How to Get the Most Out of Art Opportunities & Open Calls

Artwork Archive | November 29, 2023 (Updated April 2, 2024)

a male artist in a green shirt sketching a line drawing on a long wooden table.

Photo courtesy of Artwork Archive artist Jared Nathan Crane

Open calls and opportunities can give your art career the spotlight it deserves and take your art business to new heights.

These opportunities not only put your artwork out into the world, but can also expose you to fresh audiences, potential connections, and, let's be real, the chance to score some cash if there are prizes at stake. 

Here at Artwork Archive, we've seen countless artists leverage these opportunities to boost their careers and make serious moves in the art industry. 

Now, we get it—we often hear artists say landing these opportunities is just a luck-of-the-draw lottery.

But, that's only true if you're jumping into open calls without a game plan. Luckily, we've got five tips that significantly maximize your chances for success.

Here are 5 top tips to make the most out of your applications:


Plan out your art opportunities and map out your art deadlines ahead of time.

This is your secret weapon to give yourself the best possible chance of success. On a very basic level, this means making sure you'll have time to create the best work you can. 

Try planning your activities over the next year, so you have a clear handle on deadlines and keep them realistic in your schedule. 

Artwork Archive's Complete Guide to Artist Grants and Opportunities in 2024 is a valuable resource to help you in this planning process. You can browse through hundreds of artist residencies, competitions, exhibitions, and open calls with deadlines spanning throughout the entire year and even add their deadlines directly to your Schedule! 

Once you have a handle on your calendar year, you can realistically start searching for opportunities with timelines that fit your workflow!

Remember, there's not much point in going in for a grant if the deadline is in the middle of a heavy period of work for you. Better to apply for fewer opportunities really well than to be scattergun and apply for everything!

An orange background with a black and white collage cut-out of a hand holding a pencil. White text reads: Get the complete Guide tot he top public art calls, residencies, artist grants, and more in 2024. Green button says Get The Guide

Do your research about the art organization, gallery, or institution. 

Knowledge is power. Investigate the organization, gallery, or institution offering the opportunity you're interested in. 

Dive into their backstory so you can understand more about what their mission is. 

Ask yourself these key questions to get a better understanding of what the organization is looking for: 

  • Who were the shortlisted artists and winners in previous years? 
  • What types of works are accepted? 
  • Beyond the entry fee, what other costs may come up, such as framing, travel, transport, or storage? 

Knowledge isn't just power, it's your tool for standing out. 


Put yourself in the jurors’ shoes.

When applying, think about the perspective of those evaluating your work.

Jurors are faced with A LOT of submissions, so ensure that your work stands out for the right reasons. Imagine that you're the one going through hundreds of applications—what would catch your eye? 

Tailor your application to be visually striking, concise, and aligned with the right theme or criteria. 

Tips for a strong application include capturing high-quality images of your work, providing clear and concise supporting information, and avoiding convoluted language that might deter readers.

Artwork Archive Tip:

Portfolio Pages are a fantastic way to showcase a selection of your artwork for a specific opportunity. You're able to include large images, as well as any supporting information. Then, download a PDF version or share it directly with a URL. Click here to learn how to create Portfolio Pages.


Read the application guidelines carefully and follow instructions.

Attention to detail matters.

Go through the guidelines meticulously. Read every line, FAQ, and submission requirement. Then read them again.

Ensure your submission actually complies with every requirement, from file formats to deadlines. Missing a crucial detail could mean the difference between acceptance and rejection.


Craft a compelling artist statement.

Your artist statement is your voice on paper.

Communicate your passion, process, and the essence of your work in a way that captivates and resonates with a broad audience.

Tailor your artist statement to align seamlessly with the specific objectives or themes outlined in the opportunity you're applying for. Demonstrating a clear connection between your artistic practice and the goals of the organization enhances your relevance and increases your chances of being selected.

Before you send off your artist statement with your application, put it through the test: read your statement aloud. As you read, pay attention to the cadence of your sentences and make sure your statement makes sense and flows naturally.

Reading aloud not only allows you to catch any awkward phrasing or errors, but it also provides some insight into how your statement might be perceived by others, like a jury or selection committee. 

Artwork Archive Tip:

Once you've crafted the perfect artist statement (or at least one version of it), store it securely in your 'My Docs' section of your Artwork Archive account. You can also store your Resume, Cover Letter, and any other important documents. 

As artists, open calls continue to offer opportunities for growth and recognition. Approach them with dedication and a well-thought-out strategy, and remember that each application is a step toward your artistic goals. Success may not always be immediate, but your persistence and commitment will help boost your art career.

And, to help you find the perfect opportunity to apply, we've created a Guide to the Best Grants & Opportunities in 2024. Browse through hundreds of art residences, grants, art competitions, exhibitions, open calls, and more. Be sure to check back frequently as we're constantly adding to this list. 

Best of luck! 

A vibrant teal background with a black and white collage cut-out of a hand holding a pencil. White text reads: Get the complete Guide to the top public art calls, residencies, artist grants, and more in 2024. Orange button says Get The Guide

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