Remember this when your art is judged

Creativity takes courage! The whole art journey requires courage: courage to make time for your art, courage to fill a blank canvas, courage to express your inner self, courage to share your art, courage to try something new, etc. 

You can go from creating original pieces of art that bring you joy to wanting to share it with others. One of the ways I share my art in my community is by entering juried shows. These are art shows where you submit your work and and a person or panel will judge your work in order for it to be included in the exhibit.


I was first introduced to the juried show through a friend. It was 2002 and I had just moved to the Princeton area from Munich, Germany the previous year. My friend knew that I painted and said really casually "Hey, do you want to enter an art show? The whole community is invited to participate." So without a thought I said, "Sure, why not?" Not "over thinking it" was probably the best thing that I did. I just picked a piece that I was proud of and submitted. 

The painting was called "Rest" - something I was deeply longing for when I painted it. It got in the show and I was overjoyed! 



A couple of months later, another show came up and I entered. My piece was rejected.

Since then I've entered more shows and my buddies, acceptance and rejection, have become a regular part of my story. I've learned how to deal with it. 



Entering juried shows - the mental part:

  • Be proud of your art. Pick the best of your artwork. (When I started I didn't have much to pick from, sometimes I only had one piece that was ready and that's the one I chose - easy! Even if I got rejected, I was still proud of my piece. 
  • You've already won at your easel. Juried shows are always a bonus. 
  • If your piece doesn't get in, you're permitted ONE day to be bummed and to receive uplifting comments from the people who have your back. After getting rejected by the Smithsonian, I looked over my laptop and told my son "Yup, I got rejected." He said: "Hey, what does the Smithsonian know? They missed out."
    And my life continued! 
  • Don't analyze the whole thing to death. Your only responsibility is to do your best, show up and share your work.

Talk about not staying in the comfort zone with your art! Unless you are hiding art in the attic or the basement for no one to see, you will not encounter judgment of your art. That's staying in the safe zone -  who wants that? But if you believe that art needs to be shared so that you and others can experience it fully, then judgment will be inevitable.  

Tips on entering shows - the practical part:
1. Look for shows online (google juried show, paintings, your area), check out local artists and see what shows they've entered (mine are on my About Page - scroll all the way down), or scan the art section of your newspaper.

2. Write down important dates on your calendar: submission, rejection pickup, opening reception, end of show pickup.

3. Make sure you follow all the guidelines of the show - size, frame, ready to hang, digital submissions, etc.

4. If entering multiple shows, it helps to map them out on your calendar ahead of time. I usually plan most of the shows I'd like to enter in January, so I don't forget when the date comes around. 

THE big picture

Face it. People will judge your art. Some people will like it, some people won't and that's ok. Do you like it? Are you proud of it? You don't have to wait for someone's approval to be a winner.
Remember this when your art is judged: You've already won at your easel. 
All the other compliments you will receive is a bonus. 

take action

Look for a local show, engage with your community and share your art!