Tips For Running an Art Call

Art Call – Getting Started

This article is offered to the web community of C4E as a public service. We are not offering legal advice about setting up calls for entry. The comments/opinions in this article are the productions of an individual author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire C4E team.

Running an art call is a good match for many art galleries.  Art calls are a great way to raise interest in the gallery as they tend to generate excitement and further connect the gallery with the local community. Hosting a call for entries can also be a great way for a gallery to discover and feature new talent. In fact, some galleries run their entire year of exhibitions with calls to artists. Other groups that run art call for entries include museums, various non-profit art associations such as art councils and art leagues, art publications, art festivals and even bloggers who run art specific blogs. For profit businesses run art calls as a way to both support the arts and to establish a more visible presence in the art market.  Whatever your model, keep in mind that artists typically value exposure for their work over financial reward. How you reward artists with meaningful exposure will help you gain a foothold in the competitive call for entries market.

It is important to establish credibility in the marketplace. Make sure artists understand how you will handle their copyrighted work and that your art call is not an excuse to grab image rights. Be sure to communicate the requirements of your call as clearly as possible and offer your audience transparency by publishing your physical address, email contact and phone number. It should be easy for artists to contact you with their questions. Be sure to clearly outline what you offer in terms of exposure for the artists’ work, any rewards or in kind opportunities that can benefit the participants, particularly the winners.

Until you have a system down, there is more to running an art call than you might think. The following checklist should give you a good roadmap for getting your art call off the ground.

Checklist for your Art Call

1.     Define your goal.

o What are you trying to achieve with your art call?

o How will the artist benefit?

o What is in it for your organization?

2.     Define your desired budget to cover costs of:

o Exhibition space

o Advertising costs for online and print

o Juror compensation

o Insurance costs

o Third party software utilization

o Submission system

o Website to announce your art call (like C4E at

o Support staff

o Submission fees

3.     Choose a theme or subject matter. Some art calls have no theme and allow artists to submit work from a specific time period.

4.     Select a juror or jurors. This is important as using the right juror or jurors can go a long way in establishing credibility for your art call. C4E works with established professional artists and photographers. If you need to find a juror let us know so that we can put out the word for you among our base.

5.     Decide on juror compensation.

6.     Write background information about:

o Your organization

o Your jurors

o Your venue

o Prospectus for event

o Image licensing

o Copyright

7.     Decide on the award/s:

o Are you awarding money, merchandise, exhibition space?

o Exposure?

o Both?

8.     Decide the lifespan of your art call:

o When will you announce your art call?

o How long will the call be open?

o Decide ahead of time if you will have an extended deadline.  Plan on submissions arriving in batch at the last moment!

o Decide on timeframe for juror/s to review and select work.

o Decide on timing of the exhibit if you will be displaying selected work.

o Pick the opening date.

o Pick work retrieval date.

9.     Write up terms and conditions for participation. Some of your terms may include or address the following:

o Who can participate in your art call? Local, international? Age restrictions?

o Outline acceptable media such as drawing, painting, photography, etc.

o Define timeframe for artwork (i.e. produced within the last three years).

o Outline acceptable sizes of original pieces.

o Outline digital file requirements (format, size, and resolution) if your entrants are first submitting work for online review.

o If accepting international art entries outline any specific guidelines that pertain to those entrants.

o Outline what artists must provide (i.e. artist statement, education, etc.).

o Define artist responsibilities (shipping of work, delivery and pickup of artwork, verification of model release if needed, etc).

o State that proper representation of artwork is required.

o State that artist agrees to have work exhibited.

o State that the jury decision is final.

o Define who is responsible for insuring artwork while in your venue.

o Outline copyright and terms of use for images that are sent to your organization.

o Define fees for participation and refund policy if one will exist.

o State commission if works will be for sale through your venue.

o Define how unsold work will be handled.

o Outline how winners will be notified.

10. Create an entry form. These can be quite simple with an existing third party service that handles art call events where they handle fee payments, hosting of images and provide an online interface for your jurors to make selections. Fees for third party services are variable.

11. If you are charging artists for submissions, decide how you will accept submission fees. Many organizations use Paypal, some accept checks, and others use third party call for entry services.

12. State under which conditions art calls may be cancelled and what happens to submissions and payments received.

13. Create a dedicated website or create a dedicated page in your current website that deals with all of the art call details. If you need help putting together a professional web presence our team deals with all aspects of web design and content management solutions. See some of our work at and

14. Marketing checklist:

o Pre-announce on your website to establish search engine position – let artists know that your call is coming

o Make sure that your web page is SEO friendly (Let us know if you need assistance. Consider a featured listing for added visibility and increased visibility in our managed social media platforms)

o Get your art call listed on C4E and other outlets that list call for entries

o Create a press release

o Schedule your outreach announcements

o Leverage your social media outlets.  Be sure to use appropriate hashtags like #artcall, #callforart, #callforentries, #callforentry, #artcontest, #artcompetition

o Send out newsletters and updates about your art call to your distribution list. Create an artist newsletter sign up on your site. We can help if you need assistance. You can also rely on C4E to send out your art call to our registered subscribers if you use our featured listing option.  

o Consider online advertising campaigns with Google Adwords and Bing. Use keywords like art call, call for art, call for entries, call for entry, art contest, art competition, your location, and make sure to localize the scope to limit your expense. Use our seasoned web professionals to help you manage your online campaign.

o If hosting an exhibit plan the promotion of the exhibit as well.

o And last but not least don’t forget the gala or opening night event which will need its own promotion

Need more advice getting your art call off the ground? Our team can help you.  Our team focuses on custom software development, all aspects of web design and content management solutions as well as the creation of online presentation and digital media solutions and marketing assistance with SEO specialists and social media promotion. Our design team is known for creating sophisticated graphics and websites for those working in business and the arts.

Additionally through our partner service you can offer your participants increased benefits by offering them discounted portfolio websites through FolioLink. Call us to discuss this option and how you may be able to offer increased benefits to your artists.






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