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Artists: How to Deal with Rejection

I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few months applying to various grant programs and calls for art. 

And, guess what? 

I’ve been declined every time. 

A photos showing a closed road, a wrong way sign, and a do not enter sign.

While I still feel disappointed every time this happens, this is just a natural part of the process of putting yourself out there as an artist. In order for opportunities to come to you, you need to keep putting yourself out there, again and again. 

And with that comes a lot of rejection. 

So, how do we deal with this so we can keep creating and continue moving forward? 


For me, I have to just feel the disappointment first. It’s okay to be sad over the missed opportunity. But, it’s important not to wallow in that feeling. 


Remember that art is subjective and you are not for everyone. You cannot be for everyone. That’s a good thing, because it means that your art will connect more with your people because it speaks to a specific experience. Remember that rejection doesn’t mean your art is bad, it just means that it wasn’t the right fit for that opportunity? 


Reflect on what you could have done better on that application or proposal? Were you too rushed when you submitted it? Did you know it wasn’t a great fit and pursued it anyway? Was there something else that you missed? Use this reflection as an opportunity for improvement. 


Keep going! Don’t stop just because one thing didn’t work out. There are always more opportunities. Often, I’ve been glad of certain things not working out because it allowed me time for other opportunities that were better for me anyway. 

If you’ve been feeling frustrated by rejection lately, I hope this helps to keep you going. 


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