In recent years, artists have been seeking alternative means and low-cost ways in which to present and showcase their artwork. One of the most effective ways to do this is through the internet and one of the most successful ways of doing this is by entering online art competitions/contests.
What is an online art contest and what are the benefits for an artist when entering online art contests? Online art competitions may be organized and operated by “bricks and mortar” art galleries, online art galleries and by other art organizations. These groups have chosen to promote their art contest, accept entries in to and present the winning artist’s work all online.
The more traditional way has been to handle entries with paper forms, snail mail and the traditional opening, exhibition and closing at a physical location or art gallery. However, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the world has seen an exponential rise of online art galleries as artists and arts organizations look for new ways to exhibit art.
Launched in 2010, the Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery (LST) was already far ahead of the curve. Having previously hosted over 120 online art competitions and exhibitions by the time the pandemic started, LST and its parent art gallery, Fusion Art, are industry leaders in the hosting of art competitions and contests.
What are the advantages and benefits for artists to enter and compete in an online art competition? The following are the top benefits for an artist when entering online art contests:
1. Ease of Entering
Online art competitions make it very easy for an artist to enter and compete. Art organizations and art galleries that conduct online art competitions and art contests have easy online forms and online upload portals that in many cases an artist can fill out, upload and complete within 5 minutes.
The more traditional way is for “regular” art galleries to conduct an art contest where they administer and accept entries that are loaded onto a CD, with a paper entry form filled out, a return postage paid envelope included and then the package is mailed to the organizer of the art competition. Other organizations and art galleries often use a combination of email entries (attach images) and paper entry forms. Any of these methods can be time-consuming for an artist to complete and may discourage an Artist from competing.
2. Results are Published Online
Online art competitions post the results online and are presented to the competing artists, the public, and general Internet traffic. Many regular art galleries which conduct art competitions have been slow to embrace technology and are still mailing the results to the artists and many cases, they still do not even post the results online. As a competing artist, whether I got in or not, I was always curious to see what art and which artists won or placed in a competition. There are still art organizations that are unable to show the results of their art contest unless they have a printed exhibition program (many do not even have this available to competing artists).
3. Exposure for the Artist
Online art galleries, due to their inherent structures, operating goals and their use of technology, use the Internet to the artist’s advantage in that their exposure for the artist is far superior to that of a regular art gallery. Online art galleries, through the use of keywords, PPC, other online marketing and online promotions, winning artists are exposed to a much larger audience then a regular art gallery can ever provide.
Depending on the online art gallery’s exposure and the traffic to their website, an artist’s artwork can be exposed and presented to thousands of visitors each month. Other than an opening of an art exhibition, traffic and visits to a regular art gallery is usually minimal, thus the overall exposure for the artist is too.
4. Low Cost of Entering
The cost of entering an online art contest with an online art gallery is a fixed and known cost to the artist. When competing in a regular art gallery competition there are the entry fees (which are generally higher), any costs for reproduction of the art and finally, any mailing costs will need to be absorbed by the artist. After that, if the artist is chosen, they will need to pay for the printing, framing, insurance, and packing/shipping to the art gallery. If the art is not sold at the exhibition, then the cost of returning the art back to the artist will be paid for the by the artist as well.
With expenses and shipping costs going higher each day, entering art competitions (unless they are local to the artist), can be a very expensive proposition for the normal artist. I believe that an artist should also consider their own time involved with this process as a cost when they determine their overall expense for entering a regular art competition too.
Overall, online art galleries are becoming a viable alternative for artists to compete and to expose their artwork to a larger audience. More than ever, today, online art galleries are providing low-cost competition and exhibition opportunities for artists that were not available in the past. Regular art galleries, with their built-in overhead and expenses, just cannot compete with online art galleries when it comes to lower artist entry fees, lower artist exhibition costs and providing more exposure to artists who compete, win and exhibit their artwork.
Artists that regularly compete and exhibit their art should consider the benefits of entering online art competitions. By competing and exhibiting in this manner, artists have a greater opportunity for exposure, particularly during this unprecedented time.
To see the current competitions accepting entries by the Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery, please click HERE. To see the current competitions accepting entries by LST's parent company, Fusion Art, visit the website HERE.
This article was originally posted in 2011 but has been updated as of February 2021.