Artist Entrepreneur: J for Juried Shows— The Artist’s Alphabet Guide to Writing About Your Art by Aletta de Wal

Welcome back to Aletta de Wal. This month we’re presenting on the letter J for Juried Shows. Yep, it’s out of order because I accidentally missed in the hub bub of the spring, where it should have appeared between I for Installation and K for Kickstarter. Enjoy!



Artists often enter juried shows because:

  • “It’s here in town, so I may as well see what happens.”
  • “It’s on-line so it won’t cost me shipping and insurance.”
  • “It will give me lots of exposure.”

Fair enough but I hate to see artists waste time, money or energy for any reason so first:

Examine your reasons. Do you want feedback on your work, reputation through winning awards, or do you want to sell your work? The answer will help you decide which shows are right for you.  See where a juried show fits into your goals. If you don’t yet have goals, or are just beginning to show your art, you may not be ready to enter juried shows, but you can begin to research them so that would be your goal for now.

Enter only legitimate competitions. Check the sponsors’ homepage or read the fine print of the competition rules. Send an email to past winners to ask about their experience with the host organization and results from winning the competition.

Read the instructions carefully. If you uncertain about meeting the requirements, ask before you submit. Aside from getting accurate information, you will get one step closer to a real person involved in the jury process. The contest is your audience so you will have to follow their rules instead of your whims. If you find yourself arguing with the protocols, find another show.

Now you are ready to do the writing involved in your entry:

  • Follow instructions to the letter. You make the jury’s job easier when you respect their system.
  • Assemble your artist statement, bio, resume and make any necessary updates, revisions or modifications to suit the juried show requirements or theme.
  • Announce your entry on your web site, blog, and on social media to build your reputation. If you win, post the jurors’ comments along with an image of the award winning entry.
  • If you don’t win, write to ask for feedback. You won’t always get a reply, but it’s worth a try. Ask these questions:
    • What were the key characteristics of the winning entries?
    • How was my submission different from the winning entries?
    • What would you suggest I change to meet the competition you used?
  • Whether or not you win, write a thank you note. Remember that many jurors are volunteers and have given many hours to do the job of reviewing all the submissions and making selections.

What have you learned about entering juried shows that you can share with other visual artists?


Aletta de Wal, Artist Career Training

Aletta de Wal inspires fine artists to make a better living making art in any economy.

Aletta works with part-time, emerging and full-time visual artists who are serious about a career in fine arts. Aletta makes make art marketing easier and the business of art simpler.

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