What Good Are Artist Awards?

Best in Show . . . First Place . . . Viewers’ Choice . . . Purchase Prize . . . Honorable Mention

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Deep Thought for Artists

What good are artist awards?

Do they lead to a better career for the winners?

Do they result in financial gain for the winners?

Do they build confidence?

Are they a detriment to the self-esteem of those not chosen?

Do they add credibility?

Who is most impressed by awards?

Tell us what you think and please reveal your bias. Have you won awards? 

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44 comments to What Good Are Artist Awards?

  • I’m anxious to see comments. Our non profit co-op will be addressing the subject of awards for shows this month. In order to give awards, members need to solicit sponsors and donations. Everyone loves awards, no one like to do the hard work of bringing in the bucks!

  • Yes, I have entered and won art competitions, many years ago.

    With experience, this is my opinion:

    Art judged in competition with others is a pointless exercise. At the end of the day, the judge’s preferences determine the winner. The skills of the artist, do not reflect who wins.

    The benefit of winning competitions?
    For inexperienced artists, of course it builds confidence. But confidence build due to a competition award, isn’t real confidence.

    Does it build careers? That depends on the competition and monetary award(if any.

    If gallery is only interested in your art, due to a competition you have won – I would question the gallery’s experience, selling skills and the longevity of your relationship with them.

    Generally I see awards as something that reassures certain buyers, unless of course, there is a large cash reward, for the winner.

    • Ditto to Erin.

      As for the building career element: only if the organization that is hosting the competition effectively markets the art. Everyone would win beyond the prizes but so few competitions are marketed well outside the world of artists!

      The only real benefit I’ve had from most of the competitions and juried shows are either the rare cash prize (see Erin’s “pointless exercise”) or a few more completed pieces of art for my inventory.

      Participating in a plein aire competition event locally forces me to paint outdoors with other artists. I win no matter what: hours painting at a park and some re-acquainting with local artists. If I focus on how I would benefit otherwise…why bother? For the last few years, this is the only type of competition I enter and only if my schedules allow.

      Otherwise, most competitions seem to only benefit the ones hosting it. The fees feel like profit only to the hosts. Like Janet Glatz, I spent a year “getting over it” and tallied about a $1000 in fees, gasoline, and that didn’t count driving hours. No more. I prefer to spend my money in other ways (like studio supplies & workshops!).

  • I spent over a year entering a number of competitions specifically to “get that over with” and move on. I felt it was necessary to do that as part of my artist’s path, and to show the world that I was serious and determined to succeed. That being said, I have won a number of awards ranging from honorable mention to best in show. Have they had a direct effect on my career? Who knows? I do know that I am not entering competitions nearly as much and pick and choose only the ones that have meaning for me. I feel that my goals are better served by concentrating on making the best art I can and keeping up with the intensive social marketing I do.

  • I have entered very few competitions. I was awarded Grand Prize in one. It gave me a definite sense of validation of my work. I did not see any other benefit except part of the prize were three vintage haori which I love wearing. I suppose doing more competitions might raise my reputation among other artists, at least insofar as the bead weaving arts are concerned, but I am not entirely certain about that. (I’d do research if I had time).

  • I have won several awards but have also been rejected or unrecognized just as many times. Although it is thrilling to win awards, I try to remember winning does not mean I am wonderful nor does losing mean I am a loser. Winning is just a moment in the sun, which all hard working artists deserve. Losing actually leads to more growth and is an opportunity to work harder.

  • The right awards in the right competitions can bring important respect and recognition. I have won several awards including first prizes, seconds, merits and Government scholarships. I have been a finalist in some important awards too. Yes I do believe they are extremely important. The awards I have won have gained me gallery representation and have helped to enable me to gain government sponsoring for various events including solo exhibitions etc. Another important thing to consider is curated art exhibitions with a good theme that is relevant to your work.

    Art competitions show a career path in your portfolio (even if you have just entered the competition and been accepted it is valuable for your resume.) You don’t have to win the award for it to be valuable, but of course when you do win there are huge benefits.

