By the end of the semester, students must apply to at least 1 exhibition and 1 publication. If the instructions for the exhibition/publication your choose require a hard copy application, you must provide me with a hard copy of all the application materials. If the instructions require an email submission, you must bcc me on the application.
Exhibition – a physical show of artwork
Publication – a curated publication that sometimes includes artforms other than visual art (poetry, etc)
1. Find an exhibition to apply to and a publication to apply to. Here are helpful links:
Chicago Artists Resource
Altered Esthetics – they have a lot of calls, they hang salon-style, so you’re more likely to get in
Billboard Art Project – often, these calls are first-come-first-served
Glass Tire – Texas listings
4Culture – Seattle area
MNArtists.org (Minneapolis and Beyond) – exhibition opportunities
In Liquid – a listing of calls (some are specific to Philadelphia, but others are national/international)
Arts Council of Hillsborough County (Tampa and Beyond) – employment, fellowships, grants, scholarships, exhibition opportunities
NYFA Current – a site by the New York Foundation for the Arts lists a variety of artist opportunities.
Visual Art Source – you can sign up to receive calls for art (focused on the Western US)
Professional Artist – breaks down call by “no fee” and “with fee”
College Art Association – exhibition opportunities
Paul Shortt’s List
The Art List – a newsletter of art and photography competitions; full version is $10 per year subscription (a free version is also offered).
Monday News – based out of Berlin, this free newsletter covers open calls for festivals, exhibitions, conferences, residencies and many more.
Call For… – they ONLY advertise calls withOUT fees!!
2. Email the opportunity to me so I can say ‘yes’ or ‘keep looking’. (Sometimes a call for art will not be worth your bother or is a scam).
3. Apply (bcc me on the application email, or if you’re mailing a hard-copy application, provide me with a copy of everything.
TIP: Artist statements are written in the first person (not third person).
1. Who are you?
Where are you from? Where did you receive training (if any)?
2. What do you do? What is this work about?
What do you conceptually focus on? This is the idea, theme, message, or concept for your piece. Think of this as the thesis statement for your work. What media do you work in?
3. Where do you work?
What countries/regions have you shown your work in? Which notable museums/galleries have you shown at?
4. Why do you do this work?
What/who are your influences? This is your explanation of the importance of the work and what it means to you. This is the outcome or experience you anticipate for the work.
5. How do you do this work?
What approaches do you use? This is how you envision the piece happening—medium/a, actions, texts, audience/performer relationship, etc.
3 basic questions = a stronger artist statement:
1. What do you want people to see in your work?
2. What is a distinguishing characteristic of your art?
3. Based on your conversations, what do people find delightful or surprising about your art?
Watch out for the following:
1. Don’t say your art is “unique.”
2. Remove the things that every artist says.
– I am excited by . . .
– I’ve always been an artist
– I have to make art
– My work is about the human condition.
– I love . . .
3. Beware of redundancy. Say it one way and move on.
4. Get rid of the lists.
5. Reduce the number of personal pronouns. (I/me/my/mine/myself)
A General Tip Regarding Tone
Artists often fall into one of two traps that can be easily avoided: Aggressive writing is language that claims to know what the viewer’s response is going to be (i.e. “the viewer will be forced to reconsider his notions of community, war, poverty, and the color “blue”). The great thing about art is that you can never quite predict how it’s going to affect someone. If you try to override the reader’s subjective response, they will trust you less. Passive writing is when you as the artist are not clear and direct about your own intentions (i.e., “I seek to explore some of the seemingly myriad possible connections between art and the color blue”). Neither of these examples answers the essential questions of what and why, nor do they help the reader get to know your work on their own terms. Instead, write directly and assertively (i.e. “I am making a series of paintings about the abstract and literal connections between war, poverty and the color blue in American history”).
Writing an Artist Statement
A great place to start finding language for your artist statement or “elevator pitch” is to consider what questions people ask when viewing your work. Your artist statement should answer the following questions: what is your work like, why do you make it, what are you trying to do with it and what is your process? A few simple exercises to get started:
- Write 7 words about your artwork in general or about a new project you are working on.
- Expand the list to 14 words.
- Now use those words to come up with a one paragraph artist statement or project description.
- The interview: Give whatever you wrote in step 3 to a friend and ask them to ask questions about your work or your statement and write down what you say in response. Now take the paper back, ask your friend questions about your statement, and write down his/her responses.
- Using the notes from the interviews, rework your statement or pitch.