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Santa Maria Arts Council

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Visual Arts Category

Most work will be displayed on a vertical bulletin board or wall area of 78" x 46". Push pins,
staples, and nails 3/4" or shorter may be used. You may also bring a small table, TV tray, or
stand (no larger than 3 feet on any side) to display portfolios, sketchbooks, and other support
material. Sculpture/ceramics will have equivalent table space. You must remove all hanging
materials when you remove your display.

Selecting your work


You will be allowed a maximum of 12 pieces in your display area. This may include:
• Finished pieces that show your strongest medium or techniques (5-7 works)
• Finished pieces that display breadth in your knowledge of varied techniques, processes and
media (3-4 works)
• Support materials such as sketchbooks, small portfolios of work, and design portfolios each
count as one piece. Up to 6 selected items per book may be flagged for the judges.
• If your work is generally large, such as murals or oversized paintings, you may include a
portfolio with no more than 6 images. Label work with title, medium, size, when created, and
pertinent information regarding the project or assignment.


You will be allowed a total of 12 pieces in your display area. This may include:
• Finished pieces using your strongest medium or techniques
• Finished pieces that display your knowledge of varied techniques and processes and media
• Working photos and/or sketches of design concepts, process and development
• Support materials such as sketchbooks, small portfolios of work, and design portfolios each
count as one piece. Up to 6 selected items per book may be flagged for the judges.


You will need to provide the following:
• One short video or fi lm piece edited to 5 to 5-1/2 minutes, on a laptop, DVD or fl ash drive.
This will be tested at the audition setup. Bring a backup copy in case of media failure.
• Present labeling information on or near your equipment. Include clear operating instructions.
• Include a storyboard and/or working sketches/photos if applicable.

Display Guidelines


• Flat work must be matted or mounted. If mounted, black mattboard or cover stock are
recommended. Frames are discouraged due to size and weight.
• Pastels and delicate pieces should be protected. Clear plastic sleeves or shrinkwrap okay.
• Paintings on canvas must be presented edge-finished (taped or painted) and ready to hang.
• Specific pages in your sketchbook or portfolio should be flagged — maximum of 6 fl ags.

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• Display area is about 4'x6' combined floor and/or table space.
• You may bring your own display cubes, easels, drapes, etc. instead of—or in addition to—
the standard studio tables available in the art room.
• Mat or mount any sketches that will be displayed outside of a portfolio or sketchbook.

• Preferably, bring video file/s on your own laptop, plus a backup in case of media failure.
The setup will be tested to assure media will play for the judges. If you don't have your own
laptop, make arrangements with the SMAC visual arts wrangler ahead of time to access
equipment in the art room.
• Label media clearly. No paper labels on DVDs.
• Storyboards, character sketches, and/or photos that convey processes or production should
be included in your display.

Labels, Credits and Support Material

• Your name must appear on your display. Make it large enough to be seen easily.
• Use typed or printed labels to identify all work, including sketchbooks and portfolios.
• Labels should include your name, the title of the piece or assignment, medium used, and
any credit information. An easy way to set them up is to create a 2-column document, center
all text, and use 12-14 pt. type. Leave 4 returns between labels. Cut to same size.
• List credits if the work of others is somehow involved in your fi nished pieces. Examples
include digital illustrations which utilize images not created or photographed by you; copies
or work based on that of someone else; fi lm or animation group projects where you were
part of the production team, etc.
• If relevant for evaluating your work, consider including working sketches or an explanation
of the processes involved. This applies to all large projects in all media, and can be useful
background material for murals, sculpture, unusual glazes or ceramic techniques, animation,
digital illustration, etc.
• If you have a design portfolio, display it.

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Keep it Simple and Bring Your Own Stuff

Clean presentation makes the best impression on judges. Elaborate displays are discouraged.
You must provide all display materials (paper, fabric, tape, push pins, etc.) for your presentation.
Neither the Arts Council nor Allan Hancock College will provide materials or help for displays.

Displays not completed by the closing time listed in audition letters will be disqualified.

Advice to Arts Council Grant Applicants
by Leslie Parsons
As a career Art Director and longtime judge of artworks, including fine arts, graphics and woodturnings, I have noticed there are common points of presentation that should be taken into account by all artists.

Therefore, as you prepare your application materials, I offer you a simple piece of advice:


What does this mean? Let’s break it down:

‘Showcase’ means to display something to its very best advantage. This includes every element of your entry, every aspect of your presentation, not just the artwork itself. It means mats, frames, the display background, table, pedestal, sketchbooks, etc., as well as any accompanying written material. Even if it’s just a little sign with your name on it, it should be the best possible little sign you can produce. Be mindful of the size, the design, the font choice, the background color, etc. It all counts.

Two artists could present two very similar sketches, with similar techniques and subject matter; the winner will be the one that is professionally showcased. Pay particular attention to Artist Statements and description of work/techniques. If your writing/grammar
skills aren’t up to the challenge, get help. People are often glad to help, if only you ask. Remember, it’s all your work, and if we’re seeing it, we’re judging it!

‘Your’ means work that originates solely with you. Original art, fresh and unique. Nothing copied, nothing “borrowed” (from the Internet or anywhere else) without permission and attribution, nothing plagiarized. No work from photos, unless they are also your original photos. (The judges know the difference.)

‘Best work’ can be tricky. Ideally we all would present the work that’s the strongest, both artistically and technically. Yet we’re almost never good at evaluating our own work, simply because we can’t be objective about it. [This is why best-selling authors have editors, top vocal artists have music producers, and Oscar-winning actors have directors.] Sometimes the pieces we choose as our very ‘best’ are in actuality simply the ones that have personal meaning to us, the ones we’re the most emotionally attached to. It pays to get an outside opinion about your selections, preferably from someone with an art background — a gallery owner, an art teacher, a professional photographer, another artist, etc. If you show your work regularly, pay attention to comments such as, “I wish I’d done that,” and “Are you willing to part with that?” or “Is that for sale?” and, best of all, “Wow!” You may be surprised by which pieces elicit interest, and which are repeatedly passed over.

These are clues that should inform your choices.
Invest some time and effort in your presentation; it will pay off eventually!
  1. General Fund
  2. Showcase Event
  3. Grants Fund
  4. Student Art
  5. L.B. Hayes Fund
The Santa Maria Arts Council is a 501c3 non-profit. Your donations are tax deductible to the extent allowable by law.
Tax ID # 23-7011595

Santa Maria Arts Council
P.O. Box 5
Santa Maria, CA