An email from a New York City art gallery.

Last November, after the successful showing of four of my prints at the New Jersey International Photography Exhibition, I gathered up my courage and attempted another “call for art.” This time, I aimed for the bullseye – the dream of having one of my artworks hang on the walls of a New York City art gallery. So long as it’s within the five boroughs, I’m good. If it’s in Manhattan, I’m better.

After signing up with a new “call for entries” website where I can store images of my artworks for future submissions, I uploaded several artworks to the site. From there, I looked for a New York City art gallery that has an open call.

Found one. Viridian Artists on 28th Street in Chelsea.

With that in mind, I submitted the following four pictures for consideration.

Okay … yeah … you knew Wayward Strangers and Five Tickets were getting some love, and I still think The AGFA Bridge Over Ansco Lake is one of my best early works, but Niagara 1970 1995 2016?

What can I say? I’m into splitfilm dark horse candidates. 😀

I paid the entry fee, submitted my artworks, now I wait.

You know what? After a decade of waiting for postcards o’ doom from the New York State Fair’s Photography Competition, scouring websites looking for “accepted” or “not accepted” notices from the Big E or from the Iowa State Fair, and the necessary schlepping to Altamont or to Durham to find out in person how my artwork did …

I figured it’s time to try the gallery circuit.

Oh, look. Here’s an email from the gallery. Okay. Deep breath. If any of them are accepted, fantastic. If not … I’m only out my entry fee and will just try again in some other event.

Okay. Deep breath.

Open the email, Chuck.

Dear Artist,

Thank you so much for participating in our competition. Our juror … has given much thought and consideration to all the excellent entries we received, but we regret that your work was not selected for this show. Be aware that each curator has a vision and his or her selections reflect but one person’s taste. Another curator would certainly have chosen differently.

With this thought in mind, we hope that you will enter our next competition and perhaps be selected to be a part of our 33rd International Juried Competition.

We thank you for your application to the Viridian Artists’ 32nd International Juried Exhibition and wish you the best of luck with your ongoing creative endeavors. If you are in NYC while the Juried exhibition is on view, January 3–January 28, 2023, please consider coming to see it and saying hello.

Would you give me a moment, please?

Yeah, that kinda sucks. Sucks like Rocky Mountain oysters. Merry fucking Christmas, Chuck.

Okay. Pity party’s over.

And in that moment, I remembered something from my college days.

Back during the spring semesters at Hamilton College, my classmates would send out their resumes to various businesses and organizations. And over time, those classmates would invariably tape the returned rejection letters to their dormroom doors as some sort of gallows humor – “Wait, you got rejected by Bear, Stearns? Dude, I got door-slammed by Dun and Bradstreet!”

So I did what any normal over-achieving artist would do in such a situation. I printed out the rejection email, and taped it to my door. That way, I could see that rejection every time I entered or left. And, if anything … perhaps it would spur me towards trying harder in the future.

Maybe I didn’t get the home run this time …

But maybe there’s another call for art that, as the rejection letter says, “would certainly have chosen differently.”

Maybe. 😦