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Strategic Thinking When Applying to a Juried Opportunity

  The value of being in a juried exhibition or book is the free publicity, broad visibility, and long-term credibility.  These benefits are certainly worth investing some time and perhaps a little money. 

When applying to a juried opportunity, some strategic thinking will improve your chances of selection.   I recommend that you review the TOP TEN TIPS for Getting Into a Juried Exhibition, Show, Book, or Magazine in the Professional Guidelines.

Spice_mod2BThink about how your work can be interpreted within the theme and plan your work accordingly.

Begin by carefully reading the purpose and goals for the exhibition, show, or book. 

Analyze the statement with your own creative interpretation.  The most important point is... don't rule yourself out because of any initial impression that your work doesn't fit perfectly.  Instead, try to construe how any of your work could fit the stated premise with a little creative interpretation.  This may seem like a challenge but here is what I mean in this case. 

Spice_mod4B I often look up the meaning for every word in the title, theme, and description in a dictionary and online. 
Look for interpretations that you have and haven't considered. WRITE DOWN YOUR IDEAS.... every one of them. This gives me a range of possibilities to provide some focus areas without being too limiting.

Then, if I don't have a match in mind yet, I do an online search of my local library system to identify some topical books.  I go to the library and walk through the stacks near the identified books looking for new ideas.  Sometimes I will take home piles of related books to look even further.  Yes, I will sometimes invest hours in my research and thinking.  

Spice_mod7B Extensive research may develop alternative possibilities for the opportunity, but don't look at other artists' and makers' work.  Look at "primary sources" especially if you want to make something outside the usual expectation or forms. Think about an unusual format or design or content.  Redefine the usual parameters.

Design. This is a really important word to me.  What does the word "design" mean to you?  I think of many possibilities:

  • repetition of forms
  • repetition of elements
  • ornamental design
  • graphic design
  • aesthetic design
  • modern design
  • rectilinear design
  • ethnic design
  • native American design
  • architectural design
  • holloware design
  • CAD-CAM design
  • furniture design
  • industrial design

Can you add to my list?
Please do in the comments for this blog post. BermanBookManCreation
"And There Was Light" book hold spice box

Artist: Harriete Estel Berman

Mezuzah2 MOCK-UPS AND MODELS.  I often make 3-D mock-ups prior to a sculpture using recycled cereal boxes. My son will sometimes do CAD drawings from my cardboard models.  This time invested in making models reveals plenty of issues and improvements to help the final work stand out.

  Pear Mezuzah © 2011
  Post-consumer recycled tin cans
  Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
  Following the precept of Tikkun Olam

Novel structures, interesting appearance, and original concepts. Showing your artist’s voice in a truly creative object will serve your work. Innovate with different kinds of different shapes, sizes, arrangements, purposes, and imaginative designs.

Repeat this process. Practice this way of thinking regularly to submit to other juried books and exhibitions. It does take a little extra effort but it will improve your odds of selection. Although you never really know how jurors will react, you do need to help the jurors find a reason to select your work above other submissions.  

And the most important action is APPLY, otherwise, you have zero chance of being selected for the book, show, etc.

Good luck with your application.    


This post was updated on February 8, 2022.