Stats on my art competition applications from August 2017 through June 2018.*
In the past, I have set a goal of applying to 18 competitions. Eleven months ago, I decided to set more quantifiable and focused goals, specifying how many art competitions I’d apply to across different categories. My goals this past ‘goal-year’ included applying to:
- Six residency or studio programs in NYC
- Three public art open calls/registries
- Six exhibitions in NYC
- Three grants ($3k minimum)
…for a total of 18 competitions.
I also wrote in a lower-priority option of applying to residencies elsewhere. I decided not to specifically pursue:
- professional development programs
In the past twelve months, I actually applied to:
- Two residencies + two studio programs = 4/6
- Three public art open calls/registries = 3/3
- Four exhibitions + (one fellowship + one professional development program due to the solo show opportunities involved) = 6/6
- One grant = 1/3
I also applied to two residencies outside of NYC, bringing the total up to 16 out of 18 applications.
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Awards received (highlighted in color):
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I was a finalist, but not recipient, of one residency. One exhibition application is leading towards inclusion in a show. One public art registry has not responded, as is the nature of these things. One studio program is delaying their program and subsequent announcement of recipients.
Of the 16 total entries, my overall success rate was 1/16, or 6%. Of the 14 entries that have responded to date, my success rate was 1/14, or 7%.*
I paid $45 for two application fees ($10 and $35 respectively). The other 14 applications were free.
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*I can do what I want. 🙂 It was just a good time for me to revisit my goals today. I’m excited and energized to start fresh right now. Some resources that were helpful for me to review:
- Creative Capital’s advice on Personal Goal Setting
- Angela Duckworth, “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” (London: Vauxhall, 2016), especially the chapter on goals and connecting a life purpose to other people’s wellbeing. (You can also read short post on Goals and Deliberate Practice inspired by Duckworth’s book.)
**These odds align with a 1:15 rule of thumb I learned in a Creative Capital professional development workshop. I’m pleasantly surprised, since I believe that focusing on NYC competitions means worse odds due to larger applicant pools. As I found in 2011, “seven of the nine New York programs ranked among the top 11 most competitive” in an analysis of 26 competitions on Temporary Art Review.