Sorry, You’ve Been Rejected

It’s tough to deal with rejection, especially if you’re not sure what went wrong.


It's never easy being rejected.


Perhaps you’ve applied to your dream show, but didn’t get in. Or submitted your application to a gallery show hoping to find an opportunity to display your work, and were not given the chance. Jury notifications most often only advise applicants whether they are accepted or not, so you may be left wondering what happened.

If you weren’t juried in, it may have nothing to do with the quality of your work. Perhaps the theme or focus of the competition wasn’t a good fit for what you do, and you simply made a misjudgment in applying. Or, if you are trying to get into a fair or festival in an over-saturated category like jewelry, it could be a real uphill battle to be granted a booth space at all. It may take more than one application to get over that hurdle.

Can you get feedback on your submission? Sometimes, yes. It doesn’t hurt to send an email inquiring whether you can receive a bit of information on how you might be able to improve your application in the future. Don’t expect an in-depth critique; that is not owed to any applicant. But you might hear back with some useful insight into why you got that rejection letter.

Most artists receive a mixture of acceptances and rejections. That’s just life. If you’re experiencing lots of rejection and feel that you need a bit of help, you may benefit from a review of your work from a mentor or advisor. Is your portfolio really well done, or are there flaws? Perhaps your photography isn’t as good as it should be, which is often a reason for rejection. Or, you need to choose a different selection of your work which gives a better presentation.

Finding the right show or exhibition for your artwork is key to submitting winning applications. Take a look at previous exhibitors. Are they your peers? You may want to research the jurors in a particular competition, to see whether they seem to have preferences, and would be either positive or negative given your work.

And always be sure to fill out every application completely, double check to make sure that you have followed the rules, and get it in before the deadline.


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