Thursday, October 1

Part Deux - Entering an Art Show or Exhibit

Today’s Image
An Icon for an "Art Show"

m picking up where I left off from my last blog on Entering an Art Show or Exhibit; that is, at the point of physically getting your artwork to the location of the show or exhibit.

I think local shows are much easier in this respect as long as you have a way to get your artwork there. You just have to transport it to the venue. On the other hand, if you have to ship your artwork out of town, then you have a whole other set of issues to consider. Although most local shows do require plexiglass rather than glass, it (plexiglass) is absolutely mandatory for shipping out of town to avoid breakage and liability.

In the case of an out of town venue, you have to decide which carrier to use to ensure the art reaches the destination by the deadline. Then there’s the question of what’s the best way to pack the artwork for shipping to avoid damage to the artwork or frame—styrofoam “buns” or plastic bubble wrap or something else. You also have to consider insuring the package. Of course, all of this comes at a price.

Do not forget to find out who’s liable if anything happens to your artwork while it’s in the hands of the people running the show. Usually it’s you, the artist, but it never hurts to ask. Once the artwork arrives, it is then processed by whatever method the show, exhibit, or gallery or whatever deems appropriate, which can be any kind of step-by-step process imaginable.

If it’s a competition, and even if it isn’t, there is usually a guest juror or panel of jurors who will decide if you artwork makes the grade. As I said in the previous blog, your work can be dismissed at this point for any reason whatsoever depending on who’s doing the judging. Oh, did I mention you’ve already paid an entrance fee, usually per piece, for the opportunity to have your work rejected?

I don’t mean to sound cynical or unforgiving, well not too much anyway,but the whole thing is so subjective, and you usually don’t get any feedback about why your art was rejected either.

But on a positive note, let’s say your work was accepted for the show. Congratulations! You will have your moment of fame in the spotlight and your artwork on display for the duration of the show. If you’re lucky, your work places first, second, third or at least honorable mention, and there is a cash prize involved. More often than not, there is a reception for the vernissage--the opening of the exhibit--so attend it if you’re in town, and enjoy yourself.

Assuming this was an out of town show, let’s hope you also remembered to purchase return shipping for your artwork. Otherwise, your artwork may not be returned or there may be storage fee charged or worse, disposed of.

I’m sure I’ve left something out of this discussion that would be relevant and helpful to other artists, so feel free to leave a comment.

Remember, this is all part of becoming a recognized artist.



  1. Hi Byrne! It's true, exhibitions do usually end up costing more than they're worth, monetarily at least. But each show is another to put on your resume and chalk up to experience! I've found that most juried shows will judge a digital image of your work BEFORE asking you to send the original. Of course, if they accept and then decide the original isn't what they expected, they can exclude it!

    As for shipping, the problem I've had is that most carriers won't insure original art unless you can provide a receipt that shows its value. Have you run into this?

  2. Thanks for your comments. You are right, I left out the part about digital images being sent first, an oversight, and jumped right to the difficulties of shipping. On insuring, I've found I end up declaring the carrier's maximum allowable amount ($100?) since my art hasn't been valued/sold at that point; that's why it's a risk.

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