My First Juried Show: Art Story Five

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After three years I was finally accepted into the highly esteemed Brevard Art Center and Museum Annual Art Show. The Brevard Art Museum is now the Foosaner Art Museum and is part of the Florida Institute of Technology. It is located in the Eau Gallie Arts District in Melbourne Florida. The Annual show was the show every artist wanted to be in.

Submitting to a Show

It takes a bit of courage to enter an art show. That is because it feels like you are being judged. And you are, if you enter a juried show.

I only submitted to the Brevard Museum Show because an artist friend of mine, Kathy Ammon insisted that I try. This was back in the day before the internet. We submitted slides of our work and waited for snail mail to arrive informing us of our acceptance or rejection. I don’t think they used the term REJECTION. It just felt like that to me. They instead said something like:

Thank you for your submission. We had over 300 works of art to choose from for the show and we regret to inform you that we were not able to include your work in this show. Please submit again next year.

Because I wasn’t even sure that I should have submitted to this show in the first place, I was sympathetic to their plight. So much art and so little space to hang it all. After all, Florida attracts artists from all over. The place is crawling with them. There are tons of outdoor shows and so many artists that I loved and admired. I could only secretly hope to one day to be included among them.

A juried show always has a call for entries.
The exhibition sponsor chooses the theme of the exhibition, extends a call for submissions, and invites jurors to select only from submissions what they feel best represents the theme or premise of the show.
A juried exhibition has one or more jurors select the work. After the work is selected by the juror(s), usually the juror’s role is finished.

Harriete Estel Berman

Year Number Three

Then one hot summer afternoon, I walked to the post box at the end of my driveway and held in my hand a postcard that read:

We have accepted your watercolor collage Haiku Moon into our annual show.

My First Juried Show
Haiku Moon Close up

That is when the panic began. No time to feel sorry for myself, now I had to mat and frame the piece and worry over every single detail. When your art is in a show it means people will be looking at it. Close up. You want everything to be perfect. I mean perfect.

It was no time to gloat either. I was now in an awkward situation. Kathy was not accepted into the show that year and neither was my watercolor instructor, Zoe Mac. And I can tell you it was difficult water for me to navigate. How I would have loved to share that experience with Kathy. It would have given me a sense of security and comradery.

In all honesty, both of these women supported me and my artistic endeavors. Both of them were gracious. They had all sorts of wonderful things going on in their careers that they really didn’t have time or the inclination to feel slighted. After all, there is always next year. They both came to the opening of the show.

And I learned, if you never enter a show, you never get it. So go for it.

The Opening Night

Opening night at the museum was a big event. Everyone was dressed up. There was food and drinks. I loved the party atmosphere that Floridians are so good at. I walked around and walked over to my watercolor collage only to discover that several of my paper moons had slipped from their place and fallen to the bottom of the frame. Some were left just hanging.

And at that moment my heart slipped down too, to the pit of my stomach. And I panicked, I didn’t know what to do. I went and found a man I knew from the museum, who had hung the show and I told him what had happened. I told him I could come by the next week and fix my work. He said, “No worry, and no need to. The juror loved it as is. He thought you meant to do that, and it is one reason he chose your piece.” Then he smiled.

My First Juried Show
Haiku Moon left as is

I said OK, and then I laughed.

How I Decide What to Submit

That was my introduction to contemporary art. The reason my piece was accepted was because of the content of the piece along with the esthetics. Kathy and Zoe were more into the abstract impressionistic niche and that is why they weren’t in the show. The juror was a contemporary artist. He was looking for something different than what was usually chosen for a show in the area.

I learned to always find out who is jurying a show before I submit. What type of art do they create? Where do they teach, exhibit, or work? That gives me a clue to what they are looking for. And I also submit something that is a little different, athough experimenting and taking my art in a different direction, away from what might feel safe for me, just adds to the challenge.

Types of Shows

I don’t submit with the intent to sell to a juried show. Although there are types of shows I do submit with the intention to sell. They are Fund Raising Shows, Membership Shows, and Non-juried Shows.

My First Juried Show
Sunrise sold at the MAC Membership Fund Raising Show
My First Juried Show
Chosen for the VALA Membership Show

In a juried show I aim to create art that has a strong concept behind it. It may make good art, but it may not be something someone wants to buy for their home or office. In a Fund Raising Show I am submitting  to contribute to an art organization or to help raise money for a school or a cause. I want the fund raiser to be successful. I will choose something likely to sell. In a Membership Show everyone gets at least one piece of art selected to show. You can submit pieces you think will sell and not worry so much about being edgy or different. Your work isn’t being judged except for prizes, if they give prizes away. In a Non-juried Show everyone gets in and prizes aren’t usually awarded.

Magnolia in the Gallery8680 Non-Juried Show
Cactus Bloom in the Envision Arts Online Juried Show

Something new that has become even more popular with Covid, is the Online Art Show. These shows can be Juried, a Fund Raiser, Membership, or a Non-juried Show.

Biz News

I have not yet viewed the VALA Art Show and now plan to the visit it the first of the month. I will write about this experience too. I always enjoy being in a show, although it can be somewhat nerve wracking at times!

FINALLY, the Ocean Collection is up in The Shop at Ruthieonart! There was so much work involved in getting this ready. I decided to take my time and enjoy the process.

View the Ocean Collection Here.

Speaking of enjoying the process… this week I will be joining Emily Jefford’s Collective. Emily is known for a movement called Do it for the Process. Her Collective is a mentoring group for artists who run their own small business.

The Collective is replacing the business mentoring group I was in last year. I will be forever grateful to Crystal Holman for helping me get some business basics down. And I am looking forward to discovering with Emily how to fine tune my business as an artist. This is a very exciting move for me.

Thank you for being a part of this art journey, and as always, Be Inspired!


Foosaner Art Museum

Juried verse Curated Shows

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