A friend asked me the other day how I’ve managed to get into so many shows lately.

Here’s the quick answer:

I quit facebook.

I apply to a lot of shows.

I’m applying to a wider variety shows — not just shows for fine crafts.

Years ago, felter and author Pat Spark said (in an online forum) that she applied to 24 shows a year to get into the number that was her goal. So I’ve always held that in my mind as a goal number. Anything under 24 meant I wasn’t trying hard enough.

I manage all my applications using the free version of basecamp, as I described in a previous post. Since that post, I’ve added the app Remember the Milk, see this update post, Part II.

Now I’ve tweaked how I use basecamp — I post each call for entry as a message (to myself, I know! but it works) in the category Call for Entries. In the title of the message I put the name of the call, the deadline and either NO FEE or the fee amount.

Then, after I’ve applied, I edit the message and add the word APPLIED to the front of the message.

Simple. But that’s what basecamp is all about — the folks who make it believe in keeping the software as simple as possible.

Basecamp has a feature that allows you to subscribe to your basecamp calendar in your computer based calendar, such as iCal. I do that, so I have all my basecamp milestones entered into iCal, effortlessly. That means I’m reminded constantly of my deadlines and shows I plan to enter — I see them on basecamp, I see them on my calendar, I see them on Remember the Milk, if I’ve manually entered them there. I’m finding that to be very helpful.

I could use a more complicated software, but that might just mean I’d spend more time on the computer, instead of making art.

I’m looking at this software for artists: GYST, Getting Your SH*T Together, but I may stick with basecamp for managing deadlines.

Here’s what the company says about what GYST does:

Written expressly for visual artists, the dynamic GYST software is a highly efficient platform available for both Mac (Intel) and PC (Vista does not work so well) that houses all of the art business related paperwork and educational needs for artists.

The software includes a database type structure where you can keep track of all the artwork you have made, where it is, price, sales, invoices for sales and more. It includes your mailing list, place for your artist statements, resume, labels, and proposal tracking. It also allows you to easily print out an artwork checklist for each exhibition, create budgets, to do lists. It will guide you through writing a grant or proposal with detailed instructions.

In addition, there are over 400 pages of information artists need to know and links and resources to web sites as well as a reading list.

This software was created by artists, for artists, and does much more than your typical office based software.

I like the idea of everything being in one place, and the way the software encourages you to document your artwork, something many artists don’t do well.

How about you? How do you manage your applications? How many shows do you apply for? (either gallery shows or craft shows)

Photo credit: Flickr user Rubyblossom, under a cc license.

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