I'm being swamped with all the details of selling my house, and moving us to a new place, so my plans to blog about my perfect studio which will have to be dismantled are being chopped into smaller bits. Today, I'm going to talk about how I track shows I want to enter and make sure I don't miss the deadlines. My daughter, who has worked as a business manager/accountant for some artists in the Bellingham area, helped me set up the system and I have to say, it is working wonderfully for me. This year, one of my goals is to apply to at least one show a month, and with this system, I am doing well at organizing the show info, the dates and tracking how I'm doing with them.
Here's my little box, next to my computer, surrounded by the clutter on my desk. I have a three bin wall holder that I will put up in the new place, but this works for now. So, what's the magic? I use erasable labels on the file folders, that's the first step. When I hear about a show I'm interested in, I print out the prospectus, write the name of the show and the date I have to do something by on the label. Note: if the deadline is a receive by date, the date I write down is a week earlier so I'm taking action in time for it to get there. Then I put it in the box in chronological order. Usually, I'll write a little note on the first page of the prospectus saying which pieces I'm thinking of submitting. If I'm going to do a piece just for the show, I put a to-do item in my studio grasscatcher notebook (visible in the foreground on the desk). Then, once a week or so, I look at the next couple of weeks to see what deadlines are coming up, and I mentally plan out what I'm submitting. Once I hear back from the show, assuming I've been accepted, I erase the date on the file folder and put the ship date on it, then refile it in the box in the right place for the new date.
I'm not yet entered in so many things that I need a system to track which pieces are going where, but that's the next step. Right now, I use my inventory sheet, the long printed pages sticking up from the file folder box. It's a word document with a table, done as 8.5 x 14 size paper in landscape mode, with columns for Title, Date finished, ID#, Type of work, medium (I'm doing both paper and fabric nowadays), Height, Width, Price, Shows, Date photographed, and date posted to my webpage. For now, scanning down the Shows column is sufficient to make sure I don't double enter something. I pencil in a name on my hard copy when I submit it and do it in ink when a piece is accepted.
This seems so simple now that I'm explaining it, but it's such a delight to feel completely on top of all of this. And it takes only a couple of minutes of my time to add a show to my entry list. I share this because it's made such a difference for me and I hope it can help some others get on top of the whole show submission cycle.