How do artists feel about paying to enter exhibitions or open calls?

We posted this question on our Instagram on 21st May 2021, here are the answers offered by our followers:

  1. As someone unwaged, I have an issue with bigger organisations charging, I literally can’t afford them. I do appreciate shows cost to stage but some charges seem excessive. Saying that, if the show is run by a smaller community group or collective I am happy to pay into their funds to help them survive.
  2. I feel like submission fees need to be more transparent – what does the fee actually go towards? Sometimes it’s like throwing money into air. It’s frustrating when there’s a submission fee and the gallery asks for 50% of sales too.
  3. I think things like paying to get a submission form in the first place is just wrong. I don’t have a problem with a small submission fee and then a further fee or donation should your work be accepted. Some organisations are taking the piss – but some are desperate for funding to keep going – so fair play. There seem to be more and more ‘opportunities’ to exhibit now and I do think there’s a need to be selective. What does make me antsy are London-centric and oppos where delivery/courier costs on top of entry fees just make submissions untenable. I’m not even thinking about commission costs.
  4. I have a major problem with arts organisations charging artists to submit. I feel many are charging artists an entry fee with no guarantee of being included to subsidise the sector with their own money! There should be more transparency & accountability from arts orgs on what the monies raised are used for. I am all for supporting artist led organisations & often these are the ones who seem more ethical, charging pay as you feel/sliding scale or only if you are accepted to exhibit. Sadly until we as artists realise our worth, this exploitation will continue.

Published by Artist Discussion & TERM Art Classes

Artist Discussion and TERM Art Classes are a fellowship of two entities who share values and online platforms to encompass peer support opportunities for artists and the art inquisitive.

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