If you’ve seen the call for our annual winter open show, you probably know the big headline; this year, submissions are absolutely free.
There’s no charge to have your work considered, and if you’re successful you still wont pay anything to have your work displayed. It’s that simple and that’s the point; because with continued uncertainty, and the reality that none of us know what lies around the corner, where we can remove barriers, we feel we should.
And if you’re wondering what’s in it for us, there is some incentive from our perspective too. For one thing, we’re just as in the dark as everyone else at the moment. We don’t want to tempt fate, but for the first time ever the possibility of shows being cancelled is something that features as a headline in every one of our planning sessions, rather than just an outside chance or worst case scenario. Managing the fallout from this is a significantly more challenging task if we’re holding fees from artists; the choice to refund, postpone, reallocate submissions, all come into play, and not everyone will agree with the decision we chose to make, so by taking this out of the equation, hopefully we can ensure that no one is left with a bad taste in their mouth.
On the more positive side of things, we hope no fees means increased accessibility, and in turn might lead to some new faces. We know that some of the biggest barriers to accessing the arts are economic factors, with success in an artistic profession disproportionately linked to higher income backgrounds (https://hyperallergic.com/497270/economic-study-artists/). Now scrapping a few fees we know doesn’t solve these inequalities, but it does mean that we can be certain that the only criteria for this show will be the quality of submissions, which is better news for our audiences too.
And we hope this also makes it an easier opportunity for you to share with your networks who may not already know about us!
So that’s the story behind free submissions, it’s a big step for us to take but it will be more than rewarded if the community of artists we know we can depend on, helps get the word out about what we’re doing so that as many people as possible can be a part of this exhibition.
The English Riviera Winter Open 2020 – A Port in A Storm for Devon’s Visual Arts - https://www.art-hub.co.uk/ex/erwo20
Call Details - http://art-hub.co.uk/calls