how to decide if an art competition is right for you

Save time: If you answer NO to any of the following questions, simply move on from this particular opportunity. Leave it. Be on to the next thing.

Are you eligible?

E.g., basic requirements for geographic restrictions, student status, etc.

Are you an appropriate candidate?

E.g., if disciplines, languages, or career/experience levels are specified.

Are you willing to pay the entry fee?

Are you willing to pay or find financial assistance for fees or costs associated with the opportunity?

Consider travel, accommodations, shipping, insurance, materials, framing, overhead (time off of work, studio and home rent while away), etc. Consider that stipends and reimbursements may be issued as taxable income, fiscal sponsors often take a 10-15% administrative fee, and international bank transfers and checks incur transaction fees.

Do the potential benefits of applying outweigh the costs of applying?

E.g., who are the jurors and how much is a few seconds or minutes of their attention worth to you?

If selected, will the benefits of participating outweigh the costs and risks of participating?

E.g., for exhibitions, how optimal will the viewing conditions be? Who is the venue’s audience? What are the chances your work will be damaged in transport, installation, events, de-installation? For public art projects, how much of the budget will be spent on heavy equipment, insurance, and your own labor over the course of a multi-month or multi-year process? How will your productivity at a residency be affected by its location? How will you access groceries, supplies, and transport?

Are you willing to meet the requirements of the opportunity?

E.g., if residents are required to contribute a work of art to the collection, or eight hours per week teaching, or use headphones in studios; exhibiting artists must submit work ready-to-hang, accept a 50/50 split in the case of sales; grantees must submit a receipts or a final report, etc.

Are you available for the time commitment?

For residencies or fellowships, consider the policies on guests and taking leaves.

Are you willing to list references or request letters of recommendation, if needed?

Do you have adequate time to complete your submittal by the deadline?

For hard copy submittals, note whether the deadline is for receipt or postmark.

Do you have adequate time to develop a proposal you will be happy to realize and a reasonable budget, if required?

Is the call source reputable? Is the call free of red flags? Is the opportunity with a trustworthy organization?

Is the opportunity aligned with your goals as an artist?

If you aren’t sure what your goals are, set some time to write and review your goals in the next 14 days.

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