Art competitions are an excellent opportunity to grow as an artist and develop your art career. They can benefit you in a number of different ways – exposure, exhibitions, and even self-confidence.

Madiha Abdo, an artist represented by Agora Gallery now, who was also one of the winners of the Chelsea International Fine Art Competition, says, “I consider art competitions and other related opportunities very important for my artistic journey, as they help me get much needed exposure and become more self-confident.”

Guests of Agora Gallery admiring the works of the Chelsea International Photography Competition exhibition.

The jurors in an art competition will often be well-known in the art world, with considerable experience and a good sense of the current market.

This makes art competitions a great networking platform and the task of being “discovered” much easier. Prizes are generally chosen to benefit artists in ways that matter, whether it’s the chance to participate in an exhibition, cash, or promotional material or opportunities.

Winning an art competition is a great achievement! It is something you can add to your CV, mention to collectors, and discuss in interviews. However, even just entering art competitions, whether you are selected or not, tells the story about you as an artist.

How Can Art Competitions Help You?

Entering art competitions can be a strong start in proving to yourself that you can be serious about your art. It shows that you are willing to put effort into it, and you think that your art deserves to be recognized more widely.

Reaching this point is crucial to the development of your career as an artist. According to Agora Gallery executive director, Angela DiBello, “Participating in art competitions takes courage and is an act of faith and belief in one’s own talent and strengths. Anyone who simply enters the competition is a winner.”

“My confidence in me as an artist has intensified, and I will continue to try to go this route.” – Kaethe Haase Kornstein (Testimonial For Chelsea International Fine Art Competition)

The act of entering a competition requires a certain amount of time and thought: a reflection that helps artists identify, establish, and unify their voice and artistic concept. It takes you a step back, allowing you to see beyond individual images and forces you to consider your work as a whole. Whether it’s the first time you’re doing this or the hundredth, evaluating and re-evaluating your body of work is a fundamental part of being an artist.

It shows you how you’ve developed as time passes, how you are improving, and what the combined impact of your collected works might be. Each work has an individual essence, presence, and impact, but it is also a part of the greater whole, and you need to be able to appreciate that. Putting together an entry for a competition encourages you to develop this viewpoint, allowing you to make more informed decisions about what you should be working on next.

Art students are often encouraged to enter competitions, and many schools run competitions of their own, so that their students can get experience in viewing their work as a body and practice considering their art from an ‘outside’ perspective. After art school, though, many artists leave competitions behind. For the same reasons that they were valuable in school, entering competitions are valuable to all professional artists.

entering art competitions

Benefits Of Entering Art Competitions

1 Confidence

Obviously, winning breeds confidence. But putting yourself in a position where someone is judging your work requires a statement of confidence in your creations and even in yourself as an artist. Regularly entering competitions is a powerful way to inspire yourself to continuously try and improve. Further, the confidence you build in putting together a worthy entry is invaluable in the art world. Without faith and pride in your creations, you’re never going to be able to make it very far as an artist.

2 Up-To-Date Portfolio

Getting photos taken and keeping your resume current are things that many artists put off. Having a deadline will push you to get high-quality photos taken of your artwork and maintain your portfolio. Remember, no matter which art competition you enter your photos must accurately represent the work you are entering. Having an up to date portfolio is essential. You never know when you might find an interesting opportunity.

3 An Opportunity To Evaluate Your Art

As mentioned above, when entering an art competition, you are forced to evaluate your work in an objective manner. In order to be successful, you will need to categorize your art accurately so you can submit it to competitions where it is relevant in terms of media, color, style, and theme. This is especially important when your artwork shows different styles or you work in a variety of media. The work you enter should be in a similar style.

“To see my work displayed on the walls of your gallery was validating on so many levels. I have been doing art for more than forty years, and I couldn’t help but feel a strong sense of satisfaction, joy, accomplishment, and personal honor. Thank you for that opportunity. Winning the competition has fueled my passion and inspired me to work harder. It has also provided me with distinction as a professional fine artist.” – Doug DePice (Testimonial For Chelsea International Fine Art Competition)

The important thing about entering art competitions is not to focus on what you didn’t get, but to appreciate the value of what you did achieve. Think of entering competitions as a stepping stone to building a successful art career. Just because your artwork was not selected does not mean it is not good or that you are not talented. A painting can be rejected for many reasons that have nothing to do with your ability or skill.

Keep researching competitions, keep submitting your entries, and keep getting your work out there. Whether you end up winning them all or not, there is no greater way to get to know your own work and stay attuned to the art world than by staying active in the ever-developing community.

Looking to enhance your career and build a presence in New York? Submit your portfolio to us and get the opportunity to present your work to a broad range of national and international art collectors and buyers. Visit our Gallery Representation And Artist Promotion page for more information.

Read about the Chelsea International Fine Art Competition and see how you can submit your portfolio this year!