The reasons not to enter art competitions are manifold: the cost of materials and time, stress, energy, and entry fees (particularly when the prize is ambiguously phrased as “promotion”). Nonetheless, entering art competitions can be incredibly valuable, even if you don’t win, and here’s why.
It Can Be a Learning Curve
Competitions often place restrictions on the type of entries they will accept. Sometimes it’s a thematic restriction (portraits only, for example). Sometimes it’s size, or shape, or color. Nonetheless, working within restrictions set by somebody else can really temper your process and may, therefore, be a valuable learning tool.
Networking and Prestige
Art competitions are likely to be attended by buyers, art critics, jury members, interested members of the public, and other artists. The events are a great place to get noticed, to network, to find inspiration and ideas, and to potentially meet your next buyer.
If Nothing Else, Entering Will Help You Keep Your Portfolio Current And Your Attitude In Check
If you’re a procrastinator, being required to meet deadlines is possibly the only way that you’ll manage to keep your portfolio up to date. Submitting your art prior to the entry deadline is a surefire way to kill two birds with one stone. Or three birds, if you also take the opportunity to reflect on the direction that your art is going and your future artistic goals.
Whether entering art competitions are worth it depends entirely on what you’re hoping to get from the experience. If you feel like you’ll benefit from the process of creating a piece for the competition and the potential prestige and exposure, then you should definitely consider entering suitable competitions. If the stress, frustration or the prospects of rejection are hurting your process, then maybe the competition route isn’t perfect for you right now.
With that in mind, if you’ve decided that you might be interested in entering an art competition in the future, you should keep your eyes peeled for our upcoming blog post about art competitions that are worth entering. It’s in the works at the moment, so you won’t be waiting for too long!