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I still submit work for juried exhibitions, and-a few times during the year-I am honored to have work in invitational shows. In fact, this past weekend I submitted to three juried ceramics exhibitions. It is part of being a working artist. No matter how advanced one’s career may be, I have always felt that getting one’s work out of the studio plays an important role in furthering that career. It is easy to maintain a stasis with your work and continue to make the same work with no change. Showing your work means taking a risk. It can crush your ego or let it soar. You are your own best promoter. Whether you show and sell your work at wholesale events, gallery shows, or other venues, you are advancing your career by gaining a customer base and increasing the exposure of your work outside of your studio.
We recently staged a music event (a home concert) with a very fine singer-songwriter. It was a wonderful evening with beautiful music and a full house of guests. Even more interesting was speaking with the performer, who is also a good friend. His home concerts are his way of getting his music out to a wider audience. Selling CDs is one way to get exposure, but playing music to a live audience is much like submitting ceramics to juried events. It is a risk. The audience may not like your performance, your lyrics, or your musicianship. But it gets your music out of the studio, out of your head, and out into a greater audience-thereby increasing the exposure of your music.
As a gallery owner, I provide a venue for ceramic artists to show their work. Of course, I do get to choose the work and design the exhibition. Plinth Gallery provides a venue for selected artists to get their work out of the studio.
In the visual and performing arts, it is often said that no one will beat a path to your door or to your event unless you do something about it. We are all competing for an economic base, whether it is in an art gallery or on a stage. It is what we do to advance our careers to that point at which we might be able to exclaim, “We have made it!” That process is different for each of us, but one thing is quite obvious: We can either choose to actively participate in our careers and design our futures as artists…or not. For me, anything less than full participation is a real waste of time.