Exhibition Guidelines

Exhibition Guidelines for DWS Juried Shows

DWS offers a minimum of three major events each year, including at least one juried show, one member show, and one Artist member show.  At least one workshop is planned every six months.

All exhibition requirements are spelled out in a prospectus requiring a requiring a predetermined entry fee per piece submitted, and compliance with the DWS Exhibition Guidelines.

The following exhibition guidelines are intended to assist and inform all artists who submit their work in Delaware Watercolor Society juried shows.  DWS wants to promote the highest professional standards for showing members artwork.

Juried Shows
These are open to all DWS members who pay the required entry fees. Anyone accepted into the show receives a show catalog and pays a commission for all works sold, a portion of which may be retained by DWS.

Monetary awards and/or ribbons are given as prizes in DWS juried shows. Merit awards have no monetary status. 

In most instances, artists are encouraged to submit work in transparent watercolor, acrylic, gouache, tempera, watercolor ink, or watercolor pencil.  Multi-media works and collage are welcome as well, as long as a majority of the work is in watermedia. Occasionally, a specific juried show may deal only with transparent water and/or works on paper.  Limits on medium, support surface (e.g., paper, yupo, canvas, clayboard), and size are stated in each show prospectus and these guidelines must be adhered to by the artists.

Eligibility and Requirements
DWS fine art exhibitions are open to current members who have paid their annual dues, unless otherwise stated in the show prospectus.  Members who have allowed their membership to lapse through non-payment of dues must pay dues plus entry fees prior to participation into DWS shows.  Non-members may enter DWS juried shows based on individual entry fees specified in each show prospectus.

Paintings selected for a DWS juried show may not be entered into any other DWS juried show.

Artists are invited to submit up to two original works that have been created within the past three years in any water-based media, except for water-based oils. DWS will accept works in transparent acrylic. Multi-media works and collage are welcome as well, as long as a majority of the work is in water media. Works may be executed on paper, yupo, canvas, clayboard or other similar material. No digital art, digitally enhanced art, or works developed during workshops will be accepted.

All works must be for sale and not previously exhibited in DWS juried shows. No giclées or prints are permitted. Anyone entering must be 18 years or older and reside in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, or New Jersey.

The use of white or off-white matboard is considered standard for watercolor exhibitions.  This helps give a show coherent look and presentation.  Similarly, artists are encouraged to use relatively simple frames.  Paintings framed using dark-colored matboard and/or dark or heavily ornate frames often are difficult to incorporate into an exhibition and risk rejection.   Use of thin, colored liners or inner mats with white or off-white matboard is acceptable and up to the discretion of the artist.  

Before submitting a piece for a juried show, please check the condition of the frame, mat, and hanging equipment, and dust the top of the frame.  If the matting is soiled or the inner framed area contains any debris under the glazing, the work will be considered unprofessional and automatically rejected from selection   Please verify that any glass is fully intact, that plexiglass is not scratched, and that the frame is in good condition with fixed screw eyes and wired for hanging.

Please make sure that the glazing fits appropriately within the frame to avoid potential injury.  The artist is responsible for adhering to the standards and specifications stated in each show prospectus.

Framing Information and Instructions
Submitted works must be framed according to professional standards and covered with glass or Plexiglas. Poorly matted or framed paintings are subject to disqualification.

  • All entries must be framed and wired on back to accommodate installation. Appropriate hooks, eyes, and wires only, no clip frames or cardboard backing permitted. Wood framed art must have a standard dust cover backing which is supported underneath by formcore within the frame.
  • Mat colors are limited to white, cream or light gray mat; double matting is permitted.
  • Works larger than 30 inches in either direction should be covered with Plexiglas rather than glass.

Please note:  

  • Maximum framed size: no larger than 40” in either direction, depending on exhibition space limitations.
  • Minimum image size allowed: 10” in either direction.
  • Maximum weight: 30 lbs.

Rights, Responsibilities, and Liability
Entries not meeting any of the above conditions will be rejected. DWS reserves the right to determine the suitability of artwork for this exhibit. Submitting an entry for this exhibit means that:

  • The work is original and does not infringe on any copyright;
  • DWS has permission to reproduce accepted works in the exhibition catalogue, on its website and in media promotions; and the
  • Artwork is for sale.

Entry Fees and Forms
Members: $30 for up to two entries. Non-members: $35 for two entries.
Make checks payable to the Delaware Watercolor Society and present payment during drop off of artwork along with your completed entry forms.  Entry labels should be attached to the back of the paintings or on the picture wire. CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORMS AND LABELS.

Sale of Work
Prices for all works sold to the public are determined by the artist. Commissions from the sale of exhibited works may vary from 20 to 40 percent depending on the venue.

DWS volunteers attempt to take every possible care in handling the artwork during hanging and takedown. DWS also considers security issues in choosing venues for shows. Artists should be aware, however, that many places do not carry insurance for artworks and specify in their contracts that they are not responsible for loss or damage from any cause. For this reason, artists may wish to consider their own insurance, as DWS cannot assume responsibility for any damage or loss.  The DWS show prospectus will include a statement about insurance when the exhibiting organization offers it; otherwise artists bear the usual responsibility for their work

Registration Deadline
The registration deadline is set in advance of the hanging of the show to allow for proper preparation of invitations and publicity materials.  Please make sure to bring artwork for exhibition on the appointed day at the appointed hour, or arrange for someone else to do so.  In addition, please ensure that your painting is picked up on time at the end of the show.  DWS cannot be responsible for work left after the closing of a show, and in many cases, the gallery in which the show has taken place imposes a fine on artists who do not pick up their work promptly.  Please adhere to all delivery and pickup deadlines.