If you’ve ever considered entering a juried art show, you know the number of important details can be head-spinning. Aside from the eligibility standards for both artist and artwork there are regional and international opportunities, in-person and online, open calls and invitation-only. How do you determine where to start? Because researching the best juried shows and competitions for your work is a different endeavor than many other types of research, we’ve put together a short guide on how to get most helpful information for your art business with the least amount of blood, sweat, and tears.
The first thing that sets this kind of research apart is that it may require a financial investment. High-quality juried art shows, fairs, and competitions change from year to year; if it isn’t the location that changes, it will be the eligibility requirements, the show theme, or the available prizes. The resources necessary to maintain a comprehensive and regularly-updated resource requires work, so some sites and publications will ask for a fee or require a subscription. In many cases it’s well worth the investment because it saves you time and effort that would be better put into preparing your work.
Here are a few of the best ways to research juried art shows:
Determine what you want in an art show
Before you begin researching, list out the qualities of your dream show. What will make it worth your time, effort, and money? Are you looking to rub elbows with art collectors or established artists? A large cash prize? The chance to show in a new gallery in a new city?
Developing a criteria ahead of time will save you hours of sifting through shows that don’t match up. Here are a few more criteria to consider:
- Juried gallery show vs. art fair
- Online art competition or in-person?
- Cash prizes, or exhibition and promotion prizes?
- Established annual shows or new shows?
You’ll also want to know what your deal breakers are. Here are some essential questions to ask to decide whether an art show is a good fit for your work: Should You Attend That Art Show? 10 Questions to Ask.
Art Fair SourceBook
The Art Fair SourceBook is the most comprehensive juried art show resource you’re likely to find online. Originally a print publication, the SourceBook is now a subscription-access online resource that features listings for 1,400+ art shows and craft fairs as well as hundreds of in-depth reviews. You can customize your list based on your own criteria, and the catalogue of shows features robust details, ratings, and reviews. Access the SourceBook here: https://artfairsourcebook.com/
There is a variety of yearly subscription packages available based on what type and location of shows you want access to, ranging from $199/year to $649/year. If art shows are a part of your business model or you want to begin incorporating them, the Art Fair Sourcebook is a worthwhile investment for your business to help you hit the ground running instead of wasting countless hours trying to find reputable shows in your area.
“Call for entries” sites
If you’re not ready to drop the cash on the SourceBook, there are numerous “Call for entries” websites that curate calls for art from museums, galleries, art fairs, and online galleries around the world. These websites may be less reliable in terms of up-to-date details, so be prepared to do a little more grunt work when it comes to tracking down accurate submission guidelines and contact information.
A few popular “call for entries” websites include:
Other ways to search
If you want to do more in-person research, word of mouth through your local artist organizations will be your best bet. If you’re a member of The Abundant Artist Association, make sure you take advantage of our large, active private Facebook group to ask questions of artists in your region! Here are some other ways to take advantage of local resources:
- Reach out to local galleries. Visit your local galleries regularly. Attend show openings for other artists, get to know the gallery owners, and be sure to ask them about any upcoming show opportunities. Developing friendly mutually-beneficial relationships with other people in the art world is one of the best ways to find new opportunities for your art.
- Reach out to local/regional art associations. Local artist guilds, chamber of commerce, and similar organizations may have information on smaller regional shows. And better yet, asking in person will help you begin to develop relationships and acquire valuable personal contact information.
- Ask artist friends. What are your artist friends doing? Where are they showing? Don’t be afraid to ask business questions of your artist friends and acquaintances!
Did we miss anything? Do you know of an excellent resource to help artists researching juried art shows? Let us know in the comments!
Once you’ve selected an art show to exhibit in, make sure your business is ready! Check out our post How to Prepare for An Art Show to find out how.
Still puzzling over the variety of options available? First figure out whether your artwork is a better fit for an art show or a craft fair: What’s the Difference Between an Art Show and a Craft Fair?