The Business of Art Setting Up Call for Entries Files

Tips for creating files to manage artist's "calls for entries". Increase your creativity with challenging new shows and events.
I know that most artist hate the business side of art. I’m going to try to lay out some tips that will be helpful and if it’s not helpful and you just can’t stand to even think about it then find yourself a good virtual assistant and give them this article. They can be your virtual tickler file and send you e-mails to alert you to upcoming deadlines. You might consider even finding a virtual assistant that will work with a group of artists and split the cost.

Setting up your files

Arrange a filing system for TWO YEARS running.

Begin gathering prospectuses and calls for entries. Print out the on-line description of the show as well as the downloaded prospectus and application. Make a cover sheet with a summary of the basic information and staple it all together. The reason for the cover sheet is so you don’t have to spend a half hour searching through the details just to find the mailing address or other information.

Include on the cover sheet in bold large font the following:

  • Annual Show Y or N
  • Name and dates of show
  • Name of gallery or facility
  • Address of the actual location of the show
  • Where to send application
  • Fee requirements
  • Deadline for postmark or receiving application
  • One sentence summary of the type of show

Example cover sheet:

Annual Show YES

“Faces of Summer” Aug 8th - Aug 21st 2010

Blue Moon Gallery, 123 Black St, Greene City, FL 00000

Send application to: BMG, PO Box 123, Greene City, FL 00000-123

Fee: 10$ per entry for up to 3 entries

Deadline: Must be postmarked by June 2, 2010

Summary: Photos of people on summer vacation

File them by due date as you get them. If it is an annual show make two copies and place a copy in the file for the month one year from the current show also.

Create a card file or electronic tickler system.

This is the critical part because if you don’t have a tickler system the show will be upon you and you won’t have work ready and you won’t have your digital files ready. If possible you should have your first tickler alert as early as possible. Many shows don’t put out their prospectus until just a month or two ahead of time but if it is an annual show that you know is coming every year you should give yourself at least a heads up maybe six months in advance and then again at four months and two months.

So let’s say you want to enter the Faces of Summer show above. You have printed out two copies of everything because it is a show that this gallery puts on every year.

You create your cover sheet and file it under the appropriate date - June 2, current year and also file it in the June file for the following year.

Create a card with the information: “June 2nd deadline for Faces of Summer Show” and file it in your card file under the date Feb 2nd. As you look in your card file each day you will see what is coming up. When you get to the Feb. 2nd day you will see the card and hopefully say to yourself “hmmm… I better get going on some work for this show.” Set that as one of your current goals in your planner or calendar and move the card forward to April 2nd. Again when you get to the April 2nd date you will see the card again and you can judge your progress and set more goals. At this point you may want to move the card forward to May or you might want to just move it forward one week. You need to judge for yourself what tickler dates you want to use to keep you on task.

Continue gathering prospectuses and follow up with annual shows to acquire the new prospectus each year. Obviously the prospectus for the previous year will not have precise information for the current year so you will have to access their website or send an e-mail for the new one each year prior to submitting your work. You will want to get the new prospectus as early as possible. If the gallery has a mailing list you will want to be sure to be on it. If you don’t receive the new prospectus you will have to request it.

Hopefully this system will keep you working on fresh new creations and the thought of the new shows approaching each year will provoke new and exciting ideas.

Other articles I have written on art:

Guidelines and Tips for Making Art With Kids

Art Supplies: Different Types of Paint Used in Art

Art Supplies: Paper Used in Art for Drawing and Painting

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Posted on Apr 14, 2010