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The ‘Necessary Evil’
Nothing quite compares to the juried art show or exhibition for inviting one or several people to pass judgment on one’s work. Not only does the artist willingly subject his or her artwork to being accepted or rejected, but also willingly places ‘a significant piece of themselves’ on the line to fall subject to the same fate. In general, the majority of artists entering juried events tend to be “emerging” artists—i.e. artists who are seriously pursuing their art as a career and are looking for venues to get their work ‘seen and known’ in order to build a following that hopefully, will contribute to the artist attaining the degree of success he or she is seeking. Because emerging artists are often also “unknown” artists, galleries tend to be less than eager to take them on (possibly at the expense of having to displace their “established” artists or “earners”), leaving few opportunities other than the juried events for artists to display their work—providing it gets accepted.

Encouragement to Get Through the Rejection
The more an artist perceives a juried event playing a role in the progression of his or her career, the more difficult it can be for the artist to overcome the setback of having his or her work rejected. As an “emerging” artist who more than often winds up in the rejection category, I’d like to offer the following words of encouragement to others who from time-to-time may find themselves in the same situation (hopefully not as often as me): (1) Enjoy and have joy in what you do and create as an artist (2) View a juried event simply as another opportunity to gain exposure for your work—if you miss this one, there’s always another right around the corner (3) Artwork not accepted into an event doesn’t necessarily mean it is artwork without quality, merit or worth (4) Artwork deemed to be ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘in’ or ‘out’, etc., is based on the subjectivity of the viewer—the juror is just another viewer (5) Always be confident in your work (6) Suck it up…keep moving forward!!

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Comment by Resident Curator on December 9, 2015 at 11:35am

Hi Maurice,  Thank you for calling my attention to your post, and asking for comment.  I think you offer very good advice.  I believe one of the problems with juried shows is that artwork is often viewed out of a larger context. The few times I've been a juror I've also found myself overwhelmed by the sheer number of entries.  Subtle work can easily be overlooked.

While I would hope that a juror would move beyond their own personal aesthetic and recognize quality in all genres, I will admit I research jurors before entering a show, to see if I think it's likely they will be receptive to my work.  This is especially important to me as entry fees seem to be climbing for even modest venues.

(Artdeadline.com has a great listing of $ 0 cost calls for submission.)

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