Monday, March 7, 2011

Applying for a Show

Tonight, as I was applying for four Dallas/Fort-Worth shows, it occurred me that folks might want to know what goes into a successful art application. So here are my thoughts.

Generally you'll either get invited to apply for a show, see a "call for artists" or see some similar invitation for artists'crafters. Obviously you'll want to ask several questions in order to determine if it's going to be a good show for you. See my other blog posts for those questions.

The call will involve filling out an application and, in most cases, paying a small fee ($10 - $30) as a jury fee. This is usually separate from the entry fee and always non-refundable. It in no way guarantees your acceptance. NOT sending it does guarantee you won't get accepted!

After work is juried and decisions are made, the jury/acceptance committee will notify folks who have been accepted and then folks who are on the wait list. DON'T get discouraged if you're on the wait list.....Often times it'll mean you get in at a later date... Accept it and participate. Once you pay your entry fee, you'll want to focus on getting ready for the show. Watch for a sendout of the festival paperwork...hotel info (act fast on this for the best rates), directions, setup times, etc.

All of the above points to good e-mail communication. Check your spam and manage your e-mails and your communications. It's important if you're going to get into shows.

What should you pay attention to when you're filling out your application? Well, unfortunately it starts loooong before you fill out the application...including generating and photographing great work and taking a great booth shot! Get to it!

1) Great work and great pictures of your work - I don't care how good your work is...whether you paint, sew, sculpt or whatever. If the jurors or the folks picking out who gets to participate in the show can't see the quality of your work, it'll do no good. Either have a pro take great pictures of your work OR do it yourself..and have an acquaintance (who is not your mother) critique your photos. Better to have a couple of great ones than a bunch of so-so ones!

2) A great picture of your booth - Most contemporary applications for decent shows want to see what your booth looks like. It's not that they really care what you do in your booth, they want to see the level of professionalism an indicator of the level of artist/crafter that you are. See my typical booth picture to the right here. Not only does it show a decently nice set up, but it's dramatic...set against the beautiful Dallas skyline! Decent booth pictures are a dime a dozen. Make yours stand out!

3) A submission letter - Lots of folks fill out the application, attache a check and submit it. How can you make yours stand out? Submit the standard application with a brief letter on your artist/crafter stationary... Oh! Don't have any? Hint, hint... I also submit my booth and work pictures on a tiny 3-inch CD. Why? Because everyone uses the great big 4-inch ones...again, this marks me as somehow different!

4) Your application - Fill it out cleanly and type it if possible. I generally print out two so I can make doubly sure that it's clean, clear and speaks well of me. Submit it on time, making out the check to the correct payee, etc.

5) At the Show - Askk around about The Kessler Craftsman. Show promoters will tell you he's reliable, flexible, has great work and is a true professional. What does that mean? I show up in plenty of time to set up. I bring everything I need and play extremely well with others. At the end of the show, I purposefully find the promoter and personally thank them for the opportunity to participate. You absolutely want to get invited back. You want them to remember you as an attribute to their show and in no way a boat anchor that brought bad energy, burdened them, etc.

Good luck as you apply for shows!