Juried Shows? Are They Worth It?

I get a lot of posts for Juried Art Shows that are held throughout the country.  Some are free to enter but most of them you must pay in order to submit paintings and enter the competition.  The costs can range anywhere from $5 to over $25 per image.  So it can become costly if that is an avenue that an artist is going to use in order to compete.

Professional Artist Month Contest 2013
Professional Artist Month Contest 2013

Although every artist is probably expected to enter these shows, in my mind it can be a huge waste of time and money.  It may look good on your resume, but only if you win a competition and then, the glory is only fleeting.  You have your 15 minutes of fame and then it’s gone, even in such publications as “The Artist’s Magazine” or “Professional Artist“.  It seems that the competitions that are won in these forums are either completely abstract or hyper-realistic paintings.  The winners are usually those who are already successful full-time artists with many years of experience.  It’s no wonder they win these competitions.  It’s an uphill battle for those just beginning their careers (especially if mostly self-taught).  The fees paid by lesser known artists go right into the pocket of the full-time professional artists and the organization that sponsored the competition.

I have entered many juried shows and was once a finalist for my painting “The Boyz” (second row, third from left in above image) in Professional Artists Magazine Contest.  It was an honor, but as you can see it is mainly realists’ art.  I do prefer realism over abstract but I also like a painting to be a painting and not hyper-realistic.  I admire those artists that are able to do hyperrealism, but they also have the benefit of many years of school with world renown professionals.  I was never able to afford that type of schooling, even the workshops are too costly for me to attend at the moment.

So for me, I choose to enter free shows when I can find them and will try to keep it local in order to avoid shipping charges.  Maybe one day I’ll have my 15 minutes of fame in one of the magazines but I won’t be holding my breath nor my brush waiting for recognition.  I’ll make my own path for now.