A simple search on ArtConnect brings up many different types of creative opportunities. It is great to have so many options, but how do you know which one fits you?
We’ve broken down the main types of creative opportunities that you’ll come across. Whether you want to take part in an exhibition, interested in finding someone to collaborate with, or a writer seeking to publish your work, there are bound to be opportunities out there for you.
1. Calls for Exhibitions
An opportunity to exhibit my work? Where can I sign up!? Exhibition opportunities offer different ways of presenting your work in a public setting – temporarily or more long-term. They might have a theme, or focus on a specific discipline or area.
Art spaces and institutions may issue open calls for group exhibitions or solo presentations. They might look for existing work, new or site-specific projects. In any case, open calls will outline the fee (if any) that is offered, and the related costs that are covered by the organizing institution.
And if you’re a curator, there are also calls for exhibition concepts and proposals. Apexart is a good reference for this. It regularly puts out open calls for exhibition concepts each year.
Applying to an exhibition open call could help you get your work seen. But there’s another plus you might not have considered. Maybe you end up exhibiting with an unexpected group of diverse and inspiring artists. Who knows? Some new collaborations might come out of it.
2. Collaboration Calls
Collaboration calls are typically created by artists and creatives for artists and creatives. An artist might be looking for other artists, dancers, or performers for a particular project or event, for instance. Or there may be opportunities for more long-term collaborations, such as artist collectives or associations.
Artist groups sometimes look for new members to share studio and exhibition space. This allows them to divide responsibilities, workspace and costs in order to make it more manageable for individuals. And at the same time, artists can pool resources and sometimes even curate or produce projects and exhibitions together.
“By working together, voices have a greater chance of being heard.”
In any case, it can be a great way to realize your work, get involved in something new, or just branch out. Collaborations can also be an effective means of building community – and by working together, voices have a greater chance of being heard.
Berlin-based curator and performance artist Deer Dianx, for example, runs an ongoing open call for trans* performers and models for participation in a performance and photo project about trans* bodies.
Maybe you’re looking for other artists to work with on a particular project that you have in mind, or you’re interested in joining a collective – look out for opportunities offered by other artists or groups that might be a good fit for you, or create your own!
Contests and competitions for awards, grants and prizes are another common type of art opportunity. They may offer winners a grant or cash prize, the possibility to present their work, or a combination of both.
Again, some competitions may focus on a particular discipline, medium, or chosen topic. Yet others, like the annual Berlin Art Prize, leave it up to artists to make a free selection from their existing work to submit for consideration.
It’s probably not surprising at this point, but competition open calls also vary in their application processes. Some are based on anonymity, and others require artist statements and bios along with submissions of artwork, text or research proposals.
Anonymous competitions are focused solely on the quality of the work and not the list of achievements in your CV. So, if you’re just starting out in your career and are a little self-conscious about the gaps in your CV, this could be your moment.
4. Festival Opportunities
Frequently focused on performance, theater, dance, film or music, festival opportunities may also be in the form of independent (artist-run) art fairs and book fairs. Some, like the new PHOTO International Festival of Photography in Melbourne and Victoria, even offer the possibility of presenting visual art in public space.
Within festivals, there are often additional opportunities for participation in related workshops, panels, events, or even the possibility to organize your own.
The festival format can be a great social and communal space and might help to widen your network. But something to be aware of is that some (art and book fairs, in particular) may require a fee for participation.
This category mostly refers to getting your writing published in art journals, magazines or special volumes and editions, or even your own book. Though there are also opportunities for submitting artworks or photography for publication.
Some calls for submissions may request proposals or abstracts for a potential article, essay or chapter. Whereas others look for completed texts.
Keep in mind that, while trying something different can bring new challenges and inspirations, you also need to be compensated for your hard work. Be careful not to end up spending precious time producing content for a publication that doesn’t pay. Especially if it might not even help you to advance the career that you want.
It’s tempting to submit where ever there might be an offer to publish your work. Hey, we all want to be published! But it might not always be constructive. You shouldn’t just put your own interests aside in order to tailor yourself to something that holds no real value for you.
The same goes for all types of art opportunities: don’t just mold yourself to fit every available opportunity. Find the ones that are actually relevant to your career.
When considering an art opportunity, make sure it’s a good fit for you and worth your time and resources.
On ArtConnect it’s mandatory for anyone posting a for example open call to disclose expected fees, application requirements, and other information to make it easier for you to decide whether it’s worth your effort.