How to be a Professional Artist
After you have had some success showing your art work in local “open” art exhibitions, you will want to begin to seek out some “juried” exhibitions.
The “open” show allows all entries to be displayed in the show.
This is an amateur type of show.
There are no selections and all works are displayed in this show. It is a nice place to begin if you want to start getting your work out in front of the public. I suggest you do this for a year or two to get started and get a feel for showing your work to the public.
The “juried” show will be selective and a “juror” will choose some works, and reject some works for the show.
This is a step forward for you, to begin to be selected for exhibitions. At this point, you have decided to become more professional about showing your art work and you will no longer be looking for the “open” art shows.
Here are some types of Juried Exhibitions for you to consider:
1.) Regional Juried Exhibition –
This show usually limits the scope of entries to a radius around where the show will be presented. It may be a “Tri-State” show, or a show that sets the distance that an artist may live from the exhibition site. Typically, that will be anywhere from 50 to 150 miles away.
Art works will be selected from artists who live within a tri-state area if it is a “Tri-State” show, or within the mileage described for entries.All other artists who live outside the selected area cannot enter this show.
Typically the “Juried Exhibition” is selected by one juror. It will be a successful artist who is well-known nationally or regionally. The show will be sponsored by a museum or art center. The exhibition will be held at that site and only works of art that have been pre-selected by the “juror” will be on display in that show.
2.) National Juried Exhibition –
Artists will be selected by a nationally known juror for this exhibition. It is usually held in a museum or gallery or art center. Since the range from which the entries may come is quite wide – the entire nation – you can imagine that the chances of getting into a National Juried Exhibition are not as good as a regional show would be. The competition will be strong for a place in this exhibition.
One nice thing about such a show is that your work is viewed alongside fellow artists rom across the entire country. This gives you an idea of what is going on with other artists nationally. You can see how your work stacks up next to the others. You can also attend the opening reception for the show, and meet the other artists who are in that same show.
3.) Juried Exhibition sponsored by art organizations – If you are a member of an artist’s organization,
you will most likely have the opportunity to be involved in an annual exhibition. They are always “juried” exhibitions. That means, everyone in the group can enter a specified amount of art works. Typically, you can enter anywhere from 1 to 4 works.
There will be a “juror” for this show, too. The juror will come from out of the area and will be someone who is notable in the art world. It can be a working artist or an arts professional such as a professor of Fine Arts at a university, or the director of an art museum or gallery.
This kind of a show is exciting because your work is put up for the jury process against your fellow artists in the arts organization that you all belong to. This is a chance to put your work up with your peers.
4.) International Juried Exhibition –
Here, your work is in competition with art works from many different countries.
This show can be expensive for you if you are selected. You will have to ship the work to the country where the show will be held. You’ll be paying shipping to and from that show. You will have to find out what the rules are for shipping the work and it can be complicated but you have to do that. You have to do your research to find out exactly how you can ship the work.
Some Juried Exhibitions require that you send your work to an art handler instead of sending it directly to the museum or gallery where it will be in a show. The art handler receives your work, unpacks it, and delivers it to the show site on a specified day. This is often the case when doing shows in New York City or other large metropolitan areas. You have to pay a fee to the art handler for this service. And, it usually has to be the art handler specified by the art gallery or museum. You cannot choose another one, there is only one permitted to do this usually.
Sometimes, when doing an exhibition in another country, the museum will pay for shipping of your work, both ways. I have been fortunate to be in a couple of shows in Japan and New Guinea and all shipping costs were covered to the artists who were in the show.
Everything you need to know about how to enter a show is printed on a “prospectus.”
What is the prospectus?
It is a flier on which all the rules are outlined for you. It will tell you how many works you can enter, where and when you can enter them, and the cost to enter. When you learn about a show, you may contact the gallery or museum and ask for a prospectus. It can be mailed to you, or you can often get it via e-mail.
This gives you a brief look at some aspects of putting your work in a juried exhibition. By now, you are probably wondering what the costs involved may be. I will give you a brief overview of that here:
Jury or Entry Fee:
This is the fee charged for you to enter the show. You will enter the show by taking your work to the museum for the juror to look at directly. Or, you will enter slides of your work, or a CD with pictures of your work. You pay this fee and even if you are NOT juried into the show it is not refunded. This fee is your first expense when entering a juried show. All juried shows that I am aware of have a Jury or Entry Fee.
If the show is too far away for you to drive to it, then you will want to ship your work there. You will pay to ship the work to and from the show.
I hope this gives you an insight into how you might want to proceed to become more professional about where your work is being viewed.
Your opportunities for selling your work at a juried show are fairly good. It is much better if your work is shown in a well-known gallery or museum because that is where collectors will come to buy art. The collector respects the gallery and the juror and knows that the work has been selected from many other entries just to be in this show.
Another exciting thing about a juried show is that there is always prize money awarded to a selected few winners from the show.
The prize winners are always recognized in the show’s catalogue and they are given their awards publically at the Opening Reception for the show.
The winning works are usually depicted in the show catalogue, too.
I hope this has inspired YOU to think about what YOU might do with your work.
What is YOUR NEXT STEP?
Are you ready to try to get into a Juried Exhibition? I hope you do. Go ahead and get your prospectus, read it over, and follow the directions – you are off on a new phase of your career.