Top 10 Myths about Entering FRCQ Exhibits
One of the great things about Front Range Contemporary Quilters is our strong exhibit program, which gives our members a chance to show off and maybe even sell our work. People from out of state who rarely attend our meetings still belong, primarily to participate in our exhibits.
FRCQ would like to encourage all members to enter our exhibits. This article is designed to shed light on what really happens behind the scenes, so you’ll feel more comfortable in entering.
- Entering exhibits is only for serious artists who want to sell their work. Well, how else will you BECOME a serious artist if you don’t start stretching yourself by entering shows? Wanting to sell your work isn’t necessary, all that is necessary is a desire to get better. Entering shows and seeing if you get in is a way to gauge the progress you are making as an artist.
- Once I get good, I’ll get into everything I enter. I don’t think there’s a fiber artist out there who gets into every show. Sometimes your work just does not fit into the vision that the juror has. Or the juror may prefer specific styles that aren’t yours. I know of one internationally known artist and teacher who has entered one particular prestigious show multiple times but never gotten in.
- It’s up to me decide whether my art quilt meets the theme and not bother the juror by entering it if I don’t think it fits. If it’s a general theme (for example “Contrast” or “H2OH!”), your work is strong, and you can figure out a way it fits within the theme, give it a try. You won’t be bothering the juror; the juror gets paid for the task. However, for a show that has a specific theme (for example, the SAQA show “Loaded Conversations” about guns), you would be wasting your time and money by entering something that isn’t clearly related to the theme.
- If one juror doesn’t accept my work, that means it’s no good and I shouldn’t bother entering it into another show. Again, each show is different. A strong piece that doesn’t work for one show might be perfect for another. And jurors don’t always have the same tastes. If you believe in the work, keep entering it.
- Exhibits hang themselves and I don’t need to read the instructions. Actually, it takes a dedicated group of volunteers to hang a show. Some exhibit locations have enough staff to hang the show without help from the organizers, but the organizers still have to collect the work from the artists, make sure the paperwork is filled out, and get the work to the venue. And people hanging shows are not mind-readers. If your name and title isn’t on the back of your work, we don’t know whose it is. If your storage bags and packing materials aren’t labeled when the show comes down, the organizers need to scramble to find something to pack the art in, and you may not get your own materials back. People hanging the show can’t fix incorrect prices.
- All exhibition venues have identical hanging systems. Some venues nail or screw the slat to the wall. Others have a hanging system with hangers that drop down from the top of the wall. Other shows use “pipe and drape” with a round pipe that inserts into the sleeve of the art quilt. Whatever the system, you still must have a sleeve (unless your work is mounted). If your work is mounted, you have to make sure that the venue can accommodate a frame.
- FRCQ makes money off of exhibits. While it’s true that the more people who enter our exhibits the more money we take in, FRCQ has to make enough to pay for the entry software we use, the juror’s fee, and the costs for printing postcards and a reception. The goal of FRCQ exhibits is to break even.
- Photos don’t have to be perfect. Amateur photos show that you don’t take your work seriously, and the juror will select other work instead of making allowances for your amateur work. Don’t leave your cutting mat or brick wall showing in the background; no hands or feet showing either; and make sure your camera is pointed straight at your work and not at an angle.
- Photos have to be taken by a professional. You can take your own photos, but you have to have a professional set up to do your work justice. A tripod, good light, and a plain background are necessary. It is often cheaper and less hassle to have someone else tend to this very important step.
- I’ll know why my entry didn’t get into an exhibit. Unless it’s a special feature of an exhibit, artists are never told by the juror why our work wasn’t selected for an exhibit. Sometimes, when you see the pieces that did get in, you’ll realize that yours just didn’t fit; or that other people had similar but stronger pieces. Or you’ll see the photos in the exhibit catalog and realize that your photo did not do your work justice. And sometimes, let’s face it, the juror just doesn’t like your work. Critique groups are where you’ll get specific feedback on your work, and if you aren’t in one, find one or organize one yourself.
We hope this has dispelled all the myths that have been keeping you from entering exhibits. Please remember, and this is no myth, if you don’t enter an exhibit, it’s a certainty that you’ll never get in.
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Please join this fun, lively artistic group of 150+ members. Our monthly meetings feature international, national or local speakers. Only members are eligible to participate in our dynamic workshops and excellent juried exhibitions. Membership dues are $35 a year and membership runs for 12 months. Dues are $25 a year for Student Members, available for those enrolled in a course of study. Membership in FRCQ includes all meetings, a high-quality monthly online newsletter, and eligibility to register for workshops. Visitors are welcome to the monthly meetings for a $10.00 fee.
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(If you would prefer to mail a membership form with a check: FRCQ Membership Form)
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Dates: Every third Monday, January through November.
Location: All meetings are available on-line via Zoom with the link included in our monthly newsletter. Several times per year, we hold hybrid in-person/zoom meetings. The location may vary, so please refer to the MEETINGS page on our website for information as to which meetings are in person and where they will be held.
Time: On-Line meetings run from 7:00-9:00 pm. In-person meetings have social time which starts at 6:30 pm and the meeting from 7:00-9:00 pm.