Importance of shows and guilds?

How valuable is it to enter juried shows and/or join artist’s guild? Other than for fun, does it add any credibility to a ‘resume’? And do buyers care or is that mainly for gallery interest?

I think it is of value to enter juried shows as well as artist’s guilds. It’s important to become involved and connected to your profession. It not only adds to your resume but shows that you take what you do seriously. And, I do think buyers care. They, too, like gallery owners want to see how you are promoting your work and that you take pride in what you do as an artist.

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Being a member of a guild gets you out of the solitude of your studio and a chance to interact with other artists. Entering shows gives you a focus from time to time with a deadline to complete something. It does look good on your resume. And a show gives you a chance to observe people looking at your work among other work. Critique can be hard to take, but it can be helpful for you to improve. And if you do win, it feels great!

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Thank you for replying. There was a show of small paintings locally that got me thinking about submitting some of my DPW work. But if work is posted for sale online at a reasonable price how do you handle the extra percentage (40% + entry $) and still keep prices consistent for buyers?

How do you guys handle this? Create separate, perhaps larger, works for shows that are not available online? Do you think the 40 to 50% commission hit is worth the above mentioned benefits?

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I guess it depends on how much advertising the show does and how much exposure you actually receive. It is true, winning is a boost and looks great on your resume. And it is also nice to be here and there…the more exposure the better.

Yes, always separate works than work that is priced and available online. Of course, established artists probs price their work by size or media, regardless of how much of a cut they must give I would imagine… And they can, cuz they are well established. :wink:

Hi, I am struggling with this as well. I had a 6x6 on DPW for weeks…then I entered a show recently in California…it was accepted…so I hastily hid it on my page on DPW. It sold for 259 framed…and was for sale on DPW for 45$ . I have recently decided to only submit 8x8 or larger to these juried shows and only post 6x6 on DPW. ugh…what to do?

A lot of artists do just that. Larger works to galleries or shows and smaller, less expensive online. It’s hard to spend a lot of money if you don’t see the work in person, so smaller more affordable does well online for me.


I had a similar situation as Tess. Painting I had on DPW for $49 for a bit but did not sell. Framed it for a show, entered & it sold the first day for $150. Even with the commission taken out, it sold for more than it would have online. So I’m now doing the same thing - smaller pieces online while I take the larger pieces to shows & galleries. Sunny, I agree with you - people do not like to spend a large amount of money for a piece they can’t see in person first, unless the artist is someone whose work they are already very familiar with.

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Whilst I agree with you Nan and Sunny wholeheartedly, buyers can return a painting if they are not happy with it. Also the prices are very low here for a lot of excellent work. In a show prices will be triple or more, so buyers are perhaps too cautious, when in reality they can get a great work for a small price and return if not satisfied. A win win IMO.

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I struggle with this too! If I post a painting here for auction starting at $40 + shipping that’s usually what the painting will sell for. I think that’s fine! I do think it takes a leap of faith on the buyers part to purchase a painting online. I know how I sweat over trying to make my photo look like the painting but it seems there is always one color in the photo that looks off on the computer screen. And you never know what the buyers screen looks like!

I sell my framed paintings for $100 because I choose a frame to match the painting and frame the piece myself. I do a nice job with the frame including papering the back and adding eye hooks and wire. I think that justifies the extra cost.

If I enter a painting into a show, I usually put it in a more expensive frame. . When entering juried “small works” shows I price my paintings at $275. If a painting is accepted into a prestigious show, I think that gives it a bit of provenance. Not every painting is show worthy! Also, most of the paintings in that type of show are priced similarly so it seems like a good fit. Some buyers only like to buy work from juried shows.

I just joined a local arts organization that has a small storefront and takes a 30% commission. I’m planning to put a few of my framed 5 x 7’s into the shop but in that case I don’t think I can charge more than $100. I wish I could - to offset the commission - but… that doesn’t feel right.

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Agree Joseph, prices are very low here for some very great work. My work sold here quite well the past 2 years, but this year has seen a definite falling off. I can’t afford to tie up all my work in 1 area that isn’t selling well. I believe it will again, but for now, DPW has my smaller pieces only and my larger pieces are circulating in the brick-and-mortar locations. It seems to be what is working for me - now. It’ll change again, I’m sure. I won’t give up on DPW though, I like it too much. :slight_smile:


There is no substitute for seeing a piece in person, and I think maybe a little more ‘got to get it now’ impulsiveness when a show has lots of buyers they can see. Also, everyone’s monitors and browsers display differently…I struggled for a long time with that. Buyers would say “It’s so much nicer than online” over and over. I have worked on getting a great monitor and it helps to know photoshop.

