Submitting to open calls or portfolio reviews is one of the most effective ways for artists to advance their careers. These opportunities provide artists a chance to present their work to curators, and get a foot in the door at galleries and museums that don’t accept unsolicited submissions.
With so many artists vying for attention, however, it can be difficult to make your submission stand out from the rest. Here are a few tips to help you put your best foot forward.
Pay Attention to Your Audience: Each organization is different, so make sure you understand who will be reviewing your submission. What type of artwork do they usually select? By knowing the organization and jury, you can better tailor your submission to meet their requirements.
Know What Others Have Done: First, you should review past exhibitions held by the venue you are applying to. This research will give you an idea of what the organization is looking for in a successful applicant.
Think About the Layout of an Exhibition: How will your work be displayed if you are selected? Will it be hung on a wall, placed on a pedestal or installed in a specific space? Keep this in mind when preparing your submission materials.
Read the Submission Guidelines: Make sure you follow all the guidelines set forth by the organization. Failure to do so could result in your submission being disqualified. Review the guidelines carefully and follow them explicitly.
Artist Statements: An artist statement should be clear and concise. It should explain your motivation behind the submitted work and how it relates to your overall body of work. Keep it under 500 words—the shorter, the better. Jurors will appreciate a well-written statement that gets to the point quickly.
Follow Up: After you have submitted your application, don’t forget to follow up! This extra step could make all the difference in whether or not your application is selected from the pile.