4 Elements of an Ethical Art Competition


Art Competitions can be a great way to challenge yourself and show your work to a wider, more relevant audience.

However, there is a difference between fair and unfair competitions, and sometimes even reputable organizations can miss the mark.  That’s why it’s important to evaluate each one on its own terms to ensure that your rights are protected and that you understand what is expected of both you and the contest holder.  Be sure to examine the terms of the competition closely and avoid any contests that potentially compromise your rights as an artist.

To help you determine whether a particular contest is worth your time and money, here are 4 elements to look for in an ethical art competition:

1.  Clearly Defined Terms

All contest holders should define all details of the competition in the call for entries, such as the rules, entry fees, list of judges, judging criteria, and intended usage of the artwork.

2.  Statement of Artist’s Rights

In a fair competition, the artist should retain all ownership and rights to the art, and the contest holder may only use or publish the image as defined in the call for entries.

3.  Fair Award Value

All winners should receive an award that is compatible with fair market conditions in exchange for any rights that are transferred to the contest holder.

4.  Insured Artwork

The condition of original artwork should be protected and insured by the contest holder against until it is returned to the artist.

Because every competition is different, you’ll need to decide for yourself which ones are right for you.  Hopefully, these 4 key factors will help you to separate the fair from the unfair and protect yourself from unethical practices.

How do you choose which contests to enter?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

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Thomas James

Thomas James

Thomas James is an Illustrator who has worked with The New York Times, WIRED, Pentagram, Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and many others. You can see his portfolio at thomasjamesillustration.com.
Thomas James

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Posted by Thomas James on 02/26/14 under artists
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