Those in charge of juried art shows have made it stupid easy for you to enter.
Step 1: Upload images.
Step 2: Complete form.
Step 3: Enter credit card and click the submit button.
The wise artist will pause before that last step and ask these questions.
- Does this show contribute to my goals?
- What do I want to accomplish by being in this exhibition?
- Aside from the nominal entry fee, what are the other costs that are involved if my work is selected?
There are many other things to consider, but these are at the top of the list. And it's the final bullet point that I want to address.
The Costs of a Juried Art Show
You won't know if a show is worth your financial investment until you do the math.
Back in 2012, an artist sent me an email about a painting she was sending to a juried art exhibition that would sell for $1200.
She outlined the fees involved as follows, which appear to be for 2 shows.
Shipping to both shows $300
Entry fees $70
Hanging fees $70
Subtotal = $890
If the work sold, she would have a $310 profit. ($1200 – $890)
But, the venue would take a 35% commission, which would be $420, and mean that she would be $110 in the hole. ($420-310)
None of this math includes the costs of material, labor, office time, or emotional energy. So why would she participate?
Why Enter Juried Art Exhibitions
Do enter juried shows for experience. If you pay close attention, you will learn something from every exhibition you enter.
Do enter juried shows to network with other artists and organizers. You never know who you'll meet.
Do enter juried shows if they produce nice catalogs and have a prestigious track record.
Don't entered juried shows (especially ones across the country) in hopes of making money.
Get smart about money! It's okay to invest money in experience and exposure as long as you know what you're doing and understand the financial implications.
I teach my students in the Art Career Success System to do the numbers when they want to be professional about their art business. All of the details are here, and we have a Financial Lab work session coming up on June 26. I hope you'll join us and focus on business growth and smart decisions.
This post was originally published on January 7, 2013, and has been updated with original comments intact.