Preparing for summer art festivals is always a challenge. Long before a show (sometimes as much as 6 months), the deadlines loom for applications. Sending in pictures on one’s newest work, an example of display, and artist statements are always required to show that one is prepared to participate. Most importantly, does the artist have the goods?
Except it’s not always so simple. Especially in the category of jewelry.
Jewelers make up the most competitive group at any art festival. They (most times) have the most spots allocated to them, but they BY FAR have the most artists applying for any given festival in their category. Not to mention that a lot of the higher-end shows use “grandfathering”, where once an artist is accepted, they are in if they want to return – which means fewer new spaces. Those can be opened up every few years (a number of shows re-open each category every few years or so, where everyone needs to be re-juried in), but when artists know their category is more open, more people apply – in theory. So, a LOT of competition.
As a professional actor, I’m used to competition. But for some reason, approaching it as an artist is a little different.
First of all, I’m not there when people make up their minds. Or even when they see what I bring to the table. When an actor auditions for a role, if they have some experience, they can tell – at least a little – if their audition went well or not. For artists, we just send off our files, hope for the best, and hear back in a few weeks or so. So, a series of rejections is tougher because we have no idea what went well in our “audition” for the jury, and what did not.
I’ve been fortunate the last few years to get into quite a number of art festivals. This year, I decided to branch out to some of the really top shows in the country. The ones I’ve been in historically have been high ranking (top 25% or so), but I went for a few considered to be the top 5%. And – sigh – not accepted. Yet. Some put me on the wait list (which is a lovely sign for a developing artist!), but the top of the top, although my aim, are not for me for 2015. Now, I do what I do as an actor. Take a deep breath, move on, and focus on what shows I HAVE been accepted to – ones I’m excited to do this year!
Schedule still not complete, but coming soon.
2015, here we go.