Juried Shows – Next in the Series

RockAndBush, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Now that you have access to the Call for Entries and know where to get them, I’m going to give you my 3 Big Rules for getting into juried shows.

Carol’s 3 Big Rules for getting into juried shows are:

  1. Fit the theme
  2. Gauge the aesthetic
  3. Follow the rules

Allow me to explain.

Rule #1-Fit the theme. Let’s look at an example. The wonderful Studio 2 Gallery in Austin has a new call for entries on its website. The show is called “Matinee Mania” and here is the intended theme as provided by the gallery:

“Growing up, and even today, which movie did you hold your breath for until you could see the weekend matinee? To enter a world that swept you away and stayed with you so strong you had to watch it over and over (and over)? Did you jump, scream, laugh, cry, grab someone’s hand or cover your eyes? Feature artist, Robert Cook, starts our tribute to the matinee genre with monsters, creatures and icons of horror. Share with us the bits of flicker that have stuck to your brain.”

So, the theme for this show is very clear-it’s going to be all artwork based upon movies-anything with a cinematic flair to it will fit the theme.

Some shows have a more “open” theme and sometimes it’s hard to figure out what the theme is, the meaning is left more as an interpretation to the artist. My general rule of thumb is that, if the theme is open I will submit something I think fits their aesthetic. If the theme is clear, I make sure my work really fits the stated theme.

Look for additional posts on “the rules” to follow and, until then, good luck with your show entries.

Until next time…


  1. mythopolis
    July 15, 2009 / 8:34 pm

    I understand, and yet have no appreciation for judges and their rules. Who is this fucking jury? And who are they to say what flies? I am sorry, because I love you in this cyber-world of course! But,. I don;t believe in these bull shit formulas handed down from above.

  2. Carol
    July 15, 2009 / 9:37 pm

    No worries, Mythos. I totally see where you are coming from. Not everybody has to (or wants to) do these juried shows and, just because the juror said so does not make it "good" or "right."

    But, I'm doing this series for folks who are trying to break into the system and are locked out, lost, or don't know where to start. There are a lot of people like that and I get asked frequently if I could help artists with this, so I thought it best to put on the blog and discuss.

  3. Janice / Dancing with Sunflowers
    July 16, 2009 / 8:17 am

    I agree that just because the juror says so doesn't make something 'good' or 'right', their personal taste has much to do with it all too. The nearest experience I've had of submitting for someone else to pass judgement on was putting together my panel of 10 images following a photography course. I got my feedback, and really didn't agree with some of what the examiner said, and it did make me a bit angry – it was plainly about taste.

    So if you're going to do something like this I think it's important to have belief in yourself, know that what you're submitting is from your heart, give it your best shot, but don't take it personally if they don't choose you. Try to improve, yes, but don't try to be and do what you're not.

    Having said all that, I'm grateful for this little series, Carol. I would like to try to submit something, and I had absolutely no idea how to do it until reading these posts. Haven't looked at the links yet, and don't know if I'll find the courage to submit, but I'm going to give it some thought. And I will definitely do it in the spirit that someone is bringing their own taste to judging whether what I can do is good enough and appropriate. And after all, someone has to choose what to put in every exhibition, unless it's an exhibition just dedicated to one person's work. And let's face it, that's not going to happen for most of us!

    Thanks Carol.

  4. mythopolis
    July 16, 2009 / 10:15 am

    I am sure there is legitimate value in juried shows, but for me, I have seen too much of how the winds of politics, and the hot air of the local social elite can make or break artists.

  5. mythopolis
    July 16, 2009 / 2:33 pm

    By the way, I like that blue tone of the photo…it made me think of watching old cowboy movies for some reason.

  6. Carol
    July 17, 2009 / 3:40 am

    Janice, thanks for your comments on this. I totally agree that it's important for us to believe in our own work. And, yes, you are so ready to send your work off-at least it looks that way to me from looking at your weblog.

    I like to think that there's no "right" or "wrong" but rather what people like, sort of what they lean towards. That's fine too, if they don't like my work, there's somebody out there who will, right? My mother used to say "every pot has its cover" and that's probably true for my artwork as well as for myself.

    @Mythos, I get what you're coming from as well. A lot of these shows are just vehicles for a tight group of people to promote themselves. It's very insular and self-absorbed at times, and the art school mentality can be quite vicious and ugly. I try to take the good I can get from it and just ignore the rest. I guess I'm lucky in that I have a strong group of friends and fellow artists who support me. Nothing like a bunch of outcasts making their own (new) little tribe, right?

    And, yes, funny thing about this place, I do think they filmed some old cowboy films out that way. This rock could, very well indeed, be famous. It was taken near Ghost Ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe, I believe.

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