Excitement, validation, elation, these are just a few of the emotions we feel when our artwork is chosen for a juried show.
I really remember the first time my work was selected for a show at Chicago’s Women Made Gallery titled “From Sham to Shame.” King George was one of my first artists’ books and my teacher, Tess Sinclair, recommended that I enter. When I got the “congratulations” email, I couldn’t believe it. Somehow having my work chosen was validation that my work was “real” art. It had to be, since a gallery liked it, right? I think I called everyone in my family – twice.
I also remember the first “thanks but no thanks” response that I got. Wow, was that a let down. Ironically, it was from the gallery I’m about to tell you about. In hindsight I understand that: 1. it was not my strongest work; 2. sometimes the work you submit doesn’t fit with the juror’s vision; and 3. sometimes there are more entries than the gallery has room for.
In the interest of full disclosure: I am a huge fan of Laura Russell, owner of 23 Sandy Gallery. She taught the first book arts class that I ever took and is largely responsible (together with a great experience at Donna Seager Gallery’s annual The Art of the Book show) for my becoming a book artist. I also love her artists’ books, especially, Colfax Day and Night. And, I appreciate her generosity in both time and enthusiasm in helping artists be successful. Laura has given guest lectures to the Bay Area Book Artists (and I’m sure any book arts organization who has asked) and taken the time to help me with my business plan when I was studying for my BFA.
I recently emailed Laura asking if I could interview her for my blog about the jurying process and, by coincidence, on the same day, Laura published a blog entry of her own on exactly that subject: Behind the Scenes of Jurying an Exhibition.
And, while I’m at it, let me point you to some of my other favorite blog posts by Laura:
How to Get Your Artwork into a Gallery
Photographing Your Artist Books – Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
Have you entered your work into a show yet? How did it feel to get accepted? How did it feel to get a no thanks letter?