Competition

Weekend Links-September 20th

Greetings! Its almost autumn and it seems like everything is in full swing around Brooklyn. Here is some light reading for your weekend coffee time and down time.

Are you an artist, designer or architect? How about  work at a cultural organization of some sort? If yes, check out this post we wrote about Why Competitions and Open Calls Matter.

Attending an Open Studios soon or are you an artist that is having one? Check out this handy list to get you ready.

Net neutrality is important. via hyperallergic.

Artists finding each other and curating shows in the Bronx. Inspiring. Via NY Times.

Elizabeth Ferrer. curator of the first Brooklyn Biennial (did you go to the opening last night?) tells emerging artists what they need to do. via Linked In

In DELVE news:

Upcoming DELVE Workshops for Visual and Performing Artists 9/24 and 10/1! Check them out, only $25.

Take yourself back to school! We are having a Sale on our DELVE Toolkit. First time ever- you should really look into it!

We have a kick arse PHOTO Workshop coming up on October 25th at Makeshift Society.

#delvearchitecture round up:

The Bechers' work is timeless. via Aesthetica Magazine

A Boston mural by a fellow SMFA alum, via WBUR The Artery

See NO buildings in Central Park. Via Untapped Cities

Enlivening an alley in Philly, via Next City

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Why Competitions + Open Calls Matter

Having been on both sides of the application process for Open Calls and Competitions for artists, architects and designers, we wanted to share some insight for both parties: the applicants and the organizers. Both sides need each other and wonderful things can come from these opportunities. Read more below.

As artists, designers or architects we've all applied to countless Open Calls and Competitions. There are the ones we win, and the ones we lose. For the ones we win, hurray! Our work was recognized and a new opportunity has been forged. Do it to the best of your ability. You've hopefully researched this opportunity before you applied and are interested in it because the judges are great, the organizer is an inspiring institution and you are happy to be part of it. Great things can happen and new relationships can be formed.

From the applicant's perspective, losing is hard and frustrating, and we don't always receive feedback as to why we weren't chosen. (Tip 1: If you are sent a rejection letter, always reply and thank them for the opportunity and ask why you weren't chosen, unless there are clauses anywhere that say you shouldn't. Tip 2: Always read all of the details when applying and in all communication you receive. The details are there to provide direction for you and eliminate frustration for the organizers and judges.) It's necessary to keep in mind that there are only so many opportunities. (Tip 3: Consider creating your own opportunity. It's a lot of work but could be incredible for you and your peers.)

But there is an upside to applying to opportunities that we don't end up getting (assuring that these opportunities are appropriate for your work and you've followed all the application rules.) There are new eyes on your work and the judges will actually consider your visuals, your writing and your professional career. We've heard countless stories that though an artist didn't win an actual competition, a judge who happened to be a curator took note of the artist's work for a future opportunity. It sound a bit hokey, but sending your wonderful work out into the world for people to see is a positive thing and will generate energy surrounding it. So, keep dedicating time to applying. The organizers and judges definitely want to see your work.

If you're having trouble organizing your work to get ready for the application process, or want direction in creating your own opportunity to show your work, check out the DELVE Toolkit


From the institution's or organizing party's viewpoint, competitions and open calls are strategic ways to introduce your organization to a new audience and source amazing talent for a project. From your perspective there are a lot of pieces to consider, whether you are doing an open call for art work or a competition to hire new architects, including these:

your conceptual goal (why will talent be drawn to your project and how does it serve your overall mission), your audience, telling the story of your organization, budget, space, timeline, partnerships, judges (who will you enlist to draw in the work you want to see), branding, marketing, communication, event planning, and more. 

Organizing an Open Call or a Competition is a tall order and takes foresight and planning, but will ultimately serve you well and introduce you to work from around the globe you may have never come across. This sort of a project is also key in allowing you to interact more with a desired community, whether it be local or global. This is a really great article from GrantCraft, a service of the Foundation Center, that explores why using a Request for Proposals could benefit your organization. A major point they make is: "To be effective, a competition takes careful planning and execution, and it poses a number of out-of-the-ordinary administrative responsibilities. It's sometimes useful to enlist an outside organization to manage part or all of the process." Kind Aesthetic can help you. Check out this case study from a wonderful architectural competition called Ground/Work that we had the pleasure of working on. 


In conclusion, we are big fans of Open Calls and Competitions for both sides of the process. They are a powerful way to share your work, tell your story and create community, which are three of our favorite things to help people with at Kind Aesthetic. 

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.