    Think about the careers that have been launched by the Archibald, The Turner prize…etc…of course awards help to develop your career and standing as an artist. So long as you make it a point to enter the right ones. Don’t ask me the right ones because its subjective…it all depends on what you are painting and why you are painting it in the first place. You have do your own research. Cheers all!

    • I would wager that the quality of your work is what brought you the success you have achieved – not the competitions. It’s not the venue. It’s the work. (I long ago bought a drawing hanging in a gallery bathroom. It was all by itself – without competition. I paid a pittence for it. The sales person snickered. . . The work, today is worth a tiny fortune. . . ) :-)

  • Comments :

    I must admit that I have spent 99.9% of my career in the visual arts staying away from the art competition arena – except as a judge. Why? If I have something against how things are being done I should have something to offer (to remedy an evident problem ) over and above the negative comments I allow myself to make about a subject.

    So onward:

    Are judges objective today? No. You need knowledge of a subject to be objectiveand to give any competition “value”.

    Are most competitions (on line and off – virtual and real) recognized by one and all (locally, regionally, nationally, internationally)? If not, they’re not worth the trouble of creating, entering (paying the fees. . . ) shipping, anticipating, biting our nails, cringing at those who won over our “most bestest” efforts. . .

    The worth of artist awards (as they stand) Few if any have any future value.

    Do they lead to careers or financial gain for winners? No. In music, literature, book, writing, poetry, etc. Yes. In the visual arts which are perceived to be of no real consequence (anymore) in the grand scheme of contemporary life? No.

    If you don’t have confidence in what you are already doing with or without competitions and recognition – please get out of the game before it destroys you. Confidence and daring are required to survive in the visual arts. (Note, I did not say succeed financially.) Creating artwork which we hope will be recognized one day as “art” is not a matter of art therapy whose job it is to help a person over a bad time. Art (if our work ever reaches that level) is about reaching out beyond ourselves – communicating with others, touching and moving them. That’s the goal – not placating navel gazing obsessions.

    Losing in a competition a detriment to self-esteem? Lord. . . Though I am not into competitions, all I can say is : When will this era get over itself? When will the victimhood mantra of the late 20th and early 21st century end? Get over it people. The world will not stop to wipe our tears or pat the heads of the little people still wishing to be pre-teens in their 30s and 40s. Even “real” children gag at the concept of offering prizes to everyone on the team lest somebody have hurt feelings.

    Credibility? Really? With judges who are more into “their own thing” and who, for the most part, know nothing of the basic elements (the grammar and spelling and phraseology) of a visual language; who have never learned to draw or paint or use a video camera or sculpt, or who have degrees which do not require any skill set acquisition? We wish to have our work judged??? Today’s competitions are more like American Idol shows where realty TV commentating replaces objectivity with kitsch nothingness. In such an environment we do not have an ambiance of critiquing but rather one of being criticised by a person ignorant of the skills, talents and efforts required to create. As visual artists we are better off visiting someone who does know their business and who can offer us some guidance in getting our work to shine.

    But are there real competitions out there? Yes. Are there good judges? They’re rare but yes. Should we focus on such venues to get our “names” out there? No.

    Who is most impressed by awards? Mommies and Daddies and people with self-esteem issues.

    Overall, my comments are tough on this topic because I think they lead us astray more than they have anything of value to offer. But surviving in the visual arts for any length of time requires stamina and self-respect – not self -esteem. It requires “doing” hard work more than it will ever have to do with with the superficialities of “being” anything.

  • I agree with most of the above!
    I enter local shows for sure! It’s a great way to stay in front of local collectors and the art community.
    The awards are credibility for me to show my collectors and gallery owners.
    I have had the full experience: accepted, rejected, Best in Show to Honorable Mention and no awards.
    Sure, it’s disappointing not to win, but I think it is worth it for me in the point I am in in my career. It also helps me to know I am on the right track with my art. If am accepted into more shows than rejected from, I am impressing a wide enough range of judges. Awards are just gravy. Helpful gravy!

