What is a juried art show?
Well, it's kind of like a beauty pageant except the painting is the contestant, the jurors are the judges and the definition of beauty is only known to them. That sounds a bit strange to people outside of the art world and actually, it's pretty strange to me too when I think about it. Simply put, a juried art show is a selection of work chosen on their merit by whatever definition the jurors choose which are then presented in a group curation for the viewing public.
Why do artists enter juried art shows?
Here's the thing about being an artist - it's solitary work. Entering a juried show is a way to present your work to experts in the art field and to have them qualify your work. It's great to have friends and family tell you that they love your art but is it actually good and interesting work? Does it have technical skill? Is it collectible? I suppose being accepted into a juried art show is a stamp of approval. After all, the jurors are highly qualified art experts.
Do you enter juried shows?
I do enter juried shows. I didn't go to art school and am mostly self taught so a juried art show is a way for me to add a qualification to my resume. Another reason I like to enter shows is to see if my new work is on the right path. Since you are usually limited to entering work produced in the last two years I find it helpful to gauge my progress as an artist.
How do you deal with rejection?
This one was hard at first. For me, my art has a story and meaning behind it so putting it out there to be rejected was difficult. I remember the first juried show I entered (it was an abstract piece) and I was rejected, rightfully so in retrospect. But a kindness was given to me by the juror. She had written a note and attached it to the back of the piece with a critique and note for improvement. That is extraordinary! Regardless of whether you are accepted or rejected you usually never know why. I took that note to mean I had potential and instead of giving up I kept going. That encouraging note meant the world to me.
Nowadays, I am choosier in what I enter. I try to enter at least one show a year to keep humble (haha) and I look to see who the jurors are and what is their subject of expertise. It doesn't hurt my feelings anymore to be rejected, it's just another part of the job.
Is it worth it?
In my opinion, yes. Not only is it humbling to be rejected it feels pretty darn good to be accepted. As an artist you need both, you paint a lot of crap paintings to be able to paint the good ones and because you are so close to the art it can be difficult to judge for yourself what is what. Also, it raises your credibility and collectability. Your collectors can be assured that their art has value beyond what it meant to them on a personal level. I also really like to have my work shown in public spaces and to chat with people and to meet the other artists in my area.
Are you in a juried show now?
Nope. This year was really weird with Covid shutting down all events and spaces. I did have two different pieces of my Hiraeth series in two juried art shows last year, The Colborne Art Gallery and The Art Gallery of Northumberland, respectively.
Coming up in January 2021, I will be part of a group art show at the Northumberland Arts Gallery and Shop in Port Hope, Ontario. I'll be telling you all about that soon in a later newsletter and blog. I'm really excited about it and can't wait to share the details!
There you go, I hope that answers some of your questions on juried art shows. If you have more, feel free to drop me an email or a response below.
I will keep you updated on my latest work and perhaps some insight into my creative process.