Thursday, November 3, 2016

Protecting Yourself from Requests for Free Work

I teach a small class of teenagers once a week. One extremely advanced student reported she is often badgered by other kids to draw something for them. I suggested she appoint me her "art manager" and then politely tell the requester her art manager won't let her do the work for free. She says it works. You can do something similar by asking a good friend or relative to be your art manager, at least for such purposes, and then having that person set rules you both agree on.

Set a Reserve Price for Auctions

Bill Frazier, Montana attorney specializing in artist matters, says in his column "Law and the Art World," in the Fall 2016 State of The Arts: "Do not enter your work in [commercial or charitable] auctions unless you set a reserve price below which the work will not be sold. If the auction objects to your setting a reserve, do not participate in that auction."  --

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Opps Q & A, Part 2

Should artists focus on opportunities that are local to them? When does it make sense to expand outside the local region, state, country?

In the beginning, stick to local shows. Consider this as practice, learning. Whether to expand outside this region depends on your goals, the sort of work you do and whether these further-away opps fit you time and budget constraints.

 How beneficial are juried shows? Should all artists do them?

 It all depends on what sort of work you do and what your goals are.

Entering a juried show on a whim is about as useful as buying a lottery ticket. It might work, but the odds are against it. In a way, it's more harmful, because you don't have an ego investment in the lottery ticket. If you loose you're out a buck. If you get rejected from the juried show, however -- and if you haven't done your research you probably will be-- you'll probably be al least a little depresed doubt you worth as an artist for a little while.

Entering juried shows should be done as part of a thougtful plan. Of course you have to experiment in the beginning and that means spinning your wheels some. What you do after the show is of the utmnost importance. Go to the show if you are physically able. Note what sort of work was accepted. Think about whether this was the right kind of show to enter. Note the names and occupations of the jurors. After entering a few shows, you may see some patterns emerge. I have a good friend (and charter subscriber to AOM) who started out entering the shows put on by her local photography club. After the first two, in which her submissions were rated as being last or next to last, she decide that photo clubs were not her venue, although they might be for others. She entered other shows, making the notes and observations mentioned above, always looking for the types of jurors and types of shows and competitions that seemed to fit her work best. She continued this process for several years and as of today, has had more than a dozen important solo shows around the world, including museum shows, has had her work reproduced in *The New Yorker*, *Harper'*. *O, The Oprah Magazine* and many others. Her work is now in about 20 museum collections in the US, the UK, Europe and Asia.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Opps Q & A

We recently received a list of questions from an artist who is preparing an article on opportunities. Here and the first few and our answers. We'll publish more later.

How can artists determine what juried shows might be best for them?

First, look at the site of the organization sponsoring the call to see if your work is more or less a good fit in terms of type and aesthetic outlook. For instance, if your work is abstract and none of the work on the site is, it's probably best to move on. Or if you do straigtforward landscapes but the site is all fantasy and surrealist. Or your work appeals to a contemporary viewership but the show only traditional images. And so on.

If the site passes that test, make sure you meet the restrictions as to age range, media, size of work, geographic location, etc., in the call. Twenty-five to 40 percent off all work submitted never gets to the the jury because it was disqualified immediately for not having met one or more of such requirements or the image(s) sent were the wrong fomat or size. The artist gets nothing, the organization keeps the submission fee.

What are the top "red flags" that suggest a call for entries might be bogus
or something to avoid?

If the site is offering framing, art consultation, or other services for artists or for customers, it is at best a private business running a competition as a way of generating income -- if it is charging a submission fee. It may not be bogus, but the odds are slim that your work will be seen by the sort of people you want it seen by, and the odds that it will be sold are slimmer.

"Advertise-y" language or hype is usually a tip off.

Also, look at the "About" section of the site. You can see pretty quickly whether it is for-profit gallery that is charging a submission fee or a non-profit. In general, avoid the for-profits unless you know something about them. Also, if it is a for-profit business but is not charging a submission fee, check to see if therer are additional fees, such as a "hanging" or "initiation" fee. Such"galleries" make their money not from sales (because they rarely if ever make sales) but directly from the artists they con into paying them.

Do a Google search on the gallery name and the owner name. If you turn up nothing or nothing good, move on at least for now.

What are the top things to look for that underscore a good opportunity?

In general, established calls -- ones that have been around for at least a few years -- are better because they have worked out the kinks. Look for something not too expensive to enter but that offers good rewards in terms of what you are looking for: solo show, cash, more exposure, etc. The prestige of the organization and or the juror(s) should be considered. But mostly you have to decide if the fit is good for you based on where you are in your career and how being in this show or winning this competiton will help.


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Public Art RFQ | Artist Retreat and Workshop in Portugal


CALL TO ARTISTS - Public Art - Florida
UF-212 Newell Hall Renovation Project  -Floor-Window/Glass-Sculpture- SUBMISSION DEADLINE is FEBRUARY 19, 2016. University of Florida Art In State Buildings Program.  The Call To Artists can be found here:


Plein Air Portugal/Summer
Artist Retreat and Workshop for painters, photographers in rural landscape. Run by artists for artists.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Searching within AOM

Using the global find function of Adobe Reader or most other PDF readers, you can quickly make a list according to almost any criteria. For instance, searching for "PA" (Whole word and case specific) will give you all entries that specifically are looking for PAinting, although you'll get a couple of things in Pennsylvania as well, which you can easily ignore. A search for "Medium: All" will give you those which accept painting in theory, and a search for "2D" will give you more. A search for "NY" will give you everything in the state of New York and "NY 100" (but not whole words only) will give you NYC, as will "NY NY"  Search for "No fee" to find the free ones, and so on.

The list will show the first line of each entry and you can click on that to go directly to that one. You can then then copy and paste or drag into into a word processing field for later use, ending up with your own personal list.

Unless there has been a change recently, the Readers cannot save the lists they make, however, but recent versions of Adobe Acrobat can.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Percentage of No Fee Opps in AOM

A reader wrote:  I stopped reading the AOM emails several months ago, once I realized that most of the opportunities required entry fees.  I'm opposed to the concept of "pay to play" in general.

We replied:  I'm not a fan of the "pay to play" concept either, although that usually refers to for-profit vanity venues, where one has to pay to show and there is no real jury process. We don't list them. You probably mean the venues that charge a submission fee. We list them only if they are from non-profit organizations, as for-profit organizations that charge submission fees are asking artists to invest in their business without giving anything in return other than the chance to be shown and they are unlikely to sell anything, as they have less incentive than galleries that depend on commissions from sales.

Non-profits that charge entry fees are a different matter; they are trying to cover their expenses (rent, utilities, Internet, insurance overhead, jurors' fees, advertisng, invitations, refreshments, and, sometimes, staff, although they tend to rely heavily on volunteers) in putting on a show.

I agree there should be a better way for them to get all of their funding. In general they depend on contributions and fund-raising events such as auctions. A few get grants and subsidies from their local governments. There are a few places, such as The City of Berkeley, CA, that not only don't charge fees, they pay the accepted artists to show. But theat money comes from taxpayers, not the artists themselves.

In any case, I was curious about your statement that "most of the opportunities required entry fees", since that's not my recolection and we work hard to find the "No fee" opps. So I did a search of the July/August issue. It showed 127 (see screen shot) No fee opps in Part I out of a total of 254 entries, for just over 50%. In part 2, there were a total 166 out of 264 entries (see screen shot) for 65%. That's a total of 293 No fee opps for the month. Other months are similar. I understand not all would be appropriate for any particular artist, but using the Full Search function of a PDF reader, one could hunt down the potentialy appropriate ones fairly quickly and find more than one would have the time to enter.