Three Answers For Three Questions Posed by Emerging Artists

In light of the fact that many of our blog visitors peruse our Resources Page, we thought it might be helpful to provide some additional information related to three questions we often hear from aspiring or emerging artists.

“How do I find artist opportunities?”

If you are on the hunt for artist opportunities, you might consider subscribing to Arts Opportunities Monthly (charges a yearly fee); or visit the New York Foundation for the Arts (nyfa), two of our favorites. These sites are seriously comprehensive, listing opportunities for juried exhibitions, solo exhibitions, residencies, grants, and public art. Nyfa.org even lists jobs and internships for arts administrators, curators, gallerists, and educators. Another site we refer to a lot is Call For Entry, a site where you can both find opportunities as well as apply to them. You create a free profile on the site, upload various documents and as many as 100 images of your art. You can then select and submit the necessary documents and images from your profile, as per required for each individual application. You only pay fees if the application requires such.

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I’m an emerging artist trying to build my credentials. What opportunities are best for me?”

We highly suggest emerging artists apply for Juried Exhibitions. Here’s why:

  • These shows only require you to have one or two works of art to submit, rather than a series or large body of work expected of artists applying for solo or small group exhibitions. Additionally, juried shows put your work in front of arts administrators, gallerists, curators, and museum professionals. Isn’t that one of your top goals? Even if you aren’t selected, the juror still spent some time with your entry. Often, space limitations force jurors to eliminate many high quality works from the show. I have juried exhibitions before with 300 submissions and room for just 30 pieces. Jurors have to make tough choices, including deciding which high quality, well-crafted, thoughtful works have to ultimately be eliminated. So on occasion, some of those entries – or the creators – find their way into another one of our projects in the future.
  • Juried shows also help you develop a thick skin, which is really important as an artist. You have to apply for lots of different opportunities to get one bite. Sending out submissions helps you stay organized and connected to the arts community, and reminds you that although you can’t win them all, it’s necessary and important to put yourself out there.
  • If you keep applying, you will get into some shows and that will feel great and provide positive reinforcement for the work you are making, not to mention help build your resume.
  • If you want to continue to develop as an artist, it is important that your work be seen – and discussed – by others. Hopefully there will be some helpful dialogue or critique, perhaps during a juror’s talk or in a printed statement. Even just attending the reception, if possible, and hanging around with other artists and visitors might result in helpful or inspirational conversation.
  • If you are interested in selling your work, it’s more likely to sell off a gallery wall than in your home or studio.
  • And last but not least, a great reason to enter juried exhibitions is the prospect of an award, preferably a monetary one.

A couple of organizations we think are doing a great job encouraging emerging artists include the Target Gallery in Alexandria, VA, and the Visual Art Exchange (VAE) in Raleigh, NC. Both of these venues host juried exhibitions almost every month, focused around a variety of themes. They always hire professional jurors and additionally, offer various artist services and opportunities for professional development, often particularly aimed at emerging artists. Check them out and consider getting involved!

VAE’s next juried exhibition is Navigating the Natural. Digital submissions due on July 13, and the show will take Place August 7-27. What are you waiting for?

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“I’m feeling uninspired lately.” Or “I need studio space to create a particular project.” Or “I need access to specialized equipment.”

Sometimes you hit a road block with your art and all you really need is a change of scenery. Or perhaps you have a large-scale project in the works – one that is too big for your current set up, or requires special equipment that you don’t have access to on a regular basis. Or maybe you just need some camaraderie and critique as you venture down a new path. If any of these statements ring true we highly recommend applying for an artist residency, preferably ones that either pay you a stipend or at the very least, don’t require you to pay any fees. (We get it that sometimes you need to cover living/food expenses, but we definitely prefer opportunities that don’t require you to pay for studio space.) There are so many different kinds of residencies including ones based around total solitude, focused on providing artists simply with time and space to make their work. Other residencies require lots of community interaction, set in an open-to-the-public studio. Other residencies offer more of a healthy balance between the two aforementioned scenarios. There are rural residencies as well as ones in big cities. Some residencies provide just space, no tools or equipment. Others are loaded with every tool and lab or shop you can imagine. Before applying for a residency, do your research and figure out what’s best for you, your work method, your personality, and your short-term goals.

We love the McColl Center for Art + Innovation. Located in Charlotte, the McColl provides socially engaged artists with the necessary core group/community partners to create their participatory works. They provide stipends and accommodations for their 3-month residents, though longer-term local artists are required to pay for their studio space. We also love the Bemis Center in Omaha, Nebraska, for their dedication to fostering the work of artists by providing stipends along with live/work space for their 3-month residents. Apply now through June 30 for their 2016 residency program. Another one of our absolute favorite residency sites is Elsewhere, an amazing living museum. We love every single one of their residency opportunities, especially the Southern Constellations program. Check out our recent write up on Elsewhere to learn more about this gem right here in Greensboro, NC.

A great place to find residency opportunities is the Alliance of Artists Communities. They post tons of information on their partners including application requirements and deadlines.

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Happy Applying! And be sure to keep us up to speed on your progress. After all, one of our main goals is to promote all things arts for the Charlotte area.

 

 

 

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