What to Look for When Applying to Calls: 5 CaFÉ Tips for Artists

By April 27, 2020Artist Help, Blog

CaFÉ is the trusted source for artists looking for professional art opportunities. With hundreds of calls listed every year, it’s important to know which ones are right for you. Here we have a few tips about what to look for when applying to calls.

We’ve also included information specific to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Check out these tips so you can be prepared to apply to calls.

1. Check the entry fees.

Entry fees cover costs associated with hosting an exhibition for arts organizations, but there are many calls that do not charge entry fees in order to apply. To look for calls with no entry fees, use the search filter on the Call Listings page. Under Entry Fees, click No Fees and you’ll be shown a list of calls with no entry fees.

Screenshot of the call listings filters with a circle around the no fees highlighting noting you can filter by no fees

COVID-19: During this time, many organizations have decided to waive their entry fees to help ease the financial burden on artists. The entry fee search filter is helpful if you want to find these opportunities.

Related blog post: Seven Easy Ways to Get Organized on CaFÉ

GIF showing how to click the More Info button to see the full call details

2. Read before you apply.

Before you apply to a call, be sure to click on the More Info button and read the Call Details page in its entirety. You’ll want to make sure you are eligible to apply based on the call’s required locality, artistic medium, artwork size, and other requirements decided by the sponsoring organization. Also look for information about how the organization expects you to deliver your artwork if selected, or if they require selected artists to attend any events. Depending on the location of the exhibition or event, you will want to consider shipping costs and time constraints associated with these expectations.

COVID-19: Many organizations are responding differently to the pandemic. Some are postponing events, while others are replacing a physical exhibit with an online one. Check to make sure the organization doesn’t have event dates that conflict with your ability to participate or if they have a backup plan if the event is cancelled (such as an online exhibition).

3. Know how to contact the organization sponsoring the call.

If you have questions about the call after reading all of the information, reach out to the sponsoring organization. The contact email for the organization can be found at the top of the call’s detail page or at the top of your application page. Some organizations also list a phone number where they can be reached with general questions.

COVID-19: Organizations using CaFÉ are encouraged to post updates to their Call Details page and notify applicants if any of their plans have changed due to the pandemic. Be sure to check back to the Call Details page for updates, and contact the organization if you have any questions about their plans.

4. Ensure your images are web-ready.

When you’re ready to apply to calls, you’ll want to make sure your artwork images are ready to be viewed online. Not only will the jurors use these images to determine if your work is selected, the images themselves might be used for an online exhibition or catalog of the selected pieces. Have professional images that are web-ready, and don’t forget to remove any unwanted backgrounds.

Related blog post: How to Photograph Your Artwork: Professional Photos Without the Cost

A concrete cluster of obelisks extend towards a bright blue sky.
Screenshot of the call listings with a circle around the state filter

5. Want to stay local? Search for calls in your area.

Finding opportunities in your local area can help reduce costs for shipping artwork, make it easier for you to attend the event, and provide support to your local arts community. To find calls near you, you can use the search filter to sort by state. You can also type a city name in the search bar to see if there are any calls being hosted in a specific city. Don’t forget to read the call description to confirm where the events may be held and to see if the exhibition will be hosted online!

Bonus Tip: Search for Funding Opportunities
The COVID-19 pandemic has posed many financial challenges for artists all over the country. If you are an artist looking to apply for financial relief, you can use CaFÉ to search for relief funding opportunities. On the Call Listings page, filter by Grants under Call Type, or use the search bar to look for relief or funding opportunities. For a growing list of resources and artist relief funds, you can view WESTAF’s COVID-19 Resources & Information.

Keep Art Alive
Although the arts industry has been greatly impacted by COVID-19, there are still many opportunities for artists to share their artwork with the world. The arts community does not exist without artists, so we encourage you to keep applying to calls! If you find a call listing you like, why not share it with your fellow artists? We make this easy—just click any of the share buttons on the toolbar of the call details page. Together we can keep art alive.

Written by Communications Coordinator Justine Chapel