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5 Tips for Artists Submitting Their Work by Stefanie Stark


Since 2018, I've submitted work to countless juried calls for art. I’ve worked with galleries, curators, art fair organizers and magazine and book editors, learning the ins and outs of the submission process along the way. Here are some simple tips that will help your submission shine when it's being reviewed.


If you are new to submitting and showing your art, your local area is where to start. Consider alternative venues as well as galleries. The first time I showed my work was at my kids’ elementary school in a faculty-parent art show organized by the art teacher. It was a small show but included three of my paintings and the positive feedback I got encouraged me to keep painting.

Look around your area to see if coffee shops, restaurants, co- working spaces and/or wineries show the work of local artists. Seek and explore local art groups. They often hold shows at community centers and other available spaces. Familiarize yourself with local galleries to see if they have upcoming group shows to which you can apply. Check their websites and look for “Artist Opportunities.”


When applying to an art call or if you are submitting work to a gallery for consideration, read and carefully follow their submission guidelines. Each opportunity will have unique requirements and it's important to follow them, especially when it comes to how you save digital images of your art. If you don’t follow directions, your submission may not be selected or even considered.


The quality of your photos matters enormously, but you don’t have to hire a photographer or spend lots of money. I use my iPhone to take art photos with good result. The most important thing is to make sure your artwork is well lit with no shadows and that it is properly cropped. Unless the piece is 3-D, eliminate any background. Photos of 2-D art should extend to the edge of each side of the photo and be in focus. Follow the guidelines about image size, image name and resolution.

There is a learning curve when it comes to photographing your art, and the more you do it, the better you get. Certain times of day are better than others if you are relying on natural light, and inexpensive lighting equipment can be purchased if you are shooting inside. Try to evenly illuminate your art from each side at a 45-degree angle so that shadows are canceled out. For more information, search the web for tutorials and articles about photographing your own art or check out our recent blog post on photographing your artwork.


If you are applying to juried art shows, you likely will need an Artist Statement, Artist Bio, and/or an Artist CV (or resume). It is a good idea to work on these documents well before you need them, as they take time to create. Revisit and update them as you gain perspective and experience.

Again, you can search the web for how-to articles about crafting these documents. A helpful book for visual artists is Art-Write by Vicki Krohn Amorose. If you are a newer artist without much to list on your CV, simply list what you can. If your CV is extremely short, consider including any relevant education, art memberships and anything else that demonstrates your interest as an artist. Once you start applying to and eventually participating in art shows, you can rework your CV accordingly. Remember, I started with that elementary school art show!


It is crucial that you keep track of where and what you submit. Keep a folder with each show you submit to, including the prospectus (which describes the show and includes its submission guidelines) and note which artworks you submitted to each of them. This is especially important if you submit to multiple shows. Know the dates of the jury process period and the exhibition period for each show. You don’t want the same piece of art to be accepted into two shows that occur simultaneously, as you can only exhibit it in one of them. Remember that the best way to grow your art career is through developing good relationships in the industry. Respecting the time and effort gallerists and jurors put into this process is important. If you sell artwork you’ve submitted, immediately let the show organizer know it’s no longer available. They may work with you to select another piece, but there’s no guarantee of that – some shows don’t allow substitutions. Rejection is a fact of life for all artists who submit their work. Remember that many factors affect which artworks are chosen for shows and opportunities, and often amazing, quality pieces are not selected. Following these guidelines will help increase your acceptances. For more information on dealing with rejection read Stefanie's other blog post Tips on Dealing With Rejection. I hope you found these tips helpful! If so and you want to learn more, sign up for her newsletter at FOLLOW STEFANIE ON INSTAGRAM @stefaniestarkart FOR BEHIND-THE-SCENES STUDIO PICS AND MORE!

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