More Talk about Shows

Here is a a recap of yesterday’s blog. In 2012 “The Year of the Show”, I  entered 42 assorted shows and was accepted 24 times and rejected 18. Considering that a good show usually has an acceptance rate of less than 20 percent, I think I am doing alright. Or another way to look at it is, I made it into the top 20 % , 58% of the time. How’s that for some number crunching?

So after tallying all the numbers for all the shows in 2012, I thought I would go back and do the numbers for 2010 and 2011. I was hoping all this data analysis would tell me something about myself and my work.

Here is the break down for those years.

For 2010 I was accepted 7 times (8 pieces) and rejected 11 times. In 2011, I was accepted 13 times (21 pieces) and rejected 11 times. In 2012, I was accepted 24 times (30 pieces) and rejected 18 times.

My acceptance rate for 2010 was about 45%, My acceptance rate for 2011 and 2012 was almost 60%. I think the higher acceptance rate does mean my work has gotten better, but these numbers don’t really don’t tell me anything else about how good my art is. Some the acceptances I received last year were from the very best shows out there. And so were some of my rejections. That’s why I continue to believe that getting into shows is a crap shoot. It helps if you make amazing art, but that does not guarantee anything. If the juror hates wild colors and abstract work–I’m out.

What else? Well, according to these numbers, my work is not a good fit for Fine Craft Shows. My odds are best for Fine Art and Fiber Shows. Art Quilt Show acceptance rates lag slightly behind.

For a visual break in this rather long winded post about juried shows–here are some photos of me and my work at some local shows. Because I live way north, I rarely get to see the shows my work has been juried into.

Entering shows takes time and energy. You must research the show, select the work, have it properly photographed, do the paper work, and then submit your application.

If you get in, then you’ve got a whole slew of new things to do–you must make sure your piece has the right hanging sleeve and label. Chances are you will need to rewrite your artist statement and fill out a contract with the show. Finally, you must make sure it is properly shipped with the right return shipping information included.

Whew. I have a serious love hate relationship with this process.

Then why do it?

If you’ve reached the pinnacle of the art world and have solo shows and group invitations waiting on your doorstep, this information isn’t for you.

But if you are like me and think you want to actually have a career as an artist. Then you gotta enter a juried show here and there.

Here are the reasons why I think artists should enter national juried shows.

  1. Exposure–Very few people see your work if it just sits in your studio.
  2. Resume–According to what I’ve read about artist’s resumes, you need to have six lines every year demonstrating that your work is being seen nationally. It’s hard to get those lines, if you don’t enter shows.
  3. Street Cred- If I say such and such piece is going to New Jersey to be displayed at the Center for Contemporary Art, people, for some reason, are much more interested in my work.
  4. Motivation- If you make entering a particular show a goal, you are much more likely to be in your studio creating work.
  5. Stamina- Entering these shows is part of the long game. You set the goal of entering shows, you make the work, and eventually you get into shows. Now you’ve got a of body work, and you are ready for bigger things. If I had not been entering juried national shows for the last four years, I would never have been ready for the Bellevue Arts Museum or the Surface Design Association show.
  6. Thick Skin- every artist needs this. And getting rejected half the time is a clear path towards acquiring a tough exterior.
  7. Confidence- Getting accepted half the time validates your work and your sense of well being.

2013 is not going to be another “Year of the Show”. I am going to try and be more selective this year. This means my acceptance rate will probably take another nose dive.

Oh well. It’s a good thing I like to gamble.

If you find these sort of posts interesting you might want to read further.

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.

The Year of the Show –this is the year I entered every show I could. Exhausting!

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


This entry was published on April 23, 2013 at 10:56 AM. It’s filed under My Process-Quilts and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

7 thoughts on “More Talk about Shows

  1. Really good points on the value of juried shows. For point #4 – nothing like a deadline to keep us in the studio!

  2. Great post, Maria. As one who has been entering juried exhibitions regularly the past year and a half or more, I can relate to almost everything you shared. I’m not good with deadlines, though. I prefer to just do the work, and if finished work is appropriate for a particular venue — great. If not . . . NEXT!

    • Thank you Sandy-

      I was hoping that if I wrote these posts others would see that no one has a perfect track record. I should try your approach to deadlines. I think my life would be a lot smoother if I did.

  3. Great postings and beautiful work. Thanks for sharing your experiences! I’ve pondered many of these issues as I enter shows, but you gave a much clearer overview of the whole process.

  4. Pingback: The Year of the Show | Maria Shell

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