Stock disclaimer: I did a search to see if this topic had been addressed directly- apologies if I missed something.
So- I'm wading through the many juried art show opportunities online. I'm trying to decide on some criteria for allocating my money and energies when considering applying to these. (Note- by 'show', I'm referring to juried opportunities to display work online or in a gallery setting, as opposed to craft or art fairs where you have a booth).
My goal is basically to enhance my exposure as a ceramic artist, and also to diversify CV that is heavy on wildlife biology and less heavy on formal accomplishments in ceramics. It seems pretty clear, however, that at least some of the 'contests' advertised online border on scams, while others may be extreme long shots for people working in wheel-based ceramics. Between the $35 fees (at minimum) and the energy invested, I could see this being a huge time and money sink.
First- I'm curious as to how many working potters put significant time/energy into applying to any shows or contests. Have any of you decided that this simply isn't a good investment of time or money?
So- I'm curious as to what people use as criteria in deciding what to apply to. For example (just a few off the top of my head)...
I may post a few examples of shows I'm considering applying to... but I'll start here for now...
- Only applying to shows that have a ceramics theme?
- Only applying to shows that seem directly focused on some dimension of your personal style?
- Only applying to shows that have a physical gallery presence (or the converse)?
- Only applying to regional shows?
- Only applying to shows that encompass work you've already made (vs. targeting work to specific shows)?
-Applying to shows with a ceramic theme can be good if your work caters to that sort of audience--it really depends.
-Applying to shows that are focused on elements of your work is always a good idea, but you really never know--sometimes paying attention to who the juror(s) is (are) is more helpful--usually its a crapshoot either way.
-I've never applied to "virtual" shows/galleries, and on its face it doesn't seem like it would be worth it, but I'd love to hear someone who can show me evidence otherwise.
-Applying to regional shows can be helpful if the work is heavy or unwieldy to ship--freight bills can be killer.
I would say that the number one consideration you should have is to make sure that you have really GOOD images. At big shows, the juror(s) will be looking through hundreds of images, and if yours gives the immediate impression of being unprofessional, they probably won't give it a second look. There is a thread that I and others posted some good information on getting quality images here
I would say that the caveat for me is that I am not a "working potter". I divide my time as a technician for a university, and my studio... I am interested in advancing myself within the academic field of ceramics, and as such having an exhibition record is really mandatory. If you are simply interested in selling pots, there are many working potters on here who can undoubtedly address your question from their point of view better than I.
In the end, it is
a huge time and money sink--the question you have to ask is the one you are driving at with your ancillary questions--is it worth it to YOU, and does it help you achieve what you want to achieve?