  • For me, the transition from commissioned portraits to exhibiting in galleries has been helped a great deal from entering national and international competitions. As a result of the exposure, I have been asked to write a book, invited to teach workshops around the country, and have had several high-profile magazine articles written about my work. Several galleries have expressed interest in showing my work. The money and awards won have not been great income generators, but the exposure from the awards has helped boost my career as a painter and workshop instructor. I work solely in watercolor; competitions for other media may not have the same results. Artists need to weigh the costs of money and time against the benefits and decide for themselves.

  • Albert

    I had a friend who won a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Fulbright. These awards helped his career not at all. He was never able to get a job in the arts (not even an academic one)and never received enough commissions to live on. He was however, a little full of himself.

    Another artist friend who was more handsome and charming has had an amazing career. Being able to meet and talk to people and build connections may be more important for an art career than awards.

    • “Another artist friend who was more handsome and charming has had an amazing career” More handsome and charming? That this would be criteria for success is rather frightening to say the least. If the visual arts aren’t completely lowest common denominator these days this should really add to the heft that is sinking us.

  • Erin said it all.

    They are good in the beginning to build a resume. I don’t think anyone actually pays attention to WHAT is in a resume but I think Galleries like to see that you are doing something/anything.

    I still enter shows so I can have something New to announce in my newsletters. That’s it.

    I DO like to enter shows that take place in galleries because there is the possibility to be invited to join the gallery.

  • I have entered competitions and received awards from several. I can only speak for myself here. The first one gave me validation for what I was doing and I felt encouraged to continue exploring the direction I was working in. Other competitions helped me to gain exposure and recognition by my fellow artists. Sales or galleries did not result but I don’t know if galleries are impressed with awards. Probably not but it does make it look like you are challenging yourself to improve. I have decided that I will no longer enter competitions as they have served their purpose for me personally. I have been asked to be a juror in the same competitions I entered. This will certainly be a challenge but I am looking forward to it. I don’t think anyone should be upset by not getting accepted into competitions because judging is very subjective.

  • I have entered into four art competitions and have placed in one. I felt that this is a necessary step to take, but i am not so sure. I have always water to be a full-time artist, but the struggles exist to be that. I have teetered on sticking fully to design work(graphics) or diving into art full-time, but the money right now comes from my design work. I am blessed to have this to fall back on. I will continue to enter regional art competitions, but I will pick and choose them carefully.

    • Dear Patrick, I can only go by personal experience. I began a part-time visual art career in 1967. (I too needed to bring in rent and food money.) With perseverance I was finally able to open my full time studio in 1978.

      I don’t regret this span of time needing to earn my living elsewhere. Many people got to know what I did in my “spare time” and became lifelong admirers and purchasers of my work.

      No experience in life is ever lost or less valuable just because we want to be “in another place”.

      Hang in there. Don’t push it. Just let it “become”. The whole run is worth the trip.

      All the best.

  • The comments on this post are very helpful to me since I just won my first 2nd place award for a watercolor painting yesterday. I have been painting and entering competitions for several years because I believe it is part of my job as an artist.
    As for the impact of winning an award, I am looking forward to seeing the red 2nd place ribbon hanging on the wall of my studio. I know the ribbon means very little about the quality of my painting. This award may have been affected by what the judge had for lunch or his personal taste or how visible a volunteer I am in the organization that sponsored this competition. That said, I am still thrilled to have won the ribbon.
    I love tiaras, ribbons and good job stickers. The glow from a nice compliment on my dress stays with me for days. Maybe this is a juvenile quality, but I think more people need to give recognition, compliments and enjoy the ones they receive as well.

  • I agree with most of what has already been said. Shows and awards are great for building a resume and getting your work out there especially when you are just beginning. I did a lot of shows especially in the beginning, but had already been a gallery artist for a number of years before jumping into that.

