When looking to promote calls 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.
Side Arts recommends webform providers such as Jotform, Gravity Forms, and Google Forms due to their simplicity and affordability. Depending on your needs, you may also consider using juried application managers such as Wufoo or WESTAF’s CaFE or Zapplication.
Basic Application Questions
- Phone number
- Artwork medium(s)
- Artwork description
- Artwork size
- Artwork price
- 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). These may include:
- Keywords that describe your artwork (up to five)
- Demographics (if they relate to the opportunity)
- Describe how your artwork is relevant to the artist opportunity
- 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)
- Resume (include exhibitions, vendor events, RFPs, and awars within the last three years)
- Is the artist exclusively represented by a gallery/agent (No/Yes, if so who)
- Any special accommodation requests?
- How did you find out about the opportunity?
- For RFPs, include mock-ups, if applicable
Keep your application questions short and concise. Start with the name, address, and demographics questions, then move on to the questions which are specific to the opportunity. Remember to enable an automated email that informs the applicant that their applicaiton has been received and what happens next so applicants understand the process.
Looking for more writing tips? Check out our official guide, How To Write A Call For Artists.
Calls 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, or leaving a comment.
Side Arts includes a call to action after the first paragraph of text in each call for artists promotion. It is usually stated as, “Click here for the application / registration.”
Having clear language, consistent wording, and uncluttered formatting encourages qualified artists to apply.
- Clear language helps the artist understand what you want them to do. Be direct. For example, “Click here to apply.”
- Use consistent working. Avoid alternating the text in a single promotion 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 is proven to be the clearest format and most effective for attracting qualified applicants.
Digital application links are preferred, rather than submissions via email addresses because they streamline the process for the artist and client.
There are many good reasons for using digital applications:
- A consistent format allows participants to be 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 Side Arts’ official guide, How To Write A Call For Artists.
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
- Plan your calls for artists in advance
- Plan your promotion strategy
- Name your opportunity
- Decide on tense and readability
- Describe the opportunity
- Provide benefits
- Make the call to action clear
- Add an image
- Provide contact information
- 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. Create 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
If you need some ideas, click here to browse our archives for over 500 call for artists samples!
2. Plan Your Promotion Strategy
Announcing and publish 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 space out the announcements. That way, you are receiving a regular influx of new participants over a period of time and have time to interact with propspective participants. 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.” There should always be a theme, topic, medium, or style. Artists want to be able to quickly decide if their artwork is applicable. 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!
Avoid duplicate information in the listing. Redundancy doesn’t add any value. It is more important to include more unique 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, 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 10,000 visitors over the course of the weekend,” “reported average art sales of $2,000,” 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.
Once you have a rough draft, use an editing app to help clarify the details. From grammar editing apps to AI platforms, there are a number of low cost options that can greatly improve your content.
Use a bulletted list for the timeline. Consider the following items:
- Application open
- Delivery date
- Jury date
- Pick up date
6. Provide Benefits
This is the most important part of your listing. Use quantitative, rather than qualitative descriptors. 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?
We can’t stress this enough: Artists don’t work for free.
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.
Again, AI and content generation apps can help you perfect your images that look professional and are scaled appropriately for blog and social media sharing.
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.
If you need some ideas, click here to browse our archives for over 500 call for artists samples!
Side Arts provides promotion content marketing for a range of call for artists providers and business types. The most common include art organizations, galleries, event promoters, private businesses, local governments, educational institutes, and museums.
Call For Artists Providers
In order of frequency, these are the types of organizations which provide opportunities for visual artists and crafters:
- Galleries – Offer 4-10 exhibition opportunities per year. These are themed calls which can range from colors, shapes, social issues, medium, and styles. The benefit of showing with a gallery is being able to take advantage of their relationships with collectors.
- Non-profit art organizations – Offer 2-3 exhibition or competitions per year. The non-profits are typically local arts councils or focused on a specific medium, such as wood, ceramics, or fabric. Exhibition themes revolve around local history, public figures, and community affairs.
