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Calls For Artists As Sales Channels

Calls For Artists As Sales Channels

Calls for artists are indirect sales channels for your artwork. How frequently do you apply to calls for artists and for what type do you typically apply? Where have you had the most success in generating the most margin on sales?

Side Arts can help. Learn more with our official guide, Marketing Art: A Fresh Approach.

Calls for artists include

  • Requests for proposals – Commissions for your artwork
  • Grants – Funds that are available for the completion of a project or growth of a practice
  • Vendor events – Sell your own artwork at a rental space
  • Exhibition opportunities – Agents sell your artwork at a relatively high commission.
  • Competitions – Compete with others for a limited number of prizes

It is helpful to think of them in terms of both direct and indirect sales channels as they relate to the margin on your artwork. In other words, where do you get the most money relative to your efforts.

Margin By Sales Channels

Sales Channels


In direct sales, requests for proposals, and grants, you are typically setting the terms of engagement. You know the inputs and there are limited outputs.

Vendor events rank slightly lower. This is because you shoulder the costs of the booth rental fee. More importantly, it introduces more variables that are outside your control such as rain, advertising for the event, traffic flow, and so on.

Likewise, platform sales, such as Etsy and EBay introduce flat and variable fees for including your work on their sites. Although they offer extra promotion services, they come at a hefty price. Therefore, promotion, which costs time and money, is on you.

When utilizing licencing, the burden of promotion is now on the vendor to whom you have licenced your work. Since they do all the promotion, they take a much higher commission which reduces your margin considerably.

Exhibitions work the same way as licencing. The burden of promotion and sales is on the gallerist or curator hosting the exhibition. If they are not offering promotion and sales support, then it is simply a pay-for-play vendor event. The purpose of participating in an exhibition is to take advantage of the organization’s exclusive buyer’s lists which should align with the type of work you offer.

Lastly, competitions offer the greatest risk and least margin for your time and effort. You have no control as to how many others are participating, there may be a fee to participate, and there may only be one winner.


Before applying for a call for artists, think through how best it fits with your goals and the risk you are willing to take. Make sure you know quantitative answers to questions regarding promotion, buyer’s lists, and commission percentages.

Most artists looking to grow their professional network and sales opportunities apply to 10-15 calls for artists per year. The average cost of applying is $25-45.

Looking to lower the cost of applications? Side Arts Member Certification may be right for you. Certified Members whom are selected for opportunities promoted on Side Arts are eligible to be reimbursed that calls’ application fees. Click here to learn more.



Call For Artists Application Questions [What To Include]

Call For Artists Application Questions [What To Include]

When looking to promote your call for artists, it should include all relevant information needed for an artist to decide whether to apply for your opportunity as well as for you to make an informed selection. The call for artists application is how artists send their information to you, whether it is for an exhibition, vendor event, competition, request for proposal, or grant.

Applications should use webforms with the ability to upload images. Applications by email, mail, or in-person are difficult to track and often have inconsistent entries. Many types of webforms are free. There are several reasonably priced online juried application management services available.

We recommend webform providers such as Jotform and Gravity Forms due to their simplicity and affordability. Depending on your needs, you may also consider using Wufoo or WESTAF’s CaFE or Zapplication.

Basic Application Questions

  • Name
  • Email
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Website
  • Artwork medium(s)
  • Artwork description
  • Artwork size
  • Price per piece (generally)
  • Image uploads (minimum of three)

Specific Call For Artists Questions

In order to better qualify your applicants, we recommend adding additional quantitative and qualitative fields (not all of which are relevant to every opportunity)

  • Keywords that describe your artwork (up to five)
  • Demographics (if they relate to the opportunity)
  • Facebook page
  • Facebook number of fans
  • Instagram account
  • Instagram number of followers
  • Total number of people in the artists’ email list
  • eCommerce websites (i.e. etsy, zazzle, and so on)
  • Business name (if applicable and incorporated)
  • Press coverage (two or three links)
  • Resume (showing work within the last three to ten years)
  • Are you exclusively represented by a gallery/agent (No/Yes, if so who)
  • Any needs to accommodate for special circumstances
  • How did you find out about the opportunity?
  • In what public art opportunities have you participated?
  • Include mock-ups, if applicable

Keep your application questions short and concise. Start with the easy name, address, and demographics questions, then move on to the questions which are specific to the opportunity. Remember to add a note that describes what happens after the application has been submitted so applicants understand the process.

Looking for more writing tips? Check out our official guide, How To Write A Call For Artists.

Call For Artists Promotion


The Best Way To Frame Your Call For Artists’ Call To Action

The Best Way To Frame Your Call For Artists’ Call To Action

Call for artists are most effective when they include a single call to action.  A call to action is what you want an artist or crafter to do. It can include clicking a link, opening a document, looking at a picture, leaving a comment, and so on.