    Awards given to my work have been 1st
    places, 2nds and so on, but two really stand out to me as being exceptionally valuable: Peoples Choice and Best of Show. Peoples Choice tells me a piece, whether composition, subject matter, palette or all of the above is on track and resonates well with the majority of patrons present. That does in a way help guide me in the direction of subsequent paintings.

    The Best of Show was by medium category and again was one that is not chosen by judges. This one at this particular show is chosen by the artist’s peers. It is valuable also as a guide but means too that your work and diligence and the direction your creativity is going has the respect of your fellow artists. It is an honor to be given that one.

    Does it help in getting into galleries? Others’ mileage may vary but for me it hasn’t one bit. I’ve exhibited in dozens of galleries and not one has expressed any interest in awards. Their whole focus has been in seeing the work itself and asking themselves “Can I sell this? Does it fit with my gallery? Will these resonate with my clients?” I’m with one gallery on the opposite coast from me who purchases my work outright. He tells me what subjects to paint, I do so and send him snapshots of the paintings, the transaction and shipping are completed and he proceeds to show them to his collectors. I cannot say for certain but I don’t think they’re interested in awards either.

  • All of these comments are spot on – such a great question!

    The types of shows we enter and the sorts of awards we win (or don’t) and whether or not they help build a career all depend on individual goals for our work.

    I do see that non-career artists (meaning those who create for pleasure vs for a living) tend to weigh awards won more heavily. This is also the case with career artists who are just starting out – they tend to not yet be jaded by the cost of exhibitions and the russian-roulette style promise of exposure or prizes. I know I used to be that way – until I sat down and did the math and realized how much it cost my business to get a painting on the wall in xyz gallery. So what was I earning off spending those dollars?

    However, working towards a well-chosen award can be a fantastic exercise if one wishes to create a piece for a particular theme/guild/space or get their work seen by a certain juror/gallery staff/group of people. And for artists like myself who work best with a looming deadline, this can sometimes be a motivator too.

    And while it’s always nice to get recognition via a prize, I’m finding it reward enough to get juried into events where my work is rubbing elbows with some of my heros. That’s my current motivation to do a couple of shows each year – so I can brag about the company my paintings keep. Everything else is just cake.

    • I do see that non-career artists (meaning those who create for pleasure vs for a living) tend to weigh awards won more heavily. This is also the case with career artists who are just starting out – they tend to not yet be jaded by the cost of exhibitions and the russian-roulette style promise of exposure or prizes. SO very true!

  • Art, in all its many forms, is subjective. Not just for me and you and the neighbor next door, but for those who judge competitions as well. When we put our works of art out for the world to see, we’re showing work created according to our individual vision. Of course there will be those who like it and those who don’t like it. Does that mean the art is bad? Most definitely not, IMHO. Personally, I have never felt the need to enter a competition. I never will. Actually, to tell the truth, I think they’re silly – even if there’s remuneration involved for the winner(s). If you go to my website and you don’t like a single piece of my work, that’s just fine with me because I know there are those that do. If I go to your website and I don’t like a single piece of your work, would it bother you? I don’t think it would, at least it shouldn’t. But if you placed a piece of that same work in a competition and didn’t win, or even place, would it bother you? For most, I think the answer would be yes, to some degree. To me, the bottom line is that art competitions are useless and pointless for those artists that create art for art’s sake.

    • Dear Barry,

      I agree with your evaluation of competitions as useless and pointless. Over many decades I have encountered too many people who fall into the trap of “needing” to be accepted by others in the visual arts – when they should be concentrating on a buying public to look at and consider their wares.

      But I beg to differ in your evaluation of judges when you say : “Art, in all its many forms, is subjective. Not just for me and you and the neighbor next door, but for those who judge competitions as well.”

      If judges are subjective, it is the first indication that they are not worthy of the position or the status. And in such cases participants should take their artworks and run away as fast as they can.

