Why Enter Art Shows?

In my art community there are a lot of shows, I enter many of them and publish about the ones where my art has been accepted.

Why do I do this? I have several reasons.

First, the art organizations that I belong to need the revenue. They depend on their entry fee income to not only pay for the show, but also pay towards the other programs that they have, such as art for Veterans. I want to support these organizations that have done so much for me.

Also, I enjoy the social aspect of showing my work. I get to meet people at intakes, receptions and outtakes; I often help with the intake. I can catch up with other artists and find out what they have been up to, I get to feel that I am part of the community of that particular organization.

Thirdly, I get to see how my art fits in with that by other artists. Am I just following a trend, or is my work truly original. Does it measure up technically?

I may or may not be accepted, I may or may not win a prize. The selection and judgement of art is subjective, it depends on the jury. If there are multiple pieces that are good enough to be selected but only a few slots to fill, the aesthetic viewpoint of the jury will decide who gets in, they need to make a well-rounded show. If there are 50 equally good paintings but there only 40 spaces on the wall, someone has to be cut. It may well be me.

My painting “Homage”, featuring Jeff Beck and Johnny Depp at the Celebrity theater was rejected several times but eventually won Best in Show at Ground Floor Artists “Rock and Roll” show in Surprise, AZ. I was astounded to receive that award because of the previous rejections and also because there was some very good art in that show.

I don’t enter shows for the money. Most local shows do not offer a huge amount of prize money and one cannot count on winning a prize anyway. I don’t enter shows to sell my art, that would be a bonus. It has happened, but it is unusual for more than one or two paintings to sell at any show.

If my art is accepted, I publish about it on social media. To me, this is part of the contract for entering the show. Publicizing the show may not do much for myself, but it can draw visitors to the show, who may then buy something. That benefits the artist that made the item and also the organization which takes a percentage. So everybody wins.

Yes, I do like to brag a little but that is such a minor thing. There is always a better artist out there to keep me humble, many of them are my friends.

So you may be bored with my posts about shows that I get into, but please go to the receptions and if you like something, please tell the artist and buy it if you can. It benefits everybody.

Instagram: mharmanart

Facebook: Melanie Harman Art, @Melanieharmanart

1 Comment

  1. Hello!
    It’s good to get feedback on your work and an award is the best feedback – apart from a sale, maybe. 🙂

    I joined a group some time ago, to learn about oils, and the time coincided with an exhibition the tutor had organised. So she insisted I enter a piece even though it was my first day. The subject had to be canals as the canal restoration trust offices was the exhibition venue. So, I knew nothing about oils, nothing about canals, and she handed me a bunch of photos – random snaps, basically – which were altogether uninspiring. Anyway, I bashed something out for her, then she said I had to price it! That was taking it too far.

    Anyway, it turned out to be a good class, very sociable and instructive – but there were no further exhibitions planned. And I stayed for two to three more years. I think I miss the collective nature of these groups; discussing art and inspiring each other.

    I haven’t felt a need to exhibit but will always pop in to a show I come across, professional or amateur. It’s good to see what people do.


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