Contributed by Ruth Reid
With the upcoming juried art exhibition sponsored by the Morant Foundation open to members of Arts Canterbury, it’s a good time to ask ourselves what juried art exhibitions are and why we might want to enter them.
Most artists need to make sales to be able to continue to create their work and that requires marketing. Never before in history has it been so easy to do our own marketing as there are some great avenues to pursue like entering local exhibitions, using social media (think Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest etc) and maintaining our own personal websites. It is also true that never before in history has there been so much information published. It’s not hard to feel a bit lost in the ether world.
Most serious artists who I know, want even more than monetary returns. They strive to make the very best art that they can and they would love recognition for that art by a respected authority. Here is where I believe that juried exhibitions are of such value to artists. So, while I was thinking about it, I decided I’d jot down a few of my thoughts on entering a juried exhibition:
- It makes us seriously consider what our best work is (and why) and perhaps makes us create something specifically for the exhibition
- We have to get over our nerves and be braced to have our work critiqued. We may not agree with the critiquing, but if we keep our minds open, we stand to learn something from a respected juror.
- If our work isn’t accepted into the exhibition, we must try to learn from the experience and build on it for when another opportunity presents itself. It may be some time before we are accepted. Don’t be discouraged from trying again.
- If we happen to know the juror or jurors, it’s better not to try to imagine the type of art which they will like. Be true to your own work. A respected juror will be looking at many different aspects of your art, not just the genre. He/she will even be judging such things as how skilfully you apply your medium, whether it is watercolours, oils, fabrics etc.
- If we are lucky enough to have our work accepted into the exhibition, then our confidence will be boosted. We can feel proud that we were compared to other good artists and this time, we made the grade!
- The actual exhibiting of our work is also special at such an exhibition as it’s likely to be formal with an opening function, speeches and printed programmes.
- With “Acceptance to juried exhibitions” written on our CVs, we will feel we’re in a stronger position to enter national and even international juried exhibitions. What a special position to be in.
- Along with that, we would have extra opportunities to add to our art contacts and expand our marketing opportunities.
- There are some great gallery owners who work hard to sell art. They may well be on the lookout at juried exhibitions to see examples of your best art.
We are indeed very fortunate that we have in our midst, an internationally recognised artist such as Keith Morant who is prepared to organise and meet all the costs of Arts Canterbury’s first juried exhibition. I hope we’ll work hard to produce our best work for entry.
For those who still wonder if entering is for you, I hope you’ll make the time to visit the exhibition so that you can learn and be ready for when the time is right for you.
Read more from Ruth Reid at her website, www.ruthreidart.com.