7 Common Art Competition Myths Busted!

art competition myths

Last week I sat down and did a Live Q+A on Facebook with our marketing director Elizabeth to answer all your burning questions about Art Comes Alive, our annual, juried fine-art competition. Thank you to all the artists who tuned in! We're glad we were able to talk more in-depth about ACA and answer your questions! Don't worry if you weren't able to join us. You can re-watch the live video here on our Facebook page!

Outside of the commonly asked ACA entry questions, every year I hear wild rumors about art competitions like the awards are fake or only contemporary artists do well. These myths about art competitions are widely held by artists, but couldn't be further from the truth, especially about ACA. So I'm here to set the record straight! Here are the top seven myths about ACA busted wide open!

the best art competition for artists

⁠The deadline for ACA is quickly approaching, but don't worry, there's still time to submit an awesome entry and have a chance to win some pretty amazing awards! 


ACA Myth #1: Only contemporary abstract artists do well


Many artists get the idea that ACA is only for contemporary abstract artists because they only look at the type of artwork ADC is selling to clients. But it’s not just about what ADC is selling or even the type of artwork that ADC carries. We founded ACA to celebrate ALL ARTISTS working in ALL MEDIUMS!

Aside from that, we have jurors, art collectors and awards that all cater to more representational works of art, too! Jeff Hood, the gallery owner of the District Gallery and long-time ACA juror, is always looking for representational artists from figurative to landscape that he can sell in his gallery. We also have category awards such as landscape artist of the year, still life artist of the year, nature artist of the year, and more, along with some purchase award partners who prefer representational works.



ACA Myth #2: It’s not a juried art competition


ACA most certainly is a juried, fine-art competition, and one of the best! We have a diverse panel of jurors with a variety of art industry backgrounds and in different disciplines. We have gallery owners, art publishers, magazine editors, and art consultants. Who guess what? All want to see your artwork in ACA!

Throughout the year gallery owners are approached by hundreds of artists all vying for representation and artwork sales. This exact reason is why our jurors love participating in ACA. They are able to view an array of artwork and select the artists they would like to represent versus being hounded by artists.  

Can you imagine the tables turned? Instead of approaching galleries they are approaching you!

**BONUS** As of this morning, we've added TWO NEW JURORS! Which means TWO NEW GALLERY CONTRACT AWARDS! These wonderful gallery owners caught wind of the art competition and couldn't wait to be part of ACA.  

ACA Myth #3: All art competitions are scams

the best art contest for artists


Many artists think art competitions are a waste of money, whether that’s because they’ve had a bad experience in the past, didn’t get accepted, or are just a little self-conscious about submitting their work.

We’ve never viewed artists as a means of making a quick buck. I always knew that I wanted ACA to be the biggest and best art competition out there for artists and I believe our history and numbers prove that. I'm floored that over the past decade ACA has awarded and advanced the careers of over 1,300 artists with close to 1.5 million dollars in awards! This is a real art competition meant to celebrate real artists, like you!

Aside from the awards, art competitions like ACA are great resume builders. Not only does ACA open you up to more opportunities on a national level, but just by entering you gain valuable experience of the business of art like creating an artist statement and explaining your artwork.


ACA Myth #4: ACA is an online art competition

the best art competition and gallery exhibit for artists


I can see where this idea comes from. Many art competitions nowadays are all online or social media and it can be difficult to gain traction and recognition in the digital realm of art buyers. But ACA is the real deal. ACA is the largest art competition that results in a two-month long brick-and-mortar gallery exhibit. Opening night of the ACA exhibit usually draws a crowd of over 300 art lovers, buyers, and artists! Having an extended exhibition like this helps ensure sales for our ACA artists through our purchase award partners and gallery events. Last year we sold 47 works of art before the doors to the exhibit were even open to the public! Now, what other art competition does that!?

For the artists who are not accepted as finalists for the gallery exhibit, we do offer great consolation prizes like six months on our ACA entrants' gallery and 50% off Secrets of the Art World.


ACA Myth #5: The awards are fake

the best awards competition for artists


We work hard throughout the year to develop strong relationships with the jurors and secure desirable awards that will help establish and boost artists’ careers. Each year the art competition gets bigger and better, and this year over $300,000 in awards will be given to artists through gallery contracts, purchase awards, publishing contracts, and more!


ACA Myth #6: I won’t make it as a finalist if I don’t submit four entries

Busted! (kind of)

While only submitting one image for your entry won’t hurt your chances of acceptance, it won’t help them either. That’s like me submitting a single-image proposal to a big client and hoping I’ll stand out against other art consultants. Not going to happen.

It’s difficult for the jurors to get a sense of how strong you are as an artist if you submit one image. We pulled the numbers from past entries and found that 76% of accepted entries had three or more images. So, while submitting four entries doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be accepted, you’re definitely helping to increase your chances of being a finalist for the gallery exhibit and taking home awards. Also, be sure to read these six tips for a successful entry to ACA!


Myth #7: I must be present at the awards ceremony to win awards.


This is a very common misconception about ACA that I hear from artists all the time. We understand that artists have busy schedules and tight budgets, so they may not be able to attend opening night and awards ceremony. This will not affect your chances of winning an award. I have never known of any program that will take back an award once they learn you will not be in attendance. You’ve already put in the work and dedicated your time to creating beautiful artwork – we would never take that away from you!


The biggest and best art competition in the nation!

Known as the “Academy Awards for Art,” ACA is embarking on its 10th year of helping artists get their work in front of art-industry professionals such as interior designers, art galleries, private art collectors, and corporate collections. Each year the art competition gets bigger and better, and this year over $300,000 in awards will be given to artists through gallery contracts, purchase awards, publishing contracts, and more!



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