If you're an artist, you probably spend a fair amount of time scrolling through listings of calls for entry for national juried shows. Getting accepted into a juried show is a great ego boost for an artist, and something to add to your resume. Especially at a nice gallery.
|A reception at Gallery Underground|
Before ponying up the $35+ entry fee for that show that sounds just perfect for your work, however, you will want to find out several things about the show. Obviously you'll want to thoroughly read the prospectus be be sure this show is right for you, and also to be sure you're familiar with any and all rules and restrictions (artists sometimes fail to read the fine print on sizes, for instance, only to pay the non-refundable fee and have their work rejected because it's over the size limit). But in addition to carefully reading the prospectus, there are other things to consider and, in some cases, research before clicking the "enter" button.
|Hmmm...at what kind of gallery will my art be?|
Another mistake that is easy to make is not realizing that the location of the "gallery" is....actually online. There are a lot of online juried shows that are a wonderful financial windfall for the outfits organizing them, since there is no overhead and they are raking in the entry fees. There is also no reception, no actual gallery where people can see the art...again, you may be ok with it, but be mindful of what you are - and are not - going to get out of this after forking over the entry fee.
|Make sure your shows don't overlap|
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. It sounds counter-intuitive, but be wary of a call to artists with no entry fee. Most legitimate galleries have to charge an entry fee to pay for all the expenses associated with mounting a show. If there is no entry fee, chances are there will be hidden fees, such as being hit up for the cost of publishing a booklet about the exhibition if you're accepted - and these costs can be higher than most average entry fees. There are sometimes shows mounted by non-profit galleries that are funded by corporations who foot the bill, so you'll want to research this - usually you can find out if the show is being underwritten. These can also have hidden fees, however.
|How prestigious is the juror?|
These are just a few of the things you should research when making a decision to enter a show. As with anything, "buyer beware."
Sandi Parker is an artist who works in both traditional oils and abstract acrylics. She is the Co-Director of Gallery Underground in Crystal City, VA.