I often get asked about how I hear about different exhibition and competition open calls, so I thought a list of the websites I regularly check for opportunities may be helpful to new artists looking to get their work out there.
It’s important to always be discerning about applying for new open calls or calls that ask for huge application fees and further fees for space. I spent around £400 from my student loan to rent space for my first exhibition when I was 19. I thought I’d make my money back handily with a decent profit if I sold ALL of my work at the show. I was naive. The gist is to be dubious of these vanity galleries and to do your research if you have doubts but I wholeheartedly trust these website’s resources listed below.
The 5 best websites for artist open calls
1. Art Quest is probably the MVP of artist online resources, they vet their open calls very well so you can rest assured that the opportunities are legit. They usually have an extensive list of (mostly free to enter) art competitions, residencies, commission opportunities and prestigious exhibitions. I usually check all of these websites fortnightly, but if you only look at one of these websites it should be Art Quest.
2. Creative Capital mostly has opportunities for artists based in North America but they almost always have some great residencies eligible to international artists. Every month or two they share a list of open calls, a lot of the opportunities offer stipends, though for many opportunities based in the US there is usually an application fee around $25.
3. Art Rabbit has a broader range of opportunities for not only artists but also for curators and writers. They have “a selection of international open calls and opportunities for contemporary art related competitions, prizes, exhibitions, awards, proposals, and grants”.
4.Curator Space shows listings directly from the organisers, that can be both a positive and a negative as some of the information may be vague in certain listings. Curator space is great because it’s so easy to apply to open calls once you’ve created an artist profile and they always feature an eclectic mix of opportunities, whether you specialise in photorealistic drawing or abstract expressionism, you’ll find an opportunity that may interest you. Most of the listing are specifically for UK based artists, though not all of them are.
5.Arts Jobs, as you may expect specialises in jobs in the arts. However, if you filter your search and specify paid visual art opportunities you’ll find an array of open calls for commissions, exhibitions, publications and some awards. It can take time to look through the many pages but you’ll find some interesting opportunities. Also, they only share calls that don’t require a submission fee.