So, you’re taking the leap to get your art out there – congratulations! You’re already a huge step ahead of everyone hoarding their art in their closet. Submitting your work to exhibitions is a gratifying experience, but it can be nerve-wracking or frustrating if you are confused about the steps to take. Don’t quit before you even start – follow the tips below and any instructions given in the call for work, and you’ll be successful!
Select Your Artwork
Put some time into choosing the work you want to submit to the exhibition. If the show has a theme, make sure to stay within the theme guidelines! For most exhibition opportunities, you will be allowed to submit anywhere from three to five artworks. You could submit all works from the same series, or switch it up and submit separate bodies of work. Keep in mind though, for most juried exhibitions the juror will likely only select one or two works from an artist they like – so send in your best.
Also, do your research! You’ll have better luck submitting to shows juried by art professionals that are interested in the style of work you make. Checking out a show’s juror beforehand can save you the heartache of rejection from a bad match.
Prepare Your Submission Files
These days, nearly all exhibition applications are done online, either through a form or by email. This means that you will not be able to present your physical artwork to the juror, so you need excellent photos of your work to submit. If you are submitting photographic work, you’ve got a leg up – chances are, you can just send in your image file that you would print. If you are submitting other 2-D or 3-D artwork, you’ll need to take some good pictures of your work. If you’re not confident in your photo skills, consider having it professionally done! The images should be evenly-lit, with neutral color balance, and should clearly represent your art as it will be displayed.
Make sure to follow the gallery’s instructions for image size and resolution; ignoring these details can end in your file being too small to view, too large to send electronically, or worse – automatically eliminated!
Follow Instructions for Submission
All calls for work will have instructions on how to make your submission. At Art Intersection, we will have you fill out an online form that includes your contact information, artist info like your bio or statement, and then details about each piece you’re submitting (typically title, edition, medium, and year, as well as a photo of your art). Be sure to follow all formatting instructions very carefully! If you are missing information or don’t present it in the way the gallery has asked, this could lead to trouble with your submission or even disqualification.
Many artists find it helpful to keep a professional dossier on file – a digital folder that includes commonly requested information about you and your work that you can copy and paste into your submission form. This way, the hard work is done! You won’t have to spend the time constructing an artist bio for every show you apply to.
Double-Check Your Submission for Mistakes
Before clicking “Submit”, take the time to read over your submission in full and correct any errors. You’ll be glad you did!
Pay the Submission Fee
Many calls for work are accompanied by a submission fee, usually ranging between $15 and $50. Paying the fee in no way guarantees that your work will be accepted – these fees are used by the gallery to pay for the exhibition! Facility rental, promotional materials, and qualified staff all cost money, and if your work gets accepted, you want the gallery to put effort into making your art look nice. Your submission fees help us keep the lights on and get your art on the walls.
Once you finish your submission, most galleries will notify you that your work was received. At Art Intersection, if your form has been submitted correctly you will automatically receive a copy of what you submitted sent to the email address you provided. If you haven’t received a notification from the gallery you’re submitting to within one business day, it may be a good idea to contact them and double-check that you made it through.
And then you’re done! As with anything, it’s best not to wait until the very last minute to complete a submission – hiccups like an incorrect file size or an artist statement that you haven’t written yet can cause unnecessary stress if you don’t work on your submission well before the deadline.
Now that you’re prepared, get that artwork out there! Check out our Calls for Work page for a place to start.