      A judge should not simply be a celebrity (as is so common today). Having limited knowledge and lots of charm or persuasive abilities are not valid criteria to take on such a role in the visual arts. In essence when this occurs, all participants get are nonsensical evaluations which are nothing more than subjective ego-tripping.

      A real judge is one who should know more than most about the basic elements in drawing, painting, sculpture and design. A juror is one who merits the title by being competent in the field of rendering and evaluating artworks. They can determine whether the artwork is capable of standing on its own – based on the examination of all of the elements inherent in the assimilated skill-sets used.

      Professional judging, therefore, is based on objective critiquing, not subjective criticizing. A true judge is one who looks at line and shape and form and movement and tonalities and unity as well as the artwork’s communication ability – all criteria which affects all artwork – whether it be figurative, abstract or non-representational.

      Judging is never about the creator. It is about the skills one has to say or not say something adequately through the use of our tools and medium. When a judgement of artwork is rendered it should never make one feel “judged”. And that is why only professional, objective judging is of any value. It is never personal. If a judge goes beyond objectivity, delving into the realm of personal likes or dislikes, he or she is a hack.

      To end my rant, I can only add that I can’t understand how anyone would accept to be judged by a person who is not a professional. For notoriety and popularity? Wow. . . It never ceases to amaze me.

  • Lydia Velarde

    I have won awards and it does boost confidence. I think it helps in financial gain because “collectors” who may be on the edge of purchasing have the extra boost knowing it must be a good piece because it won an award.I think everyone is impressed by an award but mainly the average “collector”.
    I have always felt that just getting into a juried show was a good prize to boost my ego but in some shows everyone gets in due to shortage of pieces entered. If I don’t get in a juried show I just remember that it is only one persons opinion, that of the juror.

  • i’m not really sure it makes much of a difference if a piece wins an award or not…if someone like the work they will buy it, if a gallery likes it they may represent the artist. for me personally i like entering local SO Cal competitions because it gives me exposure, i get to know the owner/s of the gallery, meet other artists i would not have otherwise. and if i win an award here or there, for me i am doing cartwheels in my head i am SO happy. it’s not because it makes my art more valid, it’s just fun to win once in awhile! if all of this wasn’t fun, i would not be working so hard at it!

  • To me competitions are just another way to gain exposure. That’s truly the only way for an artist to win. Of course winning money is always a plus but exposure is and always will be more valuable then any monetary amount. I’ve gained more exposure being involved in juried shows then I would have if I hadn’t entered them. And that’s good enough for me.

  • Awards? Yes been there, got the certificate…so what? I’m an artist, I paint that’s it.

    Awards like qualifications are there for the CV and other than that they are in the chocolate fireguard category.

    Don’t waste valuable reading listing them on your website its a space for art images and besides few visitors ever read them…Trust me here nobody ever spotted the spoofs I put in [long ago deleted!].

    Keep the vanity off your website and out of your art.

  • Interesting comments. I think some art awards are worth entering to build up one’s resume, get exposure and show that you are “serious” – which means picking and choosing which awards you enter. That said, whether or not you get picked, it’s essential to see your work in the context of what else is on show – then you may get an inkling of any bias from the judges. Perhaps your work was “too” something-or-other or “not enough” something-or-other to be a contender. (Personal experience – my work was not accepted for a works on paper show. It was abstract – turned out there were no fully abstract works amongst the finalists.)
    Another insight: a recent acquisitive award was “won” by a fairly well-established artist. IMHO the work was ok – good but not great. Another artist (whose work was purchased by the gallery) had an incredible piece, technically and aesthetically brilliant. It really was outstanding – a real “winner”. I suspect that it was a financial decision to give the established artist the award and purchase the less well-known artist’s work as it would have been more costly to the institution to do it the other way.

  • Dear Deb, You’ve simply confirmed my comments re “subjective judging”. As far as being considered “serious” in the visual arts by competing? By whom? Galleries of every stature are having difficulty surviving and the only areas making money on the visual arts are those which are associated with or the likes of the Miami, Basel, Venice and other “big box ” exhibitions. The times are a changing and we must also adapt to other venues which promote and market our wares. Our money and time is better spent promoting and marketing ourselves in new an unique ways rather than appear at shows which have no value in the long run.