- Event promoters – Manage annual art fairs. These pay-to-participate events usually include the opportunity for juried prizes. Participation to be juried often costs extra.
- Residencies – Destinations for inspired art making which may include travel expenses, room and board, studio space, and guided support and experiences. Residencies may be juried or paid. 1) Juried: There are no costs except application fees. 2) Paid: The participant assumes all costs. These provide different levels of services on a fee-based and availability basis.
- Government institutions – Opportunities provided by city government or state arts commissions. These occur irregularly and are dependent on funding. Funding may come from the city, state, federal, or percent-for-art (one-half of one percent of construction cost for art projects). These are requests for proposals for public works – murals, sculptures, traffic box wraps, storm drain painting, bus stop installations, bicycle rack artwork, public bench artwork, and other installations.
- Publications – Magazines, both online and in print. Usually pay-to-participate and ongoing based on publication frequency.
- Studio tours – Community events where artist studios are open to the public. Run by a local arts council or an independent non-profit organization. Pay-to-participate. Although traffic is not guaranteed, online and print promotion may be offered. The primary benefit is having a reason to clean up and organize the studio annually.
- Higher education institutions – These are often residencies which take advantage of a broad range of facilities and services available at the institution as well as dormitory living space.
- Private businesses – Commissions from private businesses looking for branding and marketing support – typically murals or 2D artwork in private offices, hotels, and other real estate.
Call For Artists Benefits
Providing each of the above has positive and negative aspects. Make sure the fee structure, commissions, and terms of engagement are clearly defined. Know your legal rights. Give quantitative and qualitative data to back up why someone should participate.
Providing a point of contact is important when writing a call for artists. Transparency is important to visual artists and crafters. They trust that we hold our clients accountable for their listings. Providing the relevant information helps establish that the client is not a faceless organization or phishing exercise and, in turn, increases response rates.
Calls For Artists Point Of Contact Information
Most promotion content marketing platforms require three point of contact pieces of information.
- Public point of contact email
- Email for administrative use
- Name for administrative use
Public Point Of Contact
- Where the applicant may ask additional questions about the listing.
- May be general (firstname.lastname@example.org) or specific (email@example.com).
- Avoid generic or non-domain specific email addresses such as firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you must use a non-specific email address, use Gmail – here a free 14 day trial for their business applications.
Email For Administrative Use
- Where the promotion content marketing platform can contact the listing’s administrator for questions or concerns about the listing.
- May be general (email@example.com) or specific (firstname.lastname@example.org), but preferably specific.
- The person that manages this email address is often both the person that publishes and promotes the listing, although in the case of some larger organizations, there may be two individuals that divide these responsibilities.
- Promotion content marketing platforms will send this email address information about their account, listing updates, and information on best practices for marketing the listing.
Name For Administrative Use
- This is the person that is most responsible for posting listings and managing the promotion content marketing platform’s account.
- A full name (first and last) is usually required for account set up and maintenance.
- Although not shown to the public, providing a contact name helps establish transparency and allows to quickly address account issues.
It is challenging to write an effective call for artists. There are many details to think through. Side Arts promotion service provides copywriters and content marketers who help you frame your listing and promotion in order to attract the most qualified participants.
Once a call for artists is published to the site, only Side Arts staff can make listing content changes. This is to ensure that our quality assurance process is not compromised.
Obviously, small changes and misunderstandings may occur. Therefore, changes may be requested for incidental updates; i.e. given the wrong link, change of date/location, or point of contact.
Our ability to keep the price manageable is reliant on the work load on our staff copywriters and promoters. Our policy is to have our copywriters format the listings in the best possible way in terms of grammar, online searchability, and current content marketing best practices.
Your social promotion is scheduled when the listing is posted. Changing your content may mean proofing and editing social content, as well.
We want your call for artist to succeed! If you have any questions about your promotions, reach out to us at email@example.com.