Thursday, September 01, 2011

on exhibiting

I love waking up to e-mails telling me that my work was accepted to an exhibit I applied to be in! I'm so excited to have two photographs in the upcoming show Yummy at Brothers Drake Meadery here in Columbus. The opening is during the October gallery hop!

This has turned out to be a great year for exhibiting for me. To anyone reading who would like to exhibit your work more, I have a few suggestions. I would probably call this: Exhibiting Your Work When You're Just Starting Out: Gaining Exposure without Going Broke. I'm still finding my way in this aspect of being an artist, but I've learned a lot over the past few years.

- Check postings weekly for calls for entries. Two I check every week are College Art Association and Society for Photographic Education. I keep a running list of calls for entries that pique my interest and when they are due.
- Subscribe to local art scene postings through e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter. This is typically how I find out about local shows. I found out about Yummy through a curator who had chosen my work previously for another food-themed exhibit.
- Don't spend a lot in entry fees unless being in that exhibit will boost your resume in some way. For example, if the gallery or juror/curator is noteworthy, or if the theme is particularly pertinent to your work so you feel you will gain exposure by being in it. You will find many other reputable shows that do not cost $35-$40 to enter. When you do pay that much, it should be worth it.
- An exception to this is when the entry fee doubles as a membership fee to an organization you would really like to be a part of. That $40 would benefit you later, a big plus.

When you have been accepted to an exhibit (hurray!), here are some tips:
- Mail out your work as early as you can so you don't have to pay extra postage fees! I learned this the hard way.
- I support USPS when I can, but sometimes when I need to mail large framed work and don't want to spend a fortune in oversize fees, I go to FedEx. This also allows me to easily send return postage, which is usually required if you want your work back. I even signed up for a FedEx account, which was free, and now I get a discount of around 30% on postage, which really adds up. The difference with one particular package was that it would have been $55 to mail through USPS and was $14 through FedEx after my discount. Do your homework!
- Price your work accurately if it's for sale while on exhibit. After the cost of materials, including the frame if it's a 2D work, plus shipping, plus the gallery's percentage of the sale, how much money will you actually be getting if your art sells? I learned this the hard way too. You want to do more than break even! Don't undersell yourself just because you aren't a famous artist yet!

Do you have any other tips for improving this very important section of an artist's resume? I'd love to know!

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