Yesterday there was a storm coming, and I captured an amazing dramatic sky with my iPhone. By this morning the storm had settled in and it was raining buckets, just absolutely pouring, when I got up. There is something wonderful about hearing the rain come down outside and being cozed up inside with a cup of tea, don’t you think? This morning while I was in my comfy chair, I created this image I’m calling “Storm Coming.”
This image is part of a growing group of photographs with the “Trees in Space” theme. (I don’t think that’s the final name for the series, but it’s the best I’ve got so far.) The first couple of these came about quite by accident but I’ve continued to play and discover what it takes to make a good final image. It’s interesting how the first one or two came easily but the later ones are taking more work. I think I’m getting pickier about the end result, and it’s not just playing around any more. It’s interesting to observe, real time, how random play helped with discovery of this technique and then how it transitioned to artistic intent. I guess that is a transition that any series has to make at some point, to become a cohesive body of work. I think it would be fun to have enough good images in this series to exhibit them as a group someday, so I’ll keep working on them.
Speaking of exhibitions… I received a question on yesterday’s post on how I find out about exhibitions. It was a great question, and I realized that while I’ve talked about submitting to exhibitions before, I had never discussed how I find them in the first place.
I’ve mentioned this before, but I have been lucky to find and join the local photography guild, the Willamette Valley PhotoArts Guild, which is dedicated to supporting photographic artists. I first learned about upcoming exhibitions through this organization. There are a couple of members in the guild who are well connected in the arts community, and they forward on the “Call to Artists,” which is what the notifications of an upcoming exhibition that is seeking submissions are called.
Since I’ve been applying and participating in exhibitions, I’ve learned a bit about where and how these all happen, and I can share a few ideas on how you can find them in your area:
Some ideas on where to find exhibitions:
- Join a local art guild. I am a member of two different art guilds in the area, the Corvallis Art Guild (which includes all 2D art except traditional photography) and the PhotoArts Guild I’ve already mentioned. Not all art guilds welcome photographers, but they can still be a useful resource for tapping into the local art community and learning about exhibitions. Not all send on Calls to Artists to their membership like the PhotoArts Guild either, so check on how the guild supports its membership. I encourage you to join regardless, however, because it is great way to learn and connect into a community of artists.
- Find a local arts center. Our local Arts Center sends out Calls to Artists, and hosts exhibitions supporting both local and national artists. They have a small gallery space dedicated to rotating exhibits of local artists, and this is where my Market/Wheels series was exhibited last April.
- Look at local colleges and universities. Many universities and community colleges have gallery spaces where they rotate exhibits, often in meeting centers that are rented out to companies and organizations. When you find one, look for contact information and request to be put on their mailing list.
- Look at town and city halls. Public buildings often have exhibition spaces in their lobbies and will send out Calls to Artists. Again, search out the contact and ask to be put on their mailing list.
- Notice non-traditional gallery spaces in the local area. Some businesses, like restaurants or offices, will use rotating art exhibits from local artists to decorate their walls. We have stores in town that offer window space for exhibitions as well. When you see one, ask for contact information for the coordinator.
- Ask other local artists. If you meet artists locally at arts fairs, open studios or other events, ask them if they exhibit and then pick their brain if they do! Most artists are open and helpful, and can give you some tips on where to look and how to find out about exhibitions. Each area is going to be different and you will need to learn how to tap into the artist’s network in your local area.
The list so far focuses on local exhibitions, because those are often the easiest to get into and a good place to start your journey into exhibitions, without a lot of hassle with transporting your art a long way. Some other places to look, beyond the local community:
- Look for arts centers or galleries in the larger area dedicated to your art medium and get on their mailing list for updates and call for entries. Portland, Oregon is 90 miles from where I live, but it’s the biggest city near me and is home to a great art community. Newspace Center for Photography and Blue Sky Gallery are both located in Portland and dedicated to supporting the photographic arts, both locally and nationally. Since these organizations support a larger base, competition is much, much higher to get into exhibitions they host. (I’m kind of amazed I got a piece accepted at Newspace!)
- CaFÉ™, or CallforEntry.org, is a website that supports different organizations with online submissions for exhibitions. You can sign up and be notified via email about Calls to Artists through them.
There are probably many more, but these are the ones I’ve learned about so far in my journey into exhibiting over the last year and a half. Start by doing a web search for local guilds and exhibitions being shown in your area, and go from there. There may be a vibrant arts community right under you nose, and you only need to join it!