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3 juried art show mistakes to avoid

As artists, we pour our hearts and souls into creations, spending hours on end perfecting the smallest details that we may ultimately be the only ones to notice. Finally, one day, we are satisfied with what we have created. So what do we do? We want it to be seen and hopefully inspire. For people who want to share their work, juried art shows are a great place to start as they let you showcase your art and potentially  win money or a spot in a gallery. 

This is a necessary step in advancing your career as an artist. You can build a name for yourself in the art community and establish professional relationships that will help you down the road. However, juried art shows require more attention and effort than a simple submission. The way you approach the requirements can determine how well you do and how seriously you're taken. Here are some mistakes to avoid when submitting your work to a juried art show:

1. Ignoring instructions and rules
As artists, we each have individual styles and the freedom to exercise them. However, when entering your work in a competition, be mindful of rules and regulations. Some art shows have strict themes while others are more open to interpretation. For example, if the theme was "The Exploration of Color in Nature," you wouldn't want to submit a black-and-white photo. Although art can be abstract and persuasive, juried art shows are no a place where you can argue your piece. The same goes for types of media. If the contest asks for paintings, don't submit your writing or photography. The judges can easily disqualify you for not following the guidelines, so sticking to the established guidelines will save you time, money and effort down the road.

Instead of pouring energy and creativity into a show where your work just does not fit, find a place where it does. Juried art shows are constantly popping up, regardless of where you're from. Live in a small town? Odds are a city near you is hosting an art show. Find one that best suits you so you have all the tools you need to find success.

2. Throwing together a portfolio
Some juried art shows require more than one  piece of work. Indeed, some ask for a cohesive portfolio. As an artist, you may work with different styles, media and techniques, so a compilation of all of them can better represent what you are trying to accomplish as an artist than any single piece. However, judges are going to be looking for a cohesive body of work that presents a singular vision or concept . As artists, we are eager to get our work out there, so we may prefer to toss pieces together that might not fit together well. Instead, give yourself the time to compose and compile a portfolio that best represents you as an artist in a complete fashion. You might really like some photographs you took, but they might not belong in the same portfolio. Putting them together is like forcing a piece of a puzzle into a spot where it does not belong. Make sure to review your entries beforehand to put your best foot forward in your next juried art show.

"Utilize the opportunity of writing a biography to best represent yourself."

3. Omitting a biography
Some artists choose not to include a biography when it is asked of them. This can be for any number of reasons, like privacy, laziness or just being too busy. However, this information can actually help your chances in a juried competition. When people are interested in an artist's work, they want to know more such as their, background, personality, where they get inspiration, etc. This part of your submission allows you to humanize your work. That way, the judges see it not only as art, but as the creation of a human being. In addition, some shows immediately disqualify submissions that don't include a biography. Be sure to utilize this opportunity to present yourself the way you want to be seen. It will not only help your chances of winning, it can also give you more control on how you're judged.