  • I have spoken with several galleries who asked what awards have you won and wanted me to have some under my belt before they would even consider taking my work. I have now won several awards but have not been back to those galleries. There is no obvious connection between what show judges like
    and what paintings people buy (at least that has been my experience in selling paintings). Everything about art is so subjective. All that said,
    I believe having a listing of awards and juried shows gives many buyers confidence that they making a wise choice and are not making a mistake with a purchase (even if it just to hang in the bathroom or behind the couch).

  • As I near the age of retirement, I am transitioning from being a hobbyist bookbinder and paper artist to being one full time (the retirement is relevant in that I only need to make a part time income from this new full time job). In this transition period I am appreciating the words of so many of you who have years of experience as career artists. Having read the information here is seems to me important to make a distinction – one that may be obvious to all of you but was not obvious to me when I first read Allyson’s questions – between contests with a very small subset of “winners” and juried exhibits where there can be many “winners”. Having read the strong opinions that many of you hold – and I especially appreciate Bernard’s candid, yet well-reasoned remarks – I will focus my attention and efforts on getting my work into more juried exhibits and not spend my limited resources on contests.

    • Dear Anne, Thank you for the kind remark. As for anything being obvious in the visual arts. . . It rarely is. Gut feelings are valuable in this realm. The only thing I might add is be “sure” of who the judges are. I never recommend participating in a juried show or competition unless you know and are trusting of the professionalism of the judges. Some competitions and juried shows hide who the judges are until after the judging. (Why do they do this?)  

  • rob

    (observation from the sidelines)
    Two friends entered the prestigious Hunting Prize competition, both made it to the finals.

    At the gala to announce the winners, all artists exhibit their art and have the opportunity to sell it.

    Friend one was “handsome and charming”…he got out in front of his work, smiled, shook hands, talked about the art and gave out business cards.

    Friend two was “handsome and not charming”…he took a back seat deciding to let the art speak for itself and he spoke to almost no one.

    Neither placed and neither sold work that night. But friend one made a positive impression on at least three people because he later got three commissions from people in attendance who remembered him (and had his contact info) Friend Two? well he gained nothing from the experience.

    Point is: a competition is what you make of it.

    • There is a difference between a consumer of artwork and a collector of art. I would presume that a consumer requires salesman niceties (in order to “like” the work) whereas a collector is more interested in the quality of the work – sometimes despite the creator of the work.

      I would wager (all things being equal) that the less sociable arteest’s wares might just outlast those of the character who’s smile is necessary to make the work palatable.

      I would like to think that I would have appreciated Van Gogh’s work despite his propensity to be difficult.

  • Desiree Habicht

    I have read all the comments and replies and for the most part I agree . I have shown and won, been in books and magazines and I do not see many advantages or sales due to the exposure. I do gain recognition from my peer group and become more popular or worth meeting among the art community I guess. There is something about having that ribbon on your painting that feeds a need to have our art valued and recognized. As artist we often are isolated and work alone so the social aspect and kudos of winning or placing or even being accepted into an art show might be like our industries Christmas party. Some like the parties some don’t but you have to see what works for you. It’s similar to those high school days when we had the need to be acknowledged by the popular group. After I won a prestigious award and was featured in a popular magazine for my medium I thought it would bring more inquiries about my art from collectors, it did not. Instead I received congratulation emails from my artist friends. I think that the only ones reading the magazines and going to the art shows are the artists and the family the bring with them. It also was apparent that most of the people selling anything at these shows are the ones that have underpriced their work. But I will say that the exposure and awards do bring more teaching opportunities since art groups find that valuable. I also am more known in my local art community because of it but as a business expense I don’t feel it has paid off. I am exploring other avenues like online and social media, they seem to have a much better return for the money. Thankfully I am very diversified with my art so my fine art doesn’t pay the bills. I would love to hear what is working best for others when it comes to selling their art. I am doing smaller pieces that are more affordable. I have been an artist for many many years and find its a hard business and everything helps, even being handsome and charming, as it does in any career, at least charming. There is nothing worse than a self indulged, narcissistic, arrogant, know-it-all in any line of work. Wether you show or not love what you do, the rest will come.

