Assessing juried exhibition opportunities, Part 2

In Part 1 on this topic, I went over the questions you should ask of yourself when considering a juried exhibition. Now, let’s look for answers that might be beyond your control, but for which you need answers.

Rayann Orr, Plaza at Las . Mixed media, 22 x 30 inches.

Rayann Orr, Plaza at Las Golondrinas. Mixed media, 22 x 30 inches.

Ask Others

  • What is the reputation of the exhibition organizers? Do they have a good track record and have they generated publicity for past events? How many people (potential buyers) are on their mailing list?
  • How will the exhibition be promoted? Will it be advertised? Is there the possibility of social media buzz through Facebook, Twitter, and blogs? Will press releases be issued or will the event be pitched to the press in a strategic manner? How do the organizers use email to promote their events?
  • Can the organizers show you press clippings that have been generated from this exhibit in the past?
  • Will a catalogue or brochure document the show?
  • Will there be an opening or closing reception? What other events might bring people in?
  • Are prices posted next to the artwork or available at a desk? Note that an accredited museum should not post prices, but most art centers and other gallery spaces have prices in clear sight. (Just because prices aren’t posted doesn’t mean it isn’t worth your effort. The prestige of showing at a certain location may be more valuable at a certain point in your career.)
  • Is there someone on site to facilitate sales? Are there trained sales people? Would it be easy for a potential buyer to purchase something?
  • How much money has come from sales in the past (from this or comparable exhibitions)? What is the percentage of accepted entries (a high number isn’t always good!).
  • Is there adequate security? Are the works insured while on site? Who will pack/unpack the artwork? Is the personnel trained to handle art?
  • Who is the juror or curator? Are there awards and prize money? What is the attendance for this exhibit? What are the attendance figures for the venue in general?

I realize you may not be able to get answers to all of these questions and, indeed, you might be considered an irritant if you ask every one of them. Pick the questions that you are most concerned about and ask away!

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2 comments to Assessing juried exhibition opportunities, Part 2

  • Alyson’s fifth suggested question about whether their is someone onsite to facilitate sales points to one of the limitations of juried shows. A sponsoring organization, unless it stands to reap significant income through such sales, just isn’t going to prioritize this. That is what commercial galleries exist for.

    Juried shows are generally more useful to build a track record for an emerging artist so that when she/he starts trying to work with commercial art galleries they can have something to point to in talking up the artist to potential collectors.

  • This is a fantastic list if you have never been exhibited at a gallery. I even noticed some that I would never have thought about. Definitely keep this list in your head at all times when talking to galleries.