We have to be more than artists, we have to be marketers, business minded, so much to learn and do in an ever changing internet world. We have to have more than one place to sell. It’s also great to meet people enthusiastic about art, especially mine. :wink: And I will confess that I have been very lax in getting out there…I’d rather be here in my little space and pound away on the keyboard, then go to the other side of the room and make art. :smiley:

I recently read that in a sole proprietorship instance that you spend half of your time on business and the other half on making art.


Since my posing the original questions, I have changed a few things. I raised the prices on all of my 6x6 work on DPW to $100. I had a happenstance conversation with a gallerist who lectured me on the importance of raising my prices, valuing my work and myself, yada yada. I’m sure the number he had in mind had more zeros on the end but…baby steps. I wrestled with it thinking if sales are slowing down how does it make sense to raise prices? Then came to the conclusion that if things aren’t selling anyway, does it matter much? At least I’ll have some self respect! Lol. I wish everybody would set that as a minimum.

I also followed through on several people’s suggestions that I show in ‘the real world’. I entered three juried shows and got in two. The first set all prices in their Small Works show themselves. $300 with a 50% commission. I didn’t know what to do about my pricing on here, which then was at $85, so I quickly painted 3 new 8x8s for it (daily painters are quick!) and haven’t posted them online. Only six works sold out of fifty something but one was mine!

The next show entered two small works for jury and got in. Same deal, made new works and didn’t post. I also had the opportunity to donate a work to their silent auction and to provide a portfolio of work also available for sale. For these I did use 20 existing DPW paintings. I didn’t hide those works in my gallery, my prices were consistent, but placed them on hold. Tonight I went to pick up my work and made 15 available again and mark 5 as Sold!

It is more work to do enter the physical world and I wouldn’t if it was still working for me to just sell online. Maybe it will work again but this experiment told me a few things. I agree that some people (how many?) simply have to see art in person for various reasons. The prices on the works in this show were all over the place up to $6000 and my framed juried in works were still the lowest at $265 and those two didn’t sell. They were juried in, I think good, raved over by the artist volunteers taking them in…maybe the price was too low? Or maybe they just didn’t match up with any of the buyers.


I rather envy the American set-up with lots of shows and guilds opportunities. Where I live, in a relatively rural English backwater, there is nothing in the way of decent galleries. The city ones heavily favour abstract work, which I don’t do in any seriousness. Artists who do get their work into odd places like tearooms and cafes seem to be “in the know” about such availability via gossip circles… and unfortunately I tend to be rather a “not in this world” kind of person (i.e I don’t do gossip and coffee mornings). I wonder if, at the end of the day, it’s necessary to just step away from one’s own locality and take/enter the work in an entirely different county/town. I’ve never tried it but I’m thinking about it.


Hi Mary - Interesting post! $300 - 50% commission so $150 for you. I guess that’s framed, so minus the frame price and the cost of entering the juried show (if there was a cost - all of the juried shows in my area have an entry fee of $20-$30) - brings the price right in line with $100 the unframed price you might sell for on DPW?

I’ve noticed that DPW sets an auction starting price at $40. Of course you can change it and can start your auction at whatever price you want, but I’m guessing that $40 suggestion is probably born of some research, so that’s what I go with. But truly, I have no idea.

The $1 auction starts are what completely confuses me!


Yes, that’s what I was figuring with the commission cut and having it all pretty consistent, pricing wise. Although these were 8x8s and were more concept oriented rather than my typical daily works which I consider more like studies. But it seemed a worthwhile thing to do to gain some ‘real life’ exposure, add to CV, and learn. Plus it was actually pretty fun. I think I will have a separate site eventually where I show this type of work, and go much larger still.

I’ve only done the DPW auctions twice and haven’t sold either time. I’m not able/willing to sell at 40 or lower because I don’t think I’d feel very good if it sold! And if I don’t feel good about it then it affects my motivation and overall attitude. I guess the $1 auction starts are an attempt to get things going but from what I’ve read, they don’t end up going high enough to warrant it.

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Christine, I can relate to what you’re saying even though I’m just outside NYC! The galleries there are out of reach or not for representational art and honestly, I don’t fit that scene. Also, for local groups, it took a while to seek to find these opportunities. But then one leads to another, if you make sure to mingle a bit and ask questions. Gossip and coffee groups take time away from painting although it does help to have some likeminded artist friends, even if only online! I did searches online and found a couple of organizations that post updates of “Calls for Artists” and yes!, definitely look through the ones that are outside your area. Good luck and let us know how it goes!

In case you haven’t found this link yet - I have found it useful.