The Year of the Show

Or I could call it the year I let my gambling addiction go unchecked.

Last year, I played a game I invented which I called the Year of the Show.

Here are the rules.

Rule #1
If I have work available and it is a good show, I must apply. Where do I find these shows? Here is a list of websites I check out on a regular basis.

Professional Artist
Fiber Art Calls for Entry
Call For Entry
Surface Design Association

I know there are more websites out there, but I’ve got to draw the line somewhere. These five sites keep me plenty busy.

Rule #2
I must research the show/gallery/organization to make sure the venue is attractive and the organizers are with it. I am always amazed and suspicious when a gallery does not show actual pictures of their space. I want to know that it looks good. This can be hard to do from Anchorage, Alaska.

Rule #3
The entry fees are $35.00 or less for three entries. Okay, I sometimes bend the rules here. If there is a good show that charges only $25.00 for the application fee then I feel okay about entering another show that charges $40.00 for the fee.

Rule #4
There are no extra shipping charges. Because I live in Alaska, my shipping costs are very high. Shows that require you to ship by a certain carrier and/or pay handing fees for a shipping company to pack and unpack your work are too expensive for me. My costs to ship one piece can easily move into the hundred dollar range when this happens.

Rule #5
The show must accept the type of work I am doing. If they say they accept mixed media or fiber, I know I am good. This means I entered Fine Craft Shows, Fiber Shows, Art Quilt Shows, and Fine Art Shows.

What happened?

These are the quilts jurors selected for shows.

I entered two fine craft shows and was rejected by both. I am frequently rejected by fine craft shows. I do not know why. Because my craft is fine.

I entered seven fiber shows and was accepted by six. I like those odds. Two of these shows were huge moves in my career–the opportunity to show my work at the Bellevue Arts Museum in the Biennial High Fiber Diet, and to be one of the featured artists for the Surface Design Associations Conference this June in San Antonio.

I entered ten Art Quilt Shows, and I was accepted by six. Why? I don’t know.

I entered 23 Fine Art Shows. I had 17 pieces accepted by twelve shows. That is a better than fifty percent acceptance rate. Not bad for someone who makes patchwork quilts out of plain old cotton. AND oddly enough it is about the same acceptance rate I had entering Art Quilt Shows.

Here are the final numbers-
Craft  2 shows 2 rejections
Fiber 7 shows 6 acceptances 1 rejection
Art Quilt 10 shows 6 acceptances 4 rejections
Fine Art 23 shows 12 acceptances 11 rejections

That’s 42 shows 18 rejections  and 24 Acceptances.

What is the take away? I will tell you tomorrow.

If you like this post, you might want to check out these other posts that are also about entering juried shows.

Juried Shows the Process–My old school methods for applying for art opportunities.

A Gambler’s Story–The numbers on acceptances and rejections for my earlier years.

More Talk about Shows –I obviously can’t stop talking about shows.

Show Your Work–This is a list of shows I have entered in the past.


This entry was published on April 22, 2013 at 2:12 PM. It’s filed under My Process-Quilts and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

12 thoughts on “The Year of the Show

  1. This is so interesting and helpful! Thanks!

    • Thank you Donna and Sharon. I am so glad to hear your comments. I really wrote the post for the me of four years ago. Donna, I agree you are aiming too low. Go for it!

  2. Maria, this really was helpful to me. I have been all over the place looking for potential shows and just didn’t know where to look. Also made me start thinking that I am aiming too low because I have never been rejected.

  3. Maria, this really was helpful to me. I have been all over the place looking for potential shows and just didn’t know where to look. Also made me start thinking that I am aiming too low because I have never been rejected. Donna

  4. I’ve very new to the whole art/quilt/fiber world. I might be the “you of four years ago!” 🙂
    So far I’ve submitted to two shows (Sacred Threads and a SAQA show) and been rejected from both. I think I’m probably aiming to high! I am going to focus on creating show-worthy work for a few years, and enter a show at my local art museum which is not even juried, so I can’t get rejected!

    • Sharon-

      I think you just have to do what makes sense comfort wise for you. Early on, I entered a lot of quilt shows. My first acceptance was at Denver National a Mancuso Show and my first award was at the Albuequerque Fiber Fiesta. Those accetpances give me the confidence try other shows. I think there is something very liberating about just putting yourself out there. It is funny you mention not getting rejected by your local show. In the beginning, I only entered juried shows. My reasoning was that if I got accepted the work must be good enough to show. And if I got rejected the juror’s were actually doing me a favor by preventing me from showing poor work! I know that is not true now. And being in a local is the best because you get to see the work hung. I love that feeling.

      • Sharon Robinson on said:

        Thanks Maria – I know what you mean about wanting to know you are good enough – but I imagine this show will be somewhat amateurish. It is only open to members of the museum, though, so the must have some artistic sense…

      • Sharon- One of my favorite shows ever was the Surface Design Members show here in Anchorage. The only requirement was that you were a member. I had four pieces in the show and all my friends came and it was like this light bulb moment for them. I could see it in their eyes–they all realized I wasn’t make bed quilts anymore. Being in that show communicated that way better than I ever could have.

      • Such a good point! If I hear “Oh, my grandma made quilts” one more time I’ll scream!!

  5. Pingback: More Talk about Shows | Maria Shell

  6. Maria, this post is indeed very interesting. And I want you to know that I, too, was accepted in one of the Fine Art shows you were in, the Bedminster, NJ show (not far from where I live!) I recognized your work immediately when I started reading your post. Your beautiful ‘Boulevard’ piece was well placed in the show, the first piece viewers saw walking up a short flight of stairs. And I was so happy to see another art quilt in the show. Actually there were others that could be considered ‘art quilts’ but I don’t the the artists who made them would call them that, not coming from the same background we do, they definitely worked ‘outside the box’. Anyway, you’ve inspired me to get my game on and given me a few good links as well. Thanks!

    Elena Stokes

    • Thank you Elena for stopping by. I’m glad to hear that there are other artist who use the quilt as their medium who are venturing into fine art shows. Our work stands out. I find viewers like it and are intrigued.

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