Suggestions For Entering Juried Shows
by Gary John Gresl
Having just assisted in preparing and organizing materials from
over 1000 artists for the exhibits Wisconsin Artists Biennial
2001, 03, 05 and 07, I humbly offer some advice to those of you
who might be interested.
First, I do not here present advice about the quality of your
work, the medium, the subject matter, etc. You, the creator,
must decide completely by yourself what your work is meant to
express and how you express it. And, when you chose the art objects
to enter into any juried show, you should chose what you think
is the best work available. If the exhibit is important enough
to enter, it is important to offer your finest to the jurors.
Now...here are some observations and practical advice.
- No matter if the jurying is thru presenting the actual work,
or thru a slide selection process, READ DIRECTIONS CAREFULLY!
(Duhh!) If you have dyslexia, vision problems, or are in doubt,
have someone else review the directions and check over your presentation
materials for accuracy.
- If there is a prospectus (the printed material usually providing
the directions) with application forms and other relevant information,
DO A CHECK LIST, and check off each part, each requirement, each
element to be included.
IF BY SLIDES OR DIGITAL:
- How many images are required and permitted?
- Is there more than one image with identical views asked for? This can be the case when there are multiple jurors reviewing images and the slides or CD's must be mailed to them.
- How many different views of the same object are permitted? Usually one view is allowed of 2D work, and often 2 views of
- Are the actual slides thin enough to fit a carousel projector
- Have you applied labels or tape that will gum up a heated
and possibly thicken the width of the slide? Avoid labels. Write
directly on the slide with permanent thin marker when possible.
When using editing tape to crop images, apply it sparingly, in
layer, and make sure it is tightly laid down. Also, because CD's
are relatively inexpensive, don't hesitate to write the information
necessary directly on them with permanent marker. Don't use
tape or labels unless asked for or absolutely necessary.
- Is your image marked with required information, e.g., title,
medium, artist name, orientation? While your slides and disks
should have some protection when being mailed, don’t over
in difficult to remove devices. Usually the plastic slide pages
purchased at photographic supply shops will suffice, and these
can be cut down to appropriate smaller size. Padded small
envelopes can be used for mailing disks.
- Avoid taping your slides directly down to any surface. The
transparent or masking tape can tear cardboard slide surfaces
and remain on the slide causing problems in handling and viewing.
QUALITY OF PHOTOGRAPHY IN SLIDES AND DIGITAL:
- Does the image reproduce the art to best advantage?
- Is the color of the image altered due to improper lighting
software technique? Is there any tinting due to the wrong film
under incandescent or florescent bulbs? Reflections on glass
surfaces? Too dim? Shadows?
- Don’t include in the photo any extraneous materials
E.G. no frames unless important to the entire expression; no
or tags; no disturbing backgrounds (always photograph against
nonobtrusive and neutral surface); no hands holding paintings;
leaning against trees; photograph direct on whenever possible.
If multiple views are permitted, use this opportunity to provide
The strongest views, but don’t confuse the observer with
If you are tentative about your own ability to photograph the
to its best advantage, persuade a friend or hire an experienced
photographer. If you are willing to invest time and money in
production of your art, you should be willing to invest the same
for its best presentation and promotion.
- Over the past few years many, if not most, exhibits juried
images have been going entirely digital, either with entry by
CD's or DVD's, and some by emailed digital images. This has
proven to be an easier method for both the artist and host once
the artist has learned the procedures. It is not so difficult.
necessary there are photographers, fellow artists, family
members who can assist.
READ ALL DIRECTIONS CAREFULLY. (Duhh! Again.)
- Look at the deadlines for entry. This is crucial.
- Look at number of entries allowed.
- Fill out all labels, blanks, return materials.
- Is there an SASE required? (Self addressed and stamped
envelope, and do you have the proper amount of postage affixed?
- Have you met the size, weight and any framing restrictions?
- Keep a copy of what you have sent, or copy the material down
where you can easily find it. You may need to know addresses,
drop off and pick up dates, phone numbers, directions, etc.
- Is payment required? Have you included a check in the correct
amount? Also note, even if your work is not included in the show,
the entry fees are almost always “not” refundable. Your fee is going to go toward production of the
exhibit, thereby assisting others.
- Are there special instructions that must be met due to the
handling, moving and display of the items?
- Must you include packing materials or other photographs of
work for catalog or promotional purposes?
- Don’t include in your entries any extra materials not asked
This material will not help in any way.
- If you have any questions about the exhibit, the entry materials,
procedures, etc., contact the exhibit hair/coordinator, or exhibit
venue before sending in your entry forms.
When entering the actual work to a juried venue, much of
information will apply, but there are some other considerations
Make sure you have the time and location down pat. If
necessary, get directions before you attempt to deliver the work.
- Is the work protected sufficiently, and is the protection
removed after delivery? Don’t burden the personnel with
unnecessary packing material.
- Will you be required to move or install any work requiring
- Make sure you receive information about retrieving work that
is not to be included, as well as the dates and times to pick
work at the end of the exhibition.
- The persons attending to the incoming work are usually not
the same persons that will be judging the work, but they are
there to assist you and the hosting venue. They may be under
of their own on a busy day, so be cognizant of their needs to
make the process go as smoothly as possible.
- If you must return to the site to pick up work that is juried
remember that we all suffer this seeming indignity, and no good
will come of showing anger or emotions. In all likelihood, the
persons assisting in the return of rejected works feel badly
have sympathy, and otherwise have had no say in the selection
Being juried out of shows is commonplace. The same works
might get into one show and be eliminated from another. Purpose
and tenacity, strength of belief and faith in your work are important
characteristics. If no success is found entering juried exhibits,
you must find some other way to get the work out to the public.
There are other ways to gain exposure and success.
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