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Weighing in On Online Art Challenges

A quick glance through social media will reveal that several thousand so-called art challenges are going on at any given moment. These challenges range from personal challenges that are 100% self-driven and are meant to offer only inspiration to organized competitions with strict rules and prizes for pieces which achieve certain milestones. Have you considered participating in one of these but weren’t sure if you wanted to invest the time? Here is an overview of the online art challenge world to give you an idea if you are ready to sign-up and take on the challenge.

As mentioned above, art challenges take on many different forms. Before you decide to invest an entry fee into a more organized challenge, you should probably attempt a free challenge to make sure you enjoy the experience and have the time to commit to creating pieces that must be constructed around a given topic within a specific time frame. There are countless free challenges with a variety of different parameters for participants. Many of these challenges last for a month with a different challenge topic provided every day. Participants are given the challenge topics up front and all they have to do to submit an entry is to post the piece on social media with a specific hashtag. No prizes are involved, and the informal nature of the event is designed to inspire the artist and encourage the artist to view the pieces created by others.

More formal free challenges provide a new topic at the beginning of each week, give artists a week to upload their finished piece, and then the challenge hosts choose select pieces to post on a blog at the end of the challenge. Participants are encouraged to share their photos with other participants on social media, but the hosts curate the most outstanding pieces to feature on the blog, which saves the artists time when they want to quickly view other quality pieces created on the given topic.

As you choose to participate in a challenge, you need to determine the degree to which your participation affects your copyright to the pieces you submit. Most extremely informal challenges will have no affect greater than any work you may share on social media, and a simple watermark will likely protect you and help others find you if they desire to use or publish your piece. With more formal challenges, you need to read carefully through each page posted on blogs or social media accounts associated with the challenge to ensure that you are not waiving any copyrights that you are not willing to waive. Sometimes, having your piece republished is positive, but if the copyright waiver doesn’t require the publisher to include artist information, you may never receive credit for your work.

Finally, these challenges are meant to be enjoyable. Participating should not feel like a chore. If you are not enjoying the challenge, you may decide that quitting is the right move. However, if you began the challenge to take yourself outside of your comfort zone, seeing it through to the end might be the right move.