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Get Rejected From MOCA, You’ll Be Better For It

New Waves 2019 Installation view. Photo by Echard Wheeler

Submissions are due January 13th for the 25th juried exhibition of New Waves, an annual exhibition featuring Virginia artists. If you’re looking to grow as an artist you should apply, because there’s a good chance you won’t get in.

You read that last line correctly. Not getting into a show like New Waves is a great opportunity for you to evolve as an artist. It would be great to get in. I was lucky to have a piece selected in 2018 and was even given an Honorable Mention award. However, before that, I had been rejected at least five times. Getting rejected from shows, fellowships, grants, proposals, exhibitions, etc. is a part of being an artist. Rejection is a part of being any kind of creative. Putting yourself out there and then learning that there is someone out there that doesn’t like what you’re doing or doesn’t like you as much as someone else helps you realize that you are not going to please everyone. If you’re making your work because you’re focused on your narrative, voice, vision, etc., you can better emotionally separate yourself from the idea of someone not liking your work. 

This year’s juror is Susan Thompson, an Associate Curator at the Guggenheim Museum. Someone from the Guggenheim will be looking at your work. Whether she selects your work for the show or not, you have an opportunity to have someone’s undivided attention on your creation for a few seconds who sees some of the most well-known artists in the world. Take that opportunity and appreciate what’s happening there. Celebrate your vulnerability. 

Who knows, maybe someone will like what you’re making. Maybe even someone who works at the Guggenheim. Apply here by midnight, January 13, 2020


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