making, verbal and written communication, efficient handling of paperwork (either the real thing or online files), extreme attention to detail, time management, meeting a deadline, some level of confidence, and, of all things, people skills, if you are lucky enough to be asked to attend a reception.

Unfortunately, hardly any of these are ones most people would use when describing artists. Like oil and water, creativity and administrative duties don’t mix very well. We’re all familiar with the left-brain, right-brain view of the world, and nothing highlights the difference between the two lobes quite like entering an art exhibit.

The whirlwind of activities in entering and submitting artwork to an exhibition is manifold. First, the artist has to be in some communication loop or on some mailing or email list or a member of some art group or at least read some kind of art periodical to even know there’s an opportunity to exhibit his or her art.

The next big hoop to jump through is having the motivation to actually do something with the opportunity—like getting more information about the show. Then the artist must carefully read the literature about the show and decide if it’s worth entering.

Assuming the artist decides to enter the show, he or she must then decide which piece of art is worthy of being exhibited. This sounds easy, but it’s a stumbling block and a show-stopper for many.

Here’s where the extreme attention to detail comes into play. If the artist doesn’t read the fine print, so to speak, and follow every requirement to the letter, then there’s an excellent probability his or her entry will be rejected before their piece of art even makes it to the judging. This just has to be where the phrase “the devil is in the details” came from.

Every competition is different with different requirements about such things as subject matter, size, framing, matting, authenticity, etc., etc. Mess up on any one detail, and both the art and artist will be summarily dismissed. Don't forget, it is a competition and a cold, cruel art world out there.

One of the most important requirements is getting both the entry (the “paperwork”) and the artwork itself submitted on or preferably before the dreaded deadline. Miss it, and your dreams are over.

I think that’s enough for one blog, but please return for the next installment (blog), and I’ll continue the saga of submitting an entry to an art show or exhibit.

‘Til then…


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