Submission Fees

More and more you see calls to artists where there is a $25 to $35 submission fee. I have also seen some that are asking for $10 per image submitted. This fee doesn’t guarantee that you are in the show only that you can submit.

I have also noticed that alot of calls state that you the artist, have to incur the cost of shipping the work to and from the gallery. I found this from a website call:

“Shipped works must be sent in an easily reusable container/packaging with return shipping prepaid, and include the return shipping label with the work.”

I get it that in order to survive that some galleries need to levee these charges especially artists run centers.

I was juried into a The Sculptors Society of Canadian a few years ago. They are based in Toronto and I live in Alberta. In order to show in the gallery I have to pay a $50 submission fee as well as pay for the transport of my work there and back. This is a great group and a lovely gallery and I get it that they don’t have a lot of funding. For a venue like this perhaps it would be alright to participate and pay the submission fees maybe once a year???

I still don’t think artists should have to pay submission fees to show their work! I have always had a policy never to pay submission fees to exhibit my work especially not to a vanity gallery.

Do you pay submission fees to galleries to show your work?





  1. “Kim, by far the majority of juried shows have entry fees to be paid, and the shipping expenses are always for the artist to pay. That seems to be the way it is. In fact some of these organizations probably use juried shows as a fundraiser. I agree with you, it would be a lot fairer if you only had to pay the fee once you were accepted into the show. Paying a fee seems reasonable when you think of the expenses involved in putting on the show.

    CARFAC, however, looks at it the other way around and lobbies for the galleries to PAY THE ARTISTS for exhibiting their work. That makes sense too. Without a product to show, they would be out of business, so it makes sense that they should pay to show it.

    I think it makes sense to enter a few juried shows each year. But given the cost, one must carefully chose which ones to enter.”

    • RE the shipping: It use to be industry standard that the gallery pays the costs of shipping the work back.

      I can see why that has shifted for public and artist run galleries but now even my commercial galleries are putting return shipping costs as part of the artist responsibilty in to their contracts (which could be negotiated out).

  2. When a facility asks me for money, to submit or whatever, it indicates to me that they are not earning much themselves…Which means that there is less likelihood for me to turn a profit by participating…Galleries that don’t ask for a fee are making money by selling art…Thus I look at submission fee events with a dubious eye…If it is a non-profit, I consider fees as a charitable act on my part, as well as my participation…One should be aware that when one submits to anything, that your work is now going to be assimilated by the lookers, who are often artists themselves…Or also, it is a free gift to those who collect…My digital files get stored in all sorts of places- every time I choose to print a work using an outside service, they keep my files…The rules of supply & demand mean that the more of your work that is out there & is freely available, the less you will be able to control supply…Possibly lessening demand…So even the mere effect of submitting to a myriad of events causes a tiny flood of supply…It is a hard thing to control the artist’s impulse to share for free…Though if your goal is to increase the world with your thoughts, rather than take a monetary piece from it, then sharing is good…A dilemma of sorts which we face today with internet security & piracy questions…Of course, some will argue that the more your work is out there, the more people become aware of it, which increases demand sufficiently to deal with the increased flood of supply…

    • I agree with you Sari. The non profit galleries like artist run centers I don’t mind as much. It’s the commercial galleries submission fees that I have hard time with.

  3. The problem is, is that when the non-profits or charities do it, it provides legitimacy for the others…Artists get used to common practices, & then think that it is normal or ok to pay to show work…Which is how I see submission fees…Paying to show your work…Same as paying to have a show, but a smaller more insidious charge…I really don’t think that anyone should be paying to submit to anything- it is akin to paying a company to show them your resume when applying for a job…The times I have done it have been to experience the experience, so I know what I am talking about when I tell people not to do something…Just to emphasize, I am totally not ok with submission fees- & possibly the “feel good” venues are the ones souring the milk…But I am guilty of being an idiot…Just in so many ways…

    • You are right Sari and as a rule I do not submit to galleries that have a fee to do so. I have only once paid a fee to show but that was 12 years ago when I was starting out and an artist friend wanted me to show with her and it was an artist run center. Lately I have been debating my policy because I came across a couple of calls that would have been perfect for my work only to get to the webiste and be disappointed when I see the submission fee. And hense the above article.

      I appreciate your stand on this topic, it serves to reinforce my own beliefs and hopefully those of any artist that reads this post.

  4. The fees, the shipping costs, sometimes the commissions that shows then charge–all this has made me rethink submitting my work to shows I can’t drive to in a couple of hours. (Then of course you have to balance your time against the cost of shipping.) Unless you can command a good price for the work, or the venue will promote your own art marketing, you have to think hard about whether it’s worth it to submit to the show at all.

    • I agree that it can all get to be too much at times when it feels like you are shelling out money for absolutely everything. Art supplies, framing, shipping, and promotion but we’re artists, we make art, it is who we are.

      I had a quick look at your site and your work definitely deserves to be seen.

  5. This is all very interesting. I am an art-jewelry artist and have been submitting to galleries on a site called ‘’ (CAFE) for about a year now. I have been accepted into many and the galleries represented have solid reputations, but many are small ‘in the middle of nowhere’ places. I have always thought that submission fees made no sense, but as I’ve found, the galleries that don’t charge fees usually say that they are not accepting new artists. The creative industry as a whole is the most difficult to develop a paying career, but it is possible. You MUST research the galleries that you plan to submit and check out their past exhibitions. Be sure that the artwork shown is on par with what you do. Check the surrounding area for estimated income and research the town. It’s up to the artist to do their due diligence, as there are so many scams out there. I have found that the galleries represented on CAFE are well known and reputable, yet ALL ask for a submission fee, take commissions on sold work and ask for a mailing label to ship work back. We must band together and refuse to submit fees for exhibition, which could result in the galleries having nothing to exhibit. If we all decide not to pay fees, then things could change in favor of the artist. Change only happens when you do things differently.

    • All good points, Jill, thanks for reminding us.

      I have added another rule to my submissions. I will no longer show in a public gallery unless they pay Carfac fees. Sometimes the fee is sufficient to cover expenses (shipping, travel, etc).