The word "jury" never has appealed to me as an artist and I have avoided submitting my work to juried shows because, I admit, I do not like the possibility of rejection. I have submitted work to the last two Biennials of The Portland Museum of Art and I am the proud owner of two very nice rejection letters. However, I had a very healthy expectation of being declined from something as big as a city museum. Nevertheless, I still tend to shy away from anything containing the "J" word mostly because I am an outsider artist and feel somewhat diminished in my ability next to many of my art educated colleagues.
It was on a whim that I clicked on the link I received and went through the process of submitting a painting I had just completed that was more experimental and quite different from my usual work. "Why not?", I said to myself. I like the painting and it would be something I, personally, would like to see while flipping to the next month on a calendar. Two months later I received my very first congratulatory acceptance letter! It was a surreal moment where I kept checking to make sure it said what it said and not "Your work sucks". That moment for me was like winning a lottery.
This doesn't mean I am ready to run off and submit to another juried show any time soon but it is nice to know there are other possibilities out there for me as an artist; that, although I am self-taught, my work has validity. And even when my art is rejected, I know that my paintings come from the heart and they make me and others happy...no jury needed there.