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Competive Juried Shows

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Can be a quick way to burn through a lot of money on entry fees. If your work leans toward the "art" end of the spectrum, juried shows are a way to gain exposure and, as Marcia noted, build your resume. Before entering, check the bios/work of the jury/juror . . . and the history/background of the event. Maybe check with prior year entrants. Then make an informed decision on whether or not your work would stand out enough to make the cut. Personally, I avoid them . . . it is not what I'm looking for in my work.

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Guest JBaymore

Marcia and Bruce hit it.  WHY would you want to do them?  Aside from the "bragging rights" ;) . They can be an important portion of a solid marketing and business plan.  Or they can be a distraction from what you should be doing.  Depends on what you are making, and who your market is.


If you are going for the more "high end" market........ doing some of them for a good while is pretty much a "must".  If you are in or going into academia... it is a part of the evil "publish or perish" deal.


Sometimes getting a piece into the "right show" can be the event that 'opens the door' to a lot of other opportunities.


Most competitions in the USA are juried from slides.  Which is actually a problem.  Because it becomes "all about the photos".  The pieces have to POP in a purely visual environment.... when the juror is looking at the images for only a few seconds.  Hundreds and hundreds of entries.... for only a few pedestals and wall space.  Can be very competitive.  Some great subtle work will tend not to make the cut... and some mediocre work that photographs well will make the cut.  If you are going this route......  you either need a pro taking the photos... or you need to learn to take great images yourself.


You can waste a lot of money if your work is not at a competitive level with the level of the typical entrants to the competition.  This requires some seriously objective self-critique.  Match the "caliber" of the show that you enter to the "caliber" of your current work... to help assure some success and "payback" from your entry fees.


There is no "one size fits all" answer to this one.





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