Side Arts includes a call to action after the first paragraph of text in each call for artists promotion.

Having clear language, consistent wording, and uncluttered formatting encourages qualified artists to apply.

  • Clear language helps the reader understand what you want them to do. Be direct. For example, “Click here to apply”
  • Use consistent working. Avoid flipping between application, registration, order form, and so on.
  • Uncluttered formatting draws the readers eye to what you want them to do. Avoid small links which may be easy to miss.

Call To Action Formatting Tips

The best format is a single hyperlink to an application near the top of the page. Buttons and alternate text formatting/colors are helpful as well.

This has proven to be the clearest format and most effective for attracting qualified applicants.  Digital application links are preferred over email addresses because they streamline the process for the applicant and client.

There are many good reasons for doing so:

  • A consistent format allows participants to become more comfortable which increases application rates of qualified artists.
  • Click-through rates can be tracked, proving effectiveness.
  • Unique content creation optimizes Google ranking and SEO, adding to a listing’s visibility.

Looking for more tips, check out our official guide, How To Write A Call For Artists.

Call For Artists Promotion



How To Write A Call For Artists [The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need]

How To Write A Call For Artists [The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need]

The most important thing to keep in mind when writing and promoting a call for artists is to be clear, concise, and provide facts and other quantitative data. Artists want to know the specific benefits they receive from participating in the opportunity.

How to Write a Call For Artists

  1. Plan your calls for artists in advance
  2. Plan your promotion strategy
  3. Name your opportunity
  4. Decide on tense and readability
  5. Describe the opportunity
  6. Provide benefits
  7. Make the call to action clear
  8. Add an image
  9. Provide contact information
  10. Add supplemental materials

1. Plan Your Calls For Artists In Advance

There are a number of questions you may want to think about before launching a call for artists. What is the purpose of your call for artists? Who is your audience? What do you want to achieve? Where will it be held? When will it be? What are the associated costs?

More calls for artists are promoted in January and February than in any other months. If you have any downtime over the holidays, then it is a good idea to start drafting your new listings.

Have you planned your call for artists schedule for the year? Think about how many you will offer, when, and what themes. Try creating a content calendar to plan out your promotion strategy.

Calls for artists typically include:

  • Exhibitions – artwork shows featuring selected artists
  • Competitions – awards for themed art contests
  • Vendor events – art fairs and craft shows
  • Residencies – remote live-in spaces for creating art
  • Requests for proposals – paid art projects

2. Plan Your Promotion Strategy

We recommend announcing and publishing your calls for artists between three months and one month in advance of the deadline. Artists will apply either right away or last minute, giving them enough time to think it through is critical. Posting at least one month in advance is beneficial for your online presence. Over three months, your listing will be indexed by Google and given the necessary time for your followers to share and repost.

Plan to make announcements on other channels between the first announcement and the deadline. Artists find out about opportunities through a variety of channels and are often loyal to only one or two. It is important to pace out the announcements. That way, you are receiving a regular influx of new participants over a period of time. Make one more push through each channel during the last four weeks to catch the stragglers.

There are some exceptions when you may want to announce and publish a year in advance. These include residencies that require substantial planning prior to participating and popular annual events which fill far in advance.

3. Name Your Opportunity

A description of the opportunity should be in the name. Avoid generic names like, “Call for artists,” “juried exhibition,” and “art fair.” Add information about the theme or topic. This helps participants self select into applying.

4. Decide On Tense and Readability

When publishing on your own website, use first person tense. For example, “We’re excited to announce this year’s art fair!”

If you are issuing a press release or submitting content for promotion on a third party site, then use third person tense. When published on other’s sites, then it will appear that that service, rather than your organization, is providing the opportunity. Although we would love to take credit for all your hard work, it’s best that it stay with you!

Try to avoid having duplicate information in the listing. It is more important to include more information than you think is necessary than less. The more well-thought out the listing seems to the artist, the more likely it is that they will click through and apply.

When publishing on third party sites, provide unique information about the opportunity. Rephrase the copy for your listing if the same phrasing is used elsewhere online. Unique copy increases the likelihood that your opportunity will appear in search results. Duplicate copy on multiple websites lowers how often it is shown.

5. Describe the Opportunity

Include the location (city, state, and/or country) and reach (local, regional, national) of your call for artists in the first paragraph of the call for artists description. Artists tend to quickly assess whether the call is relevant to them. If not readily apparent, they often click away rather than scroll and read more. For improved search visibility, it is important to have this information in the body of the copy, the tags, and the site’s taxonomy.

In describing the call for artists opportunity or your organization, be cautious of using “fluffy” language. Avoid adjectives such as best, only, or unique. Although it may seem that way locally or even regionally, it is rare that something stands out as exemplary. For example, “the only competition which involves color,” “more exposure than any other,” and “highest sales.”

