Monday, December 8, 2008

Art Blog: Juried Art Exhibitions

I love entering juried shows. I really do. However, lately I have been noticing some things that bother me. The first and most obvious is the entry fees are getting out of hand. It can be very costly. It is like playing the lottery. You never know if you will get something for the money you lay down. There is a show here in St. Petersburg in which the entry fee is $50. OK. Whatever. There are many shows like that. However, the show is only going to be up for a week! Hmmmmmmmmmmm. The thing that irks me is that I LOVE this gallery. I have wanted to show there since it opened. So what is a girl to do? I figure it is just fine to enter even at that price. My reasoning is that it is local. If it were in another state, I would have to ship work at a $$$. Therefore, this fee is acceptable(?)

The second thing that freaks me out about juried exhibitions are those THEMES. Themes piss me off sometimes. I understand why the gallerists develops the idea and requests work that fits under this one thematic umbrella. The thing that bothers me most is by the time you hear about the show, download the prospectus, and think about entering, either you don’t have work that really fits the theme OR you don’t have time to make new work to fit the theme.

The irony is I like the idea of themes. I like reading a prospectus and looking at the theme as a challenge. It gives me an assignment. You know what I mean. It is like when you were in school and the English teacher says “OK class, I want everyone to write a story about the relative you hate the most.” Just the request to do the task makes your mind wander. The same thing happens to me when I read a juried show prospectus. After reading, my mind drifts into unknown territory. Some ideas fall flat. Some rise to the occasion. Some generate ideas for work for years to come.

Recently, I got involved in the ART HOUSE projects. This isn’t really a juried show. Well, they are going to pick the best 1000 entries to put into a book, but the exhibition is for those who just want to join in the fun. This coop sets up projects for artists to become involved. There is a small, reasonable fee to participate. I love these project ideas because they make my mind run in overdrive. It reminds me of the true reason we become artists. It is as if there is someone in the background yelling “Be Creative! Try to create something about this!” If you haven’t already, you should go to the link for Art House Coop (linked photo is below). It is really cool. I am working on “The 10,000” project right now. I love what I am doing with it. Check this place out!

Click the pic to go to Art House and see some of their current projects.

What is your take on juried shows? Tell me!


namastenancy said...

I hate the everlasting fees and that's just the tip of the iceberg. When you add up the cost of supplies, your time, shipping, insurance, framing, slides or CD's..the list is endless. I realize that galleries have to recoup their expenses but I also dislike the fact that the whole art business is resting on the shoulders of the artist - who often makes the least amount of money in the whole lot. I've also not have very good luck in entering juried shows - even when I have work that fits the "theme," somehow it's never chosen. So I guess you could put this down to sour grapes. Still, I console myself with the thought that it's all tax deductible and keep on hoping that one of these days, I'll get chosen for a juried show that actually puts me on the map as an artist that's up and coming.

Kim Hambric said...

I decided this past year (or almost past year) to take a year off from entering juried shows. I can't say I've furthered my art career this year, but I have been in a better mood. I may continue my hiatus. I believe there may be one or two shows I may consider.

I too love the theme ideas & never seem to be able to put anything together in time. Several years ago I made couple of attempts to work according to a theme. I did not get into those shows. I'm not even sure now which pieces I entered and what the themes were. If I have something that I can apply to a theme, maybe then I will consider it. I love those fresh ideas, though.

My new philosophy for the new year will be, if it appeals, enter it. If not, don't feel guilty about immediately chucking the prospectus in the garbage. If it all looks good, then I will pay the money and get on with it.

As far as that one with the one week show, well, if the gallery is the place you want your art to be, then do it. If not, then save your money and apply it to supplies or marketing.

Sheree Rensel said...

Yes! When you ADD UP everything, the cost of making and getting your art out there can be mind boggling. I too realize the galleries have to make some bucks. However, I agree with you. I think the artists get the short end all too often. The ONLY reason I do juried shows is because I am not ready to be a regular in a gallery again. I haven't shaken that icky feeling yet. Until I do, I will do juried shows just so my work can be seen. Also since I am a bit of a hermit, I take joy in the fact that my art is well traveled even though I am not. LOL

Sheree Rensel said...

I TOTALLY understand what you are saying. In fact, I took the past year or so off sending my work out because I just needed to regroup. I was rejected a number of times last year and I just got fed up. I don't really believe it was my work that was rejected. I think the THEME thing got me axed. Who knows. Who cares.

I do know I am right there with you. I am looking at shows again, but with a very specific eye. If I like the idea and have work, I will enter. If it is just too weird, I won't.
As far as the one week show is concerned, this is their last chance. I entered their show last year and got rejected. However, it was a very bizarre and obscure theme. This year, it is just a juried show with no theme. If I get in, great. If not, I am moving on to other things. I don't want to be in that gallery enough to endure a strike three!!! LOL