I look for calls for artists on a regular basis. Many times it is so I can share with my students on our Facebook wall, and with artists who may be interested. Most calls require some kind of payment for entry regardless of whether you make the show. Yes, that fee is not usually returned if you are not accepted.
Every year nationwide artists apply to the annual Black Creativity juried exhibition at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. It is a show that artists across the country of African descent look forward to each year. The top prize is currently $3,000.00.
In the late 90's when I won First Prize it was half that, $1500.00. No, the museum has not increased the prizes across the board, they created a larger cash prize by cutting back on the number of cash awards, now giving three and a small $250.00 award for a youth artist. For as long as I can remember the total cash awards have been $6,000.00 although the fees have increased from about $15.00 in the 1980's to, currently, $50.00.
Invitationals sometimes ask for a fee as well. In this case, it's never quite clear what you are paying for. It's often described as a "hanging fee", but usually each artist submits one or two average to small works that could hang on a nail or rest on a pedestal. I think I would rather pay a "curator fee " for the person putting the exhibition together. I often produce exhibitions that I don't get paid for, and think I may start charging that fee.
These open calls for art allow artists opportunities to build their resume, offer a chance to win some cash, and get a critique from a particular judge who indicates that they respond to what you submitted when they select your work. Of course there are many reasons for not getting into a show. That could include the judges preferential tastes in art (she likes abstracts) or sometimes, unfortunately, their limited knowledge...of course sometimes the work an artist submits is just bad, or the digital images submitted are bad.
OK, here's my pet peeve, and I implore everyone who posts a Call-For Art to pay attention to this. I have to search too long and arduously to find requirements and restrictions for these exhibtions.
I would like to request that all "calls-for-art" show requirements AND restrictions in the first lines of the call so we artists don't spend so much time uncovering this vital information, only to eventually find out that we don't qualify for some reason. Arts organizations, museums, galleries, art centers and artists/curators, please show the same information all good journalists include in a report:
WHO: Age, gender and race limitations, if any, whether students can submit, etc.
WHAT: include eligible media, scale, date completed limitations, fees and prizes
WHERE: include the city, state and country as well as the name of the venue. I don't know where some of these towns are.
WHEN: deadline for submissions, notification of inclusion dates, date artists should deliver or mail by, the duration of the exhibition
WHY: to showcase certain media, to honor a month such as Black History or Women's Month, etc.
Every minute counts!
"American Landscape" 30" x 40", acrylic and paper and fabric collage on canvas is at Koehnline Museum until March 23, 2012.