If the opportunity does stand out, try giving specific facts such as, “Over 10000 visitors over the course of the weekend,” “reported average art sales of $2000,” and “awarded top fair by So-and-so Magazine.” Be specific.

If it is a juried event, list the jurors, their titles, and provide bios. Unless a requirement by the juror, keep the bios short – a few sentences at most. Participants don’t require a full life history, every school attended, award earned, and show list.

Use a bulletted list for the timeline. Consider the following items:

  • Application open
  • Deadline
  • Delivery date
  • Jury date
  •  Opening
  • Closing
  • Receptions
  • Pick up date

Decide on the list of questions in the application.

Promote Your Call For Artists

6. Provide Benefits

This is the most important part of your listing. Use quantitative, rather than qualitative descriptors. Most importantyly, remember that “exposure” is not a benefit. Consider the following questions when listing your opportunity’s benefits (not all will apply):

  • Break down the list of the awards and how they will be judged.
  • What makes your audience unique? (demographics, income, interests)
  • What is the break-down of the prizes?
  • How many social followers do you have? What is the distribution of your mailers?
  • What is the average buy from an opening reception/over a month’s time?
  • Average foot / web traffic over a month?
  • Do you partner with any other organizations to increase traffic?
  • What other events in the area are occurring during the exhibition month which may increase traffic (and by how much)?
  • Are there any notable attendees?
  • Who is your collector base and how large (who are your established VIPs and do they receive a preview)?
  • What do you do to follow up with the artists after the exhibition?
  • What’s your customer/client service model?
  • Do you offer additional services to the participant while they are participating?

7. Make The Call To Action Clear

The call to action is what you want a reader to do. Often, this appears in the form of submitting an application or registering for an event. When submitting the link to the application / registration page, provide the most direct URL. Provide a direct link even if it is not to your website, for example to a Google Form, CaFE, or other form site. The more links the artists have to click to get through to get to the application process, the fewer artists will apply. Side Arts will include a link to your website in the listing under the about section.

Make sure your application / registration landing page is up to date. Check that the links work and all the dates are correct. It’s a good time to check that all your social links are working, too!

8. Add an Image

Upload a unique image for the opportunity, one that is not published elsewhere on the web. It should be at least 500×500 in order to be scaled correctly for social media. Use jpgs and pngs. Direct facing, smiling people work best. Location shots are good, too. If there are text overlays, keep the words as few as possible and avoid crowding the image. Do not use organizational logos for the image. You may want to use multiple images to break up the copy if the listing has many details.

9. Provide Contact Information

At minimum, provide a direct contact’s full name and direct email address. Preferably, use an email of a person rather than a general organizational email such as info@ or contact@. Listings with a person’s email address has a 20% higher click-through and application rate. It provides transparency, accountability, and shows a willingness to respond to questions. For the artist, this builds trust.

Provide information about the organization which is hosting the opportunity. This is usually copied from the organization’s about page. Remember to list any supporting or sponsoring organizations, especially if it is a requirement of the sponsorship.

10. Add Supplemental Materials

Depending on the type of opportunity, there are a range of other details that may need to be addressed. These include:

  • Application fee structure and reasoning
  • Commission structure
  • Location maps and images
  • Legal considerations


How to write a call for artists? Take your time. Check for grammar and spelling errors. Look up other similar calls for artists for ideas. There is no such thing as a perfect listing. You’ll learn more and develop a process as you do more. Remember that Side Arts’ copywriters are here to help! Our expert team of content marketers can help you craft your listing.

Call For Artists


Affiliate Programs For Art And Craft Bloggers

Affiliate Programs For Art And Craft Bloggers

For many artists and crafters, an additional source of revenue can be earned from the blog portion of their websites. This can be an important part of your strategy for marketing art.

Affiliate programs are designed so that bloggers can earn revenue by sharing information on products and services. If someone clicks on that link and buys the product or service, the the blogger receives a commission on that sale. Often the commission is somewhere between 10-50%!

Justine Grey’s 59 affiliate programs for art and craft bloggers

Finding stellar art affiliate programs to join is time-consuming, which is why it’s remained at the bottom of your lengthy content creation to-do list for some time now.

Plus, you’re already part of the popular craft affiliate programs. Why branch out?

I hear you. Careful curation is wonderful and responsible. You want to promote products and companies you can feel good about and build trust with your readers.

Here’s the thing. Not all products will resonate with all readers, no matter how much you may love them. A better affiliate approach would be to experiment with a new product promotion each month or quarter. See how your readers respond and how your commissions are affected and keep tweaking until you find the most profitable product mix for your unique situation.

To help you start experimenting, I’ve rounded up a list of 59+ art affiliate programs for crafty and creative bloggers.



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