  • The good, the bad and the ugly could all be applied to shows where awards are given. I’ve run the gamut from rejection to best of show. Some were a benefit, others had little discernible value even though it looked good on paper.

    Carefully weigh the benefits that a show could have to your artistic career. If you see it as a means to connect with artists or others who may be able to benefit you’re career, fine, but don’t use these shows to validate you or your work if you are not accepted. In all my years of selling my art, I’ve never, ever had anyone ask me if I’ve won awards as if that was a necessary criteria for them to buy. Now if I were trying to break into the academic realms of art and impress others in that field, then maybe having a room full of awards given out by their peers might help. But it’s doubtful that would impress the homeowner who is wanting to purchase my art to compliment their decor or enhance their surroundings.

    As the old idiom says, “the proof is in the pudding.” If your work does not connect with your intended audience, it won’t sell and no amount of awards will likely change their mind.

    I’ve been behind the scenes of a juried show as well. Keep this in mind too. You have a venue, which can hold so much work. You have X amount of entries. Not all can fit in the venue. Some have to be pulled. You also want a show to have a nice mix. This selection is often done by a panel. I’ve been on such panels. Sometimes the work is good but again space is a factor and when trying to strike a balance to the show some work doesn’t get chosen. Then comes the awards juror. I’ve been one as well and I’ve tried to do my best. If it’s a large show it can be absolutely fatiguing to make the selections and generally the juror has only so much time to choose the work. A decision has to be made and given another day, I may may have chosen differently. Probably the same could be said for others in that unenviable position knowing full well, someone won’t be happy.

    Yes, it feels good to get awards and if you do, accept it graciously, remain humble and and keep such accolades in their proper perspective.

  • Dee

    I have been in competitions for various creative media and generally feel unsatisfied in the end even if I place well and gain exposure. I think, after years of trying it off and on, I just do not like the feeling of competition and creativity. Desiree’s comment above about the only people who seem to notice are other artists seems to resound most with me. It’s kind of like preaching to the choir. If peer approval were important to me then I would be more into it, but it is not.

  • Yes, I have won three awards growing up. Two were Certificates of Excellence (1st Prize on a Regional level) and one was a COPPER medal (3rd Prize on International level).
    What good are artist awards? I am not sure if I am understanding the question correctly so please forgive me if I got this wrong. I believe the best awards that can be offered to an Artist is EXPOSURE. For example, an interview in an art magazine (in print), Art on the cover of the visual or literary journal (in print) and coverage in the newspaper.
    Blog interviews are great too, and so are the other online journals.
    Grants make awesome awards too as money can buy time for some. Having an eager collector who loves your work is a beautiful and one of the best award/reward (to me). The ultimate award of course is being a part of the Art History and making it in the NATIONAL GALLERY in D.C (to me). In short any form of PUBLIC RECOGNITION is a wonderful award which goes back to EXPOSURE.

  • I agree completely with every word you said Charles Wallis.

  • I am an artist who mostly makes portrait quilts. I’ve entered both art competitions and quilt competitions. The money is much better in the quilt competitions. In my 20 years of making quilts, I’ve won more money than I’ve earned selling my art. I figure, that’s not a bad way to earn a bit of extra cash, especially since after showing my quilts and winning some prize money, I’ve sold a few of those quilts, so that essentially multiplies what I earned for that particular quilt. Has winning awards helped my career? Who knows? There will always be some people who are impressed by those things and some people who are not. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, whether you’re showing or selling, you’ll always have to deal with subjective people. And in the end, I’m still surprised if someone knows my name and my work.

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