Submitting Season

By: Elaina Johann, administrative manager on March 20th, 2024

Artists face deadlines year-round. From my observation, this time of year brings on the “submitting season.” Artists and art enthusiasts alike can’t miss the open calls. Between social media accounts that you follow, e-newsletters that you subscribe to, and scrolling through sites that aggregate artist opportunities, there are numerous applications for juried or solo exhibitions, artist residencies, and individual grants. Sites such as Call for Entry, Young Space, and Springboard for the Arts do a good job of pulling together exhibitions from across the internet for artists to apply to, aggregating artist residency opportunities in e-newsletters, and compiling grant opportunities for artists.

As a working artist myself, I certainly feel the pressure of submitting season. Working full-time, it can be a challenge to find the hours for your creative practice. For me, it helps to have a home studio and hunker down for the winter. However, when cold or dreary weather invites artists to stay warm inside, life can bring distractions that prohibit making. Maybe the studio is a little too messy and you just can’t use your supplies properly. Could it be that your kitchen instead requires cleaning? Or that you have family visiting for the weekend? Regardless, you work through the roadblocks and find the time to apply for these opportunities to advance your practice.

Photograph of an artist studio, paintings in the forground with paints and supplies behind.

In fall, I started a group of paintings that remained unresolved through the winter. Then last week, I found myself crunching to finish three of those paintings to make a few exhibition deadlines. Often, it is difficult for me to tell if a painting is complete until I return to it after some time has passed, which could take only a couple of hours, but could also be days or weeks. For two of the paintings, I knew they were done at the end of my dedicated studio day, but for the third, I couldn’t yet tell as I suspected it might need another move or two. If it did, that would mean it would need time to dry and I would have to complete those moves before or after work to photograph and make the impending submission deadline. Luckily, I went back to it early in the morning and felt it just needed one more thing. When returning after work, I knew it was done and ready to submit.

Three abstract paintings

Elaina Johann, A Steady Horizon, 23 x 33 1/4, If There Were Clouds, 56 x 34, Fields, 9 3/4 x 12, 2024, acylic on canvas

At the Woodson Art Museum, we fall into this spring submitting season as entries to the 2024 Birds in Art exhibition are due on Monday, April 15. Artists presenting artwork interpreting birds and related subject matter, working in all mediums other than photography can submit up to two works for jury consideration. More details about submitting can be found at the prospectus on our website.

Ad for submitting to birds in art, deadline to submit April 15, artwrok of birds sitting on post

In my role at the Museum, I filter many of the questions artists have about submitting to Birds in Art. I am happy to answer any questions and relieve anxieties about entering artwork.  To all the artists under the pressure of submitting, know that I too am in the same boat – I am also seeing and feeling the pressure of nearing deadlines and working right up to them. Take it from me: don’t let the dishes pile up or let the in-laws visit until April 16!

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