The Best Advice about Entering Juried Shows


I was Zoom-chatting with fellow artists when someone raised the topic of an upcoming juried show. What were we each going to submit for jurying?

The show criteria specified that each entry must be created within the last 18 months, not exhibited anywhere prior to submission (though social media was acceptable) and measure less than 36 inches wide, framed.

One by one we held up our artwork to the camera to get feedback from the group. Further discussion ensued about what styles the Jurors might prefer.

The next day, I talked to another artist who had spent many years as a Juror. Her advice (and yes, this was the best advice I have ever received) was, “Within the show criteria, submit your best piece.”

She continued, "don’t worry if your work is representational and you think the Jurors prefer abstract. And don’t worry if your work is edgy and non-objective, and you think the Jurors might favour representational. Whatever your process, your technique, your style, and your subject, always present your best work to the Jurors. For example, if you paint still life, paint an apple with so much artistry that viewers can practically taste it! That’s the kind of work Jurors want to see."

I took her advice to heart and entered two of my flower paintings because they make me feel like dancing. Though neither piece won an award, I felt very good about my entries because they were my best. And, maybe next year my paintings will make the Jurors want to dance too!

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