Call for entries

Included is a sample of the Call for Entries we use. It is modeled from other Calls for Entry because there is a rough format all Call for Entries follow. The call explains:

It's designed so that artists can get a sense of the essential information quickly when grouped among the many diverse calls sent and posted on email lists, websites, and so on.

No Surprises

You'll notice that our sample call tries to make it as clear as possible what the Budget Gallery is and what we are about. For example, most galleries can reasonably assure their artists that their work will not be vandalized while in their care. We cannot. Likewise, we can't assure that their work won't be stolen or damaged. It's important that people understand this, as well as all the benefits of showing with the Budget Gallery - such as access to a non-art audience, getting outside a gallery space, the opportunity to show new types of work, or to just clean out their studios without throwing work directly into the garbage.

All this is designed to avoid any surprise contact from an outraged artist saying "YOU'RE PUTTING MY PRECIOUS PAINTING ON THE STREET? WHAT KIND OF GALLERY ARE YOU!?!" This situation is not only awkward, but time consuming, unnecessary, and avoidable. Making things clear on the Call For Entries and Entry Form can reasonably ensure that no artist will be surprised at the opening. Keep in mind that on the other hand, most artists are excited about how the Budget Gallery works and what we do - which you probably understand because you are reading this. The fact that artwork will be placed in public space, and can be sold, stolen, or vandalized is actually an attraction for many artists who are interested in showing with the Budget Gallery.

Keep It Short

In general, CFE's should be short and concise - one page maximum. They should convey the spirit of the show and any theme you do (or don't) have to guide the artist. They should include the deadline to receive work and an address you can accept submissions from. Also, mention the date of the show and the location, if you know where the show will be (we often don't). And again, make it clear what the Budget Gallery is, the strengths and potential risks of showing.

Keep It Open

Notice our sample call says Open Call For Entries. There are open calls and closed calls. Open calls are open to anyone, closed are limited to certain people. Budget Gallery calls are always open because we want to allow anyone to show.

Deciding on a theme

A broad theme can help inspire artists and give all the different work from disparate artists a common thread. One that is too broad may return work you hadn't intended for the theme. One that is too narrow can be read as restrictive. For example, some artists may read the theme and say "I don't have any art that's about 16th Century German Horsecarts" and not send anything. Beyond these guidelines, the theme is pretty much up to you. Here's some other things to consider:

  1. Because you are doing a show on such a short timeline, you can be more responsive to current events than most curators. (Galleries and museums typically don't work on 6 week timelines)
  2. Remember, open ended or somewhat ambiguous names and themes allow people to follow or stray from the theme, and this can be a good thing.
  3. You don't really need a theme if you don't want one! A good show name is sometimes all it takes.

Naming your show

If you are following the guidelines of the Budget Gallery you can (and should) use Budget Gallery in the name of your project. Like Budget Gallery Portland, or the Baltimore Budget Gallery. And then come up with a name for your individual show. Try to tie the name into the theme, make it catchy, and you get bonus points if it's inherently funny. And special arty points if it can have multiple meanings.

Size Restrictions

Make size restrictions on the art work you will accept based on what you can accommodate as the organizer and what works best for the site. For example, if it's a windy place, you should ask that all paper work be mounted in some way - like on a piece of cardboard. If you are hanging work on a fence, ask for no work over a certain weight. If you don't have a car, limit work to a size you can carry on your bicycle.

Drop off Deadline and Accepting Work

List an address where you can accept packages. Also include a drop off day or two where you will be around to receive work artists would like to drop off in person. The day of the deadline and the days prior are usually good days to receive work in person. It's a good opportunity to hang around and meet the artists as well.

Now use our sample Call For Entry, make the necessary changes and send that thing out!

Sending the Call

We send our calls as far and wide as possible without being pests. Overtime you can create a healthy email list for your Budget Gallery. A list of interested people who have given you work before and/or attended your shows in the past is the most effective list. Make sure you create a mailing list and include a way to subscribe and unsubscribe on everything you send out. Also, when sending out your call be sure to ask people to forward it on to others.

For your first ever mailing, this is a typical list of recipients.

Entry form

Linked is our sample entry form.

We make this is available to anyone who submits work by putting it on our website.

Every artist who submits a piece needs to fill one out. If an artist submits more than one piece they need to fill out a form for each piece. Keeping track of everything with these forms makes it much easier when documenting the work and entering it into the website. The form also helps you to properly give credit to the artists.

Make everyone fill out a form for each piece they submit.

Keep extra copies of this form handy when people come by to drop off work. Some will have forgotten the form and it's easy to hand them an extra copy.

Next you'll want to get ready to receive work...

Download Entry Form:

No Surprises

You'll notice that our sample call tries to make it as clear as possible what the Budget Gallery is and what we are about. For example, most galleries can reasonably assure their artists that their work will not be vandalized while in their care. We cannot. Likewise, we can't assure that their work won't be stolen or damaged. It's important that people understand this, as well as all the benefits of showing with the Budget Gallery - such as access to a non-art audience, getting outside a gallery space, the opportunity to show new types of work, or to just clean out their studios without throwing work directly into the garbage.

All this is designed to avoid any surprise contact from an outraged artist saying "YOU'RE PUTTING MY PRECIOUS PAINTING ON THE STREET? WHAT KIND OF GALLERY ARE YOU!?!" This situation is not only awkward, but time consuming, unnecessary, and avoidable. Making things clear on the Call For Entries and Entry Form can reasonably ensure that no artist will be surprised at the opening. Keep in mind that on the other hand, most artists are excited about how the Budget Gallery works and what we do - which you probably understand because you are reading this. The fact that artwork will be placed in public space, and can be sold, stolen, or vandalized is actually an attraction for many artists who are interested in showing with the Budget Gallery.