One of the reasons Pat Fiorello entered competitions was to gain her Signature Membership in the Georgia Watercolor Society at their National Exhibition in April 2008. She is pictured here with show judge Mel Stabin.
In the recent A.C.T. TeleClass "The Ins & Outs of Juried Shows" Pat shared her experience as both entrant and juror in more than 60 shows over 5 years.
Here are three good reasons to think about entering juried competitions as a means to an end.
- Enter prestigious events to build your credibility. "Prestigious" means a few are chosen where many apply. If you aspire to be among the elite, you had better get used to being part of the masses first. Be prepared to enter more than once. Make your entry impeccable. You may not win, but your work and qualifications will have been seen by at least 2 decision-makers who might not otherwise have had the chance. If possible, ask for feedback, so that you can learn from the experience.
- Enter competitive exhibitions to keep your professional portfolio up to date.
Luck appears when preparation meets opportunity. Get into the habit of updating your professional portfolio whenever you have something to add, so that you are always ready for any "Call to Artists." Having a deadline is sometimes the push you need to get those photos done, frames ordered and resume updated.
- Enter juried shows to keep your name and your work in front of collectors, publishers and arts representatives.
Exposure = Success in any economy. Retail opportunities exist either in your chosen geographic market area or online. Both, if you are diligent about getting our artwork out there. Choose shows and sites that are heavily promoted and have a track record of good sales. For land-based opportunities, find locales that fit with your travel budget and preferences. Online shows demand a close look at the fine print, to make sure the opportunity is genuine, and not just a promotional strategy that benefits only the sponsoring site.
You must be present to win. But, as you can see from these three reasons, winning isn't the only benefit of entering competitions. Awards are an occasional happy outcome determined by people and rules out of your control. So, it's wise to put your focus on what you are "the boss of" - making and marketing your best work in a way that is uniquely yours.
If you do, chances are, your "winnings" will grow in more ways than you can imagine.