Printmaking 101: Applying for shows

Our 15th Annual National Small Works Call for Entries went live yesterday!  We encourage all printmakers age 18+ nationwide to submit your prints.  Do so before April 19, and you’ll get in on the reduced fee, only $20/four prints (instead of $30).  We thought now would be a good time to go over some do’s and don’ts of submitting your work, whether it be to National Small Works, another juried show, a portfolio event, or anything else!

DO read the directions fully and carefully.  We know because we’ve been there, too–nothing is more frustrating than preparing all your digital files as 300 dpi jpegs and then seeing that little note at the bottom that says they all must be .pdfs, or in a slideshow, or only 72 dpi.  But you could have saved yourself the extra work and trouble if you had read through the entire prospectus before submitting!  Not only will carefully reading the prospectus save you unnecessary work, following the directions to the letter will keep your submissions from being disqualified.

DO call for clarification.  You know what assuming does–so don’t.  If something isn’t clear to you–after you’ve thoroughly read the directions–call and ask!  Prospectuses are a constant work in progress, and it’s good for the organization soliciting entries to know if something isn’t clear.  It’s also good for you to make sure, so that your entry is the best it can possibly be.  There is no stupid question.

DON’T send a whole bunch of extra stuff.  If the prospectus call for four images, only send four images, unless, of course, you have the option to buy more.  Also, don’t send old show cards, catalogs, or other materials if they are not asked for.  These unwanted extras ultimately end up in the trash.

DON’T ask for special treatment–i.e., extending a deadline, permission to submit work in a different format, help formatting a CD.  This makes you look unprofessional, and more often than not the answer to these questions is “no.”  Stick to deadlines, and if you do need help formatting your work, get a friend or hire somebody to do it for you.  You can see our tips on presenting your work to get you started.

DO take care in shipping any accepted works.  WPG accepts over 100 packages of artwork every year, and we’ve seen just about everything.  Our number one pet peeve: PEANUTS!  Do NOT use Styrofoam peanuts–they get everywhere!  Do wrap you work well in bubble wrap or brown paper and make sure your box is sturdy enough to handle the journey.  Some of our artists send super swanky custom made boxes, which is great, but not necessary to insure your work get here in one piece.  2-3 inches of padding on all sides and a secure cardboard box around it generally means things arrive just fine.

DO reapply–if your work isn’t accepted by one juror/jury, reapply next year.  For better or worse, jurors come to the work with their own set of biases and preferences, and just because your work wasn’t picked doesn’t mean it’s not good.  A rejection letter also offers a good time to follow up with the hosting organization.  Calling and asking for any feedback allows them to tell you if your work wasn’t presented professionally, if the juror had any comments about your work, or maybe even a few insider tips that you can apply to future shows!

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2 responses to “Printmaking 101: Applying for shows

  1. when is the next entry date?