10 Tips to Increase Your Chances of Being Accepted into Juried Art Competitions

In response to the challenges of the last year, artists have been seeking alternative means and low-cost ways in which to present and showcase their artwork in a post pandemic world. One of the most effective ways artists can do this is by entering online art competitions/contests.

Over the past 5 and a half years, for our monthly quarterly and solo art competitions, Fusion Art has catalogued, processed and juried over 27,000+ entries from artists all around the world.  

However, not all the entries we receive are accepted into our exhibitions for a variety of reasons. Below are 10 tips to help artists increase their chances of being accepted into any juried art exhibition.

  1. Understand the Theme

Artists will sometimes miss what the organization or gallery is looking for in terms of the theme or the parameters of the competition. The artist’s entries should relate in terms of media, color and style, all within the scope or the theme of that particular competition. For instance, an artist who submits their Black and White photography into a competition with a theme about “Bold or Bright Colors” will get rejected. Simply put, black and white are not in keeping with the spirit of the theme and scope of that particular show.

We are often surprised by how many artists do not follow or try to match the art they are entering to the show’s theme.  Many times the artwork that is received for judging is fantastic, but if it does not fit the theme, artists have just wasted their time and money.

  1. Read, Understand and Follow the Rules

The number one reason that artists are not accepted into shows is that they did not read or understand the rules thoroughly.  Read the rules once.  Then read the rules a second time and highlight or underline the key parameters.  Then finally read the rules once more. Check your highlight notes against the contest rules in order to understand exactly what it is that the organization needs and requires of your entry.

In addition, this may sound silly, but just follow the rules.  Do not deviate from the rules.  This can be anything from sizing, to resolution, to image quality, to framing, to artist statement, to deadlines, etc.  The organization or gallery that is conducting the art call has developed its competition rules in order to administer process and judge the art in a thorough and systematic manner.  It has very good reasons why it wants the submitted artwork to be labeled, sized and named in a certain way.  Try to understand exactly what they want and conform to their process.  If you do not understand something then don’t hesitate to send an email requesting clarification.

  1. Enter the Maximum Amount of Pieces That You are Allowed

Try to enter as many pieces of artwork as the competition will allow, as this will increase the odds of getting your artwork noticed by the judges.  If a competition is asking for 3 images, give them the 3 images.  Many times, we receive only 1 or 2 images when we allow up to 5 images.  Judges like to see that artists have a consistent style and technique. Additional images can often help the juror to evaluate your art more closely.

  1. Be Aware of the Competition’s Deadline

The organization or gallery who is managing the competition has created a deadline for a purpose.  The advertising, collateral materials and judge/juror schedules revolve around this timetable/deadline.  It is inconsiderate for an artist to expect the organization to change its schedule in order to help the artist with his or her scheduling issues.  In addition, it is not fair to all of the other artists who got their submissions to the organization properly and on time.

  1. Provide an Artist Statement and/or Biography If Asked For It

Not all art competitions ask artists to submit either an artist statement and/or biography. However, Fusion Art and its sister gallery, the Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery, does request these items from artists. However, many times we do not receive a biography and/or artist statement with the artist’s submissions. 

If a competition requests these items, it is important to include one or the other or both as requested. We include the biographies and/or artist statements of the top winning artists on our winner’s page. Often times there have been artists whose work has been selected as a top winner, only for us to discover they have not provided a biography or artist statement and we must disqualify them from the top winning spot.

This brief amount of information can make all the difference in receiving an award in one of our competitions.  As part of our marketing efforts on behalf of the winners, we want to whet the appetite of the viewers as a mean to encourage them to learn more about the winning artists.

Therefore, be sure to have several sized bios and/or artists statements ready-made and available that will help in this purpose.

  1. Label the Entries in Their Format, Not Yours

The organization or gallery that is conducting the call for art wants the entries in a certain format for identifying, administering and judging purposes.  By not labeling your entries properly, your art may not be judged if it is lost or mishandled due to this issue.

  1. Follow the Organization’s Sizing Requirements

If the organization is asking for certain size submissions in terms of pixels or inches, follow it.  There is no excuse to not have the art sized properly as there are many free art-editing programs available online. Two examples are resizeimage.net and simpleimageresizer.com.

Follow the size, resolution and quality settings that the gallery is asking for.  The main reason for this is that judges are often trying to standardize the judging process and if all of the entries are the same size and same resolution it will help the juror(s) to make a better judgment and decision about your art. 

  1. Provide Good Quality Images Without Frames

There are many times that we had to choose someone else’s art over another’s, where the quality of the image/entry was poorly presented.  We see entries where the paintings have been reproduced (photographed or scanned) for presentation purposes and as submitted they are poorly cropped (where you see part of the mat or frame), the image is too dark or too light and overall the colors and contrast are out of balance.  Your presentation to the gallery and the juror(s) should be as if you were trying to sell your art to them in person.  You only get one chance to impress the juror(s) and this is not the time to get sloppy with your art submission.

In the coming weeks, we will be posting more articles about ways to and not to submit your art to competitions, as well as how to properly photograph both 2D and 3D artwork.

  1. Enter As Many Shows as Possible

Enter as many shows as possible or as many as you can afford.  You want to do this for a couple of reasons.  First, you need to expose your art to as many people as possible.  Second, you are trying to develop your resume and by entering as many shows as possible, you will build your resume more quickly.  Third, by entering many shows, you can become more selective to the themes and the parameters of each show that will match your work more closely, thus increasing your chances of being accepted.

  1. Don’t Take it Personally If You Don’t Get In

Finally, do not get upset, feel rejected or think negatively about yourself and your art if you are not accepted into a show. The decision whether your art is accepted or not is a very subjective judgment from the person who is making that decision.  It does not mean your art is not good. It does not mean that you do not have skill. However, it can help you to hone your skills as you continue to create your art.

It takes courage for artists to enter their work into art competitions, as they are exposing their art to the possibility of rejection.  Yet, it is through these competitions and being accepted into shows that artists continue to grow and hone their skills. 

We are always thrilled when we see artists improve from one competition to another and even though you may not win or get accepted into one exhibition it does not mean your work will not be accepted next time.  Please visit our Exhibition Archives to see past exhibitions and the kind of art that was accepted in the past.

If you are not getting into as many art exhibitions as you would like, it may not be about the quality of your art, but it may have been one of the other reasons stated above. Make sure your art is prepared and submitted according to the way in which an organization or gallery wants your art presented.  Do not give them a reason to reject your art by not following the rules. 

Work on these tips and suggestions, incorporate them into future submissions and your chances will go up dramatically for being accepted into your next juried art competition. 